The other day I happened to be watching EWTN Bookmark, and Erin von Euffel and Lorraine Fusaro were on the program talking about a book that they requested Rev. Carl G. Schulte to write, The Life of Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey & Mary’s House in Ephesus. I was interested in this book, because I have been to the house!
According to the book, while in Paris Sr. Marie read the revelations of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich which described the final years of Mary’s life on earth as taking place in Ephesus. In describing her visions, Bl. Anne Catherine described not only the house, but the geography of the surrounding area, and foundations of buildings nearby. Sr. Marie was inspired to look for the house, and when Pope Leo XIII called for French missionaries to serve in Smyrna (current day Izmir), Sr. Marie went to Turkey. After much convincing, two Vincentian priests along with some local Muslims and Christians agreed to search for the house. The house was discovered, and the land subsequently was purchased by the church.
The house that is currently there dates to the 4th century, and is said to be built over the location of the original house. Sacred Destinations has some good information and photos.
Of course, when you go as a tourist you can’t exactly get fantastic photos because it is SO crowded and there are people everywhere. The photo above was taken by me during our trip of the outside of the house. As a tourist you are able to enter the house and walk through, but no photos are allowed inside. See the Sacred Destinations link above for some nice photos of the inside.
The tourist population is very diverse as it includes Muslims and Christians. Muslims visit the house because they have great respect for Mary as the mother of Jesus. (In Islam Jesus is a prophet, but I am no expert on the particulars of Muslim belief about Mary so look into it if you’re interested.)
Pictured above is the altar where mass is frequently said at the site. Pope Benedict XVI said mass here during his visit on November 29, 2006.
On a path below the home is a wall where people write prayers or wishes on paper or cloth and attach them to the wall.
The ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus (which are also amazing) are at the bottom of a mountain, but the village where Mary lived is near the top. Above is a photo I took from the car as we were driving up.
The American Society of Ephesus erected a huge statue of Mary about halfway up the mountain, and I took this photo standing below her looking up.
If you every have the opportunity to visit Turkey I highly suggest going to Ephesus. The ruins of the ancient city are completely amazing, as is Mary’s house.
Below are some photos of the ruins in the city itself. Please keep in mind that I am not nor do I claim to be a photographer, or really any good at taking pictures. I don’t have a fancy camera, I just took these while on vacation. 🙂 Enjoy.
Please get the book if you’re interested in learning more about Ephesus! I will certainly answer any questions in the comments about Ephesus or Turkey in general. Much of the New Testament mentions locations in Turkey and it is so thrilling to actually go those places and think that the apostles were there!
p.s. all photos in this post were taken by me.