Thousands Travel to See Remains of Exhumed Nun Whose Body Seemingly Hasn’t Decayed Since Her 2019 De@th
Numerous explorers have been daring to a provincial Missouri town to see the remaining parts of a religious recluse who passed on quite a while back, yet whose body apparently hasn’t rotted.
According to Catholic Key Magazine and the Catholic News Agency, on May 29, 2019, at the age of 95, Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster of the Most Holy Rosary, OSB passed away.
Sisters from Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles Monastery in Gower, Missouri, recently decided to move Lancaster’s body into their monastery chapel, where they discovered her remains had barely decayed, per CNA.
Sister Wilhelmina’s body was not embalmed after her death, according to CNA. Additionally, the wooden coffin she was buried in reportedly had a crack in it that allowed moisture and dirt to get inside, and mold had started to grow.“We were told by cemetery personnel to expect just bones,” one nun told Newsweek. In a May 22 press release, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said Sister Wilhelmina’s remains have “understandably generated widespread interest.”
“Incorruptibility has been verified in the past, but it is very rare,” the church added, using a term that refers to bodies that resist the normal decomposing process, a sign of holiness.
The sisters said the body was “in a remarkable preserved condition” and that “the ribbon, her crucifix, and rosary” that were buried with her “were all intact,” according to CNA’s report.
“They [sic] synthetic veil was perfectly intact, while the lining of the coffin, made of similar material, was completely deteriorated and gone,” the sisters added.Still, not everybody remains convinced this is particularly unusual.
“In general, when we bury a body at our human decomposition facility, we expect it will take roughly five years for the body to become skeletonized,” Nicholas Passalacqua, an associate professor and director of forensic anthropology, told Newsweek.Despite the public’s fascination with the case, both Johnston and the church the process to pursue sainthood has not been initiated for Sister Wilhelmina.
But the discovery has still had a significant impact on many peoples’ faith. Abbess Cecilia believes the preservation of Sister Wilhelmina’s body is “a beautiful sign that this life is not all there is.”