The Virgin Mary’s house was unusually discovered by Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich, a German nun in the year 1812. Sister Emmerich awoke one day, with visions and stigma that actually included St. John and the Virgin Mary travelling from the place of Jerusalem to the land of Ephesus. She was able to describe it in details and Brentano was the writer who was able to record the details. She described it as rectangular house made of stone which was built by John for Mary. The house had a fireplace as well as an apse and a wall that is round back. Mary’s bedroom is located next to the apse wherein it has a running spring into it. Sister Emmerich said that at the age of 64, the Virgin Mary died. She was then buried in a cave located near her house. Soon after, Mary’s coffin was opened but then both the burial shroud and the coffin were found empty. It was then turned into a chapel. Years after, Gouyet, a French clergyman read what Brentano’s wrote and looked for the Virgin’s House. He was able to find it that matchesSister Emmerich’s descriptions. He then sent some words to Paris and Rome’s bishops but there were not a lot of response.
Two Catholic officials and a Lazarist priest went to Ephesus on June 27, 1891 to be able to see Mary’s house. A small chapel was found with a distorted statue of the Virgin Mary. They went back to Izmir with their findings, and there were more specialist and priests sent to the house site. The site was then became a Site for Catholic pilgrimage since the year of 1892. By 1897, it was restored and a shelter is built for the visitors.
The House of the Virgin Mary is a sacred shrine, meant for both Muslims and Christians. It is being taken care of by the Lazarist Fathers. Every day they are celebrating mass. The shrine’s building is T- shaped and small. It is entirely made of stone and consists of a kitchen found on the left and on the right side, there’s the bedroom. It has a simple interior and austere, equipped with an altar with Virgin Mary’s images and candles.
The Virgin’s house has a running spring, believed to have properties that can actually heal and made so many miracles. Inside of the shrine, you will find canes and crutches, left by those that said to be were healed by the miraculous spring. The site is open for all even for those who are in wheelchairs. It is wheelchair accessible and it provides clean restrooms for public use.
A very special event is being celebrated in the shrine on August 15. It is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Every year, the clergies of the Orthodox, Muslim and the Catholic conduct a service, being participated by all the clergies at the site. It is a very rare occasion where all the clergies are seen working as one.