German stigmatic Anne Catherine Emmerich, declared “venerable by the Church in 2001 and author of revelations concerning the Crucifixion of Christ, asserted that it was the Blessed Mother who established devotion to the Way of the Cross and that the Virgin shared a supernatural communication as well as great suffering with Jesus during His Passion. She also described His Resurrection.
In reputed visions during the 1800s, Venerable Emmerich, a nun in Dulmen who experienced a wide array of mystical phenomena (including the stigmata, or wounds of Christ, on Fridays), said she saw the Holy Mother retrace her Son’s steps during His judgment before Herod, joining John and Magdalen in praying on the route Jesus had taken — spots that had been sanctified by His footsteps.
“They again looked at the house of Caiphas, that of Annas, Ophel, Gethsemane, and the Garden of Olives,” claimed the mystic, whose revelations have come to special light since reports that they play a part in a movie directed by Mel Gibson. “They stopped and contemplated each spot where He had fallen, or where He had suffered particularly; and they wept silently at the thought of all He had undergone. The Blessed Virgin knelt down frequently and kissed the ground where her Son had fallen, while Magdalen wrung her hands in bitter grief and John, although he could not restrain his own tears, endeavored to console his companions.”
Thus was the holy practice of the Way of the Cross first instituted, claimed the mystic, and the mysteries of the Passion, since incorporated into the Rosary, first accomplished. “At each station, marked by the suffering of her Son, did she lay up in her heart the inexhaustible merits of His Passion, and gather them up as precious stones or sweet-scented flowers to be presented as choice offering to the Eternal Father,” said Emmerich, whose revelations were often obtained in deep ecstasies during which she appeared comatose. Recorded by poet Clemente Brentano, they are contained in a book called The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ — one of the most powerful revelations on the Crucifixion.