Beatification Nears for Charles I and Anna Emmerick

Oct. 3 Event Scheduled

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 20, 2004 ( John Paul II will soon beatify five people, including Emperor Charles I of Austria and German mystic Anna Katharina Emmerick, whose writings influenced Mel Gibson in the production of “The Passion of the Christ.”

The Holy See today published the list of the Servants of God to be beatified Oct. 3, when it announced the Pope’s upcoming key liturgical celebrations.

Charles I of Habsburg (1887-1922) was proclaimed emperor of Austria in 1916. In March 1919 he was exiled from that country and formally stripped of his office by the Austrian Parliament that April. Charles died at age 34 in exile on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Charles married Princess Zita of the Bourbons of Parma. On their wedding day, he told her: “Now we must take one another to heaven,” recalled Cardinal José Saraiva Martins last April, during the ceremony to promulgate the decree recognizing a miracle through the Austrian monarch’s intercession. The couple had eight children.

Also among the new blessed will be Anna Emmerick (1774-1824), a professed nun of the Order of Canonesses Regular of St. Augustine.

“She bore the stigmata of the Lord’s passion and received extraordinary charisms that she used to console numerous visitors. From her bed, she carried out a great and fruitful apostolate,” said Cardinal Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Sainthood Causes, last July, when reading the decree recognizing a miracle.

Ex-cloistered by the Napoleonic invasion, a stigmatized invalid, the Augustinian religious tried to write down the daily visions of the supernatural which she herself considered ineffable. German writer Clemens Brentano met her, was converted, and stayed at the foot of her bed copying the visionary’s accounts from 1818 to 1824.

The result was the book “The Bitter Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” In addition to the Gospels, Mel Gibson was inspired by the German mystic’s writings in the production of his film “The Passion of the Christ.”

The others to be beatified are:

— Pierre Vigne (1670-1740), French priest, founder of the Congregation of the Religious of the Most Holy Sacrament.

— Joseph Marie Cassant (1878-1903), French priest and Trappist monk. He patiently suffered tuberculosis, which caused his death at age 25.

— Maria Ludovica (Antonina) de Angelis (1880-1962), religious of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy, born in Italy. As part of her apostolate, she moved to La Plata, Argentina, to work in a pediatric hospital. She spent the rest of her life in that city.

To date, John Paul II has proclaimed 1,333 blessed and 482 saints.

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