Sunday, October 4, 2015

Was Blessed Anna Katarina Emmerich Jewish?

One of the greatest of the Catholic mystics was Blessed Anna Katarina Emmerich. She was born in Westphalia in Germany in 1774 and was baptised in St.Jakobi Church. Her parents were Bernard Emmerich b.1730 and his wife Anne Hiller. Her paternal grandparents were Bernard Emmerich and Margreta Rabers (married 1727). Anna Emmerich's grandfather Bernard was the grandson of Nathan Emmerich of Westphalia of a Jewish family. Nathan became a Catholic and took the name Bernardus and his wife Chana Korff (an aunt of Rabbi Isaac of Drohobich)became Anna Korff. They married in Gescher Westphalia in 1697. Rabbi Isaac became a follower of the Baal Shem Tov and his Korff descendants among others became Chasidic Rebbes. 

The women in these families were very spiritually gifted and Anna Emmerich though of the Catholic branch of the family shared in this spiritual heritage. Anna Emmerich's mother was also from the Jewish Hiller family descended from David Hildesheim of Frankfurt (b.1620). Her paternal grandmother also came from a Jewish family called Rabers (a variant of Rabi). We see that Anna Emmerich's family were Catholics of Jewish ancestry. One branch of the Jewish Emmerich family took the name Gompertz and they went to Amsterdam and then to London. They intermarried with the Montefiore family.

It would seem that Anna Katarina Emmerich's ancestors were part of that movement of Jews who converted quietly with Nathan of Gaza to Catholicism after their disappointment with Shabbatai Tzvi (Shabtai Zvi). They assimilated into the general Catholic population of Europe.