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Mary and Joseph's Wedding Ring: Santo Anello and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's Visions

The Venerable Fulton Sheen said there were three "rings" in marriage: 

1. The Engagement Ring,
2. The Wedding Ring,
and ...
3. Suffering

Mary and Joseph certainly knew suffering, as did their son, Jesus. In their poverty and persecution, they certainly knew the immense pain of suffering. 

But did you know ... ?

Mary and Joseph also had a wedding ring? 

And!

It still exists! 


I first learned about Mary and Joseph's wedding ring - it is called "Santo Anello" - from Father Calloway's Consecration to St. Joseph. I highly recommend the consecration, by the way!

I was so inspired by Father Calloway's Consecration to St. Joseph that I was inspired to write a Consecration to St. Joseph for Children and Families, as well! 

I'm excited to announce that Father Calloway and I will be publishing together the Consecration to St. Joseph for Children and Families. It will hopefully be released sometime during this year of St. Joseph. 



The Wedding of St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary - Santo Annelo 

"Saint Anello? Who's that?" 

Saint (or Santo) Anello is not a person. It's a thing. Santo Anello is the wedding ring St. Joseph gave to Mary on their wedding day. 

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich saw the holy ring in her visions, but had no idea it had survived to the present day. 

And neither did the rest of the world ...




Here's the incredible story:

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's Visions of Mary and Joseph's Wedding Ring, Santo Anello

Over the course of a few days, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich experienced several visions of Mary and Joseph's wedding and wedding ring. She also witnessed "a double vision" - a contemporary scene overlaid on the scene of Mary and Joseph's wedding.  

Here's what's amazing ...

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich never saw the wedding ring, Santo Anello, in person during her life. Though Emmerich saw the ring in her visions, as described below, she never knew where it was located. 

The location of the ring, Santo Anello, was only revealed after Emmerich's death, when her journals were made available to the public. 

This is how it happened:  

Anne Catherine Emmerich's Visions of July 29th, 1821 - The Details of the Ring

On July 29th, 1821, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich had a series of visions regarding Jesus' burial clothes and the miraculous images of Jesus imprinted on the cloths. Emmerich's visions took her to places where Jesus' relics were greatly venerated. Her visions took her also to places where the relics were all but forgotten, except by the angels. 

Emmerich's visions came at the cost of great suffering: 



In the midst of these visions, Emmerich thought she saw the location of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s wedding ring. She wrote the following about what she saw:[1]

I saw the Blessed Virgin’s wedding ring; it is neither of silver nor of gold, nor of any other metal; it is dark in color and iridescent; it is not a thin narrow ring, but rather thick and at least a finger broad. I saw it smooth and yet as if covered with little regular triangles in which were letters. On the inside was a flat surface. The ring is engraved with something. I saw it kept behind many locks in a beautiful church. Devout people about to be married take their wedding-rings to touch it.

A few days later, Anne Catherine Emmerich saw Mary and Joseph's wedding again ... 

Anne Catherine Emmerich's Visions of August 3rd, 1821 - A Double Vision 

On August 3rd, 1821, in the midst of her pain and suffering, Anne Catherine Emmerich received the following vision of Mary and Joseph's wedding. 


Interestingly, Emmerich doesn't completely understand her vision. She seems to be describing two events overlaid on top of each other, Mary and Joseph's wedding and a contemporaneous church celebration. It's very mysterious: 

In the last few days I have seen much of the story of Mary’s wedding-ring, but as the result of disturbances and pain I can no longer give a connected account of it. Today I saw a festival in a church in Italy where the wedding-ring is to be found. It seemed to me to be hung up in a kind of monstrance which stood above the Tabernacle. 

There was a large altar there, magnificently decorated, one saw deep into it through much silverwork. I saw many rings being held against the monstrance. During the festival I saw Mary and Joseph appearing in their wedding garments on each side of the ring, as if Joseph were placing the ring on the Blessed Virgin’s finger. At the same time I saw the ring shining and as if in movement.

Incredibly, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich goes on to describe more details of this church she has never been and knows nothing about:

To the right and left of this altar I saw two other altars, which were probably not in the same church, but were only shown to me in my vision as being together. In the altar to the right was an Ecce Homo picture of Our Lord, which a devout Roman senator, a friend of St. Peter’s, had received in a miraculous manner. In the altar to the left was one of the grave-clothes of Our Lord.

You might be asking yourself, is Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describing an actual place?

Remember, Emmerich had no idea that the ring of St. Joseph had given Mary was still in existence.  

The Discovery of Mary and Joseph's Wedding Ring, Santo Anello

The visions revealed to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich that Santo Anello was located somewhere in Italy. Emmerich died without finding out more. 

Emmerich's mystical visions became popular across the world. So, a few years after Emmerich's death, the hunt was on! People began searching for the location of the church and altar described in Emmerich's visions. 

The ring and its location were soon discovered. Santo Anello was found in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Perugia, Italy. The ring was found in a beautiful reliquary resembling a monstrance, exactly as Emmerich had described.    

Amazingly, the ring was no secret, but basically nobody beyond Perugia knew about it. It had likely been dismissed as a fake long ago. 

Is it just me being the Catholic Nerd, or does this sequence of forgetting remind you of another lost ring?

And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.

And there's more:
 
Emmerich's description of the ring was also spot on. The ring appears iridescent and dark in color. As you can see, it's a dark amber or yellow color:


Santo Anello may even appear milky white when there is a lot of sunlight in the cathedral.  

Santo Anello is also housed in a beautiful reliquary that resembles a monstrance, as you can see below. A monstrance, by the way, is the special type of reliquary used for displaying the Eucharist during Benediction or other times of Adoration. 



This reliquary is really impressive. Look at the size of it. And the decoration on top of the massive reliquary looks exactly like a monstrance. 

But there's still more ...

Why did Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich have visions on those specific days?

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's Visions of Santo Anello Occurred on Significant Days of Pilgrimage

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's visions of Santo Anello were startlingly accurate in there descriptions of the church, the ring, and the reliquary, but there's still more.  

Emmerich's visions occurred on July 29 and August 3. Emmerich had no idea, but these dates corresponded with the time of year when pilgrims visit the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Perugia. Pilgrims stop at the Perugia Cathedral on their way to Assisi, which is just a short distance away. Pilgrims are headed to Assisi for the Feast of the Holy Angels of the Portiuncula on August 2


There's a neat temporal coincidence, but there's more. It's what the pilgrims do as they pass through Perugia on their way to Assisi. 

Married and engaged couples stop in Perugia to venerate Santo Anello and receive a special blessing on their marriage. On just this special occasion, couples are allowed to touch their wedding rings to Santo Anello!    

This is what Emmerich must have seen in her visions! Remember what she said? 

I saw many rings being held against the monstrance. During the festival I saw Mary and Joseph appearing in their wedding garments on each side of the ring, as if Joseph were placing the ring on the Blessed Virgin’s finger. At the same time I saw the ring shining and as if in movement.

Isn't that mind-blowing? Emmerich was seeing in her visions the pilgrims touching their rings to the ring St. Joseph gave to Mary, while St. Joseph was also placing the ring on Mary's finger. 

What amazing way to connect your family to the Holy Family. I know where I want to go for my and my wife's next wedding anniversary ...

... which happens to be Thursday! Happy Anniversary, Ashton!


Footnotes for Mary and Joseph's Wedding Ring, Santo Anello:

[1] All the quotations from Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's journals are from The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Catherine Emmerich, Chapter 7. VII. MARRIAGE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN TO JOSEPH, which is available online here: 
https://www.ccel.org/ccel/emmerich/lifemary.xi.html

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