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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 October, 2004, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Profiles: Emmerich and Karl I
BBC News Online profiles German mystic nun Anne Catherine Emmerich and Emperor Karl I, beatified by Pope John Paul II on Sunday.

Anne Catherine Emmerich

Born in 1774 into a poor farming community in Germany, sickly mystic nun Anne Catherine Emmerich had pilgrims flocking to her bedside by the time she died in 1824, aged 50.

A tapestry depicting Anne Catherine Emmerich
Emmerich inspired a Hollywood film
Her fame derives from the visions she said she had of Jesus before his crucifixion, including his alleged beating by Jews.

Her apparitions were recorded in the book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by German Romantic poet Clemens Brentano, who regularly visited her sickbed.

It is unclear, however, whether or not Brentano embellished the nun's accounts.

This book was little known until it was cited as film director Mel Gibson's inspiration in the recent blockbuster The Passion of the Christ.

Jewish groups have condemned the film, which portrayed the Jews' role in Jesus's death, saying it would spur new a new wave of anti-Semitism.

Some fear that making Emmerich a saint will only make matters worse, and may even harm Roman Catholic - Jewish relations.

She was always willing to take on hard work and loathsome tasks
Pope John Paul II
However, the Pope on beatifying her, praised her pious character and concern for the poor.

He said she had seen "the bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ and experienced it on her body", referring to her alleged bearing of the stigmata - wounds to hands and feet similar to those suffered by Christ during crucifixion.

The Vatican says "she was always willing to take on hard work and loathsome tasks".

She was also known to exist for long periods off water and communion wafers.

According to the Vatican, a nun in Germany who prayed to Emmerich was cured of tuberculosis.


Emperor Karl I

Born in 1887, Karl I was the last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who ruled during the final years of World War I.

A fan of Emperor Charles I holds a picture of him at his beatification on 3 October 2004
Charles I's use of gas has been condemned
After taking the throne in 1916, he unsuccessfully tried to broker peace with France.

He had a reputation for being a devout Catholic and according to the Vatican, he performed the miracle of curing a Brazilian nun of varicose veins.

However, under his command, the army used poison gas, which has led critics to say his beatification is wrong.

The Pope nonetheless praised Karl I as a man who sought peace and was guided by his religious faith in political decisions.

I hope Emperor Karl will serve as an example, especially for those with political responsibilities in Europe today
Pope John Paul II
"In his eyes, war was something horrible," the Pope said.

He also said he hoped Karl I would "serve as an example, especially for those with political responsibilities in Europe today".

The emperor attempted unsuccessfully to save the Austro-Hungarian monarchy by proclaiming an Austrian federative state.

Instead, Hungary and Czechoslovakia declared their independence.

The Pope has made 21 October, the date of Karl's marriage in 1911 to Princess Zita, a feast day.

The emperor abdicated after the war, and died in exile on the island of Madeira in 1922.

About 1,000 descendants of the Hapsburg dynasty attended his beatification ceremony.




SEE ALSO:
Profile: Pope John Paul II
02 Oct 03 |  Europe
Country profile: Vatican
08 Oct 03 |  Country profiles


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