We advance as a proof of the respect and affection in which the venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich is held by the faithful, the fact that, a short time after the appearance of the first volume of the present biography, it was translated into French and Italian with episcopal approbation.
This circumstance, most gratifying to the author, has encouraged him in his efforts to present to the public a faithful history of the servant of God, although he believes himself authorized in saying that few books would be issued, were their publication attended by as numerous and grave difficulties as was that of the present work.
Clement Brentano himself, whose journal offers the richest materials for it, shrank from the task of arranging them ;the attempts of others came to naught, and the author was often tempted to drawback in discouragement from their labyrinthine maze.
The firm conviction that he was rendering testimony to God's wonderful ways in souls, the advice and encouragement of his friend, Rev. Father Capistran, of Kaltern, and the continued prayers of Maria von Moerl, from 1858 until her blessed death, alone sustained him in his undertaking and enabled him to bring it to a happy conclusion.
Sister Emmerich had herself denominated the Pilgrim's notes, "A pathless, overgrown garden." In March, 1820, she related the following vision, remarkable on account of its fulfilment:
"I was in a garden which the Pilgrim cultivated.
A mass of vegetation was springing up thick and green; but the Pilgrim had planted it so close that there was no room for a path.
He took me into a little summerhouse around which he had raised bitter-cress."
Later on she several times repeated :
"I saw the Pilgrim's garden. It is very luxuriant, but it is pathless, it is all overgrown.
Still he must go on with his work."
Again : "I saw the Pilgrim's gardenso overgrown that only he could pick his way through it; others complained ofnot being able to enter it.再次：「我看到朝圣者的花园杂草丛生，只有他能择路而过；其他人都抱怨进不去。
It lay blooming and flourishing near a wilderness and at the entrance stood a rose-bush covered with thorns.
The Pilgrim and others would have wished to pluck the roses, but they pricked themselves with the thorns.
I saw one trying to get them; but they scratched him till he cried out."
These pictures could not be more striking.
The path which only the Pilgrim could find through his thickly overgrown garden, is symbolical of the seven days of the week during which he wrote down indiscriminately what he saw of Catherine Emmerich, what she related to him of her visions, together with his own impressions, his sympathy with or aversion for those who surrounded her or the visitors who flocked to her sick-bed, and in fine, his own private affairs and those of his intimate friends.
These miscellaneous materials formed the contents of his manuscripts, from which the author has selected what he deemed necessary for the present biography.
The Pilgrim had no other idea at the time, than that of relating as faithfully and circumstantially as possible whatever he observed.
Sister Emmerich's interior life was to him a mystery of which she alone could furnish the key, with permission from her spiritual directors, Dean Overberg and Father Limberg; yet he took note of all, as circumstances permitted, reserving what was obscure and unintelligible for a closer investigation at some future time.
These the author has reproduced as faithfully as possible in their original form.
Sister Emmerich was able to relate and the Pilgrim to write but few visions at one time; consequently, notes, additions, corrections succeeded one another in rapid succession regardless of order or time.
The key to some vision was frequently found only after long and wearisome research, and then, perhaps, in some little word of the invalid preserved as if by chance, or in a careful comparison with preceding or following ones.
This was particularly the case with thegrand vision which she termed the "Nuptial House" and which seems tobe the centre to which all her labors tended.
The Pilgrim appears never to have clearly comprehended this vision ; but, fortunately, he preserved so many of the Sister's communications on the subject as to enable the author to penetrate more deeply into its signification.
Then only did he seize the order and import of this privileged soul's immense task of prayer for the Church as a body, as well as for her individual members; then only did he feel that he might attempt the history of her life.
The first volume has been drawn mostly from Dr. Wesener's notes, as also the Pilgrim's, of whatever they could glean from the invalid herself, from her confessor, her companions, her relatives, respecting her past life.
The Pilgrim during his five years' sojourn in Dulmen kept up a large correspondence with his dearest and most confidential friends.
These unpublished letters were placed at the author's service, and he has made use of them with the greatest discretion.
He looks upon them as one of the greatest proofs of the blessed influence exercised by Sister Emmerich over her amanuensis.
Only two of those that were honored by Sister Emmerich's special affection and confidence are yet living (1870) :
Misses Apollonia Diepenbrock and Louise Hensel, both of whom kindly aided the author with their communications.
In 1831, the Pilgrim had revised the record of only the first months of his stay at Dulmen ; of this, however, the author has not availed himself, as it does not faithfully accord with the original notes.
To avoid copying, the Pilgrim corrected his journal after having recorded some visions; but he seems to have grown discontented with the task, and abandoned any further attempts of the kind.
His interspersing the above with all sorts of notes and remarks, many of them quite irrelevant, contributed to the greater confusion of the whole.
If, for instance, Sister Emmerich were prevented from communicating her visions, complaints filled his journal against her confessor or anyone else who had been, according to him, the cause of these intolerable interruptions.
These complaints he repeated in his private letters and, as they were published after his death, the author feels that a word of explanation on the subject is necessary.
They to whom his letters were addressed were fully aware of his irritable temperament and also of the circumstance’s attendant on his penning them; consequently, they bore not for them that tone of asperity with which they could not fail to impress the general reader.
The author, therefore, feels it a duty to expose clearly, justly, and conscientiously, the true state of affairs, that a correct and unbiased opinion may be formed of Sister Emmerich's position and her surroundings so frequently subjected to the Pilgrim's harsh criticism.
The author himself was tempted, at first, to sympathize with the Pilgrim, and it was only after a long and close examination that he was able to discover the truth.
In this he feels convinced that he conforms to the Pilgrim's own intentions, since ten years before his death he had nourished the thought of intrusting the arrangement of his notes to someone in whose discretion he might perfectly confide; he thought of handing over to such a person his manuscripts just as they were, without retrenching a single line, and of allowing him to estimate their contents conscientiously and impartially.
As time glided on and the Pilgrim himself began to cast a cooler, more impartial glance upon the years spent in Dulmen, the more averse did he become to encountering anew the “thorns" that human frailty had led him to plant around "the roses in his garden.”
He would then have erased from his journal his captious remarks, had he not feared that by so doing he might suppress what was both important and necessary to the clear understanding of Sister Emmerich's position.
With rare uprightness and moral courage, he preserved what he had written that even the dispraise thereby accruing to himself might render its own peculiar testimony to the chosen of God.
In conclusion, the author submits unreservedly to the decrees of Urban VIII., and declares that he attributes only purely human belief to the extraordinary facts and incidents recorded in the present volume.
P. SCHMOGER, C.SS.R.
Convent of Gars, Bavaria,
Feast of St. John Baptist, 1870.