A small town in Missouri has become the center of attention as news spreads about the preserved body of a nun who passed away in 2019, Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster.
Since her exhumation in April, hundreds of people have flocked to witness this extraordinary occurrence firsthand.
The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles released a statement to the AP, revealing the surprising condition of Sister Wilhelmina’s body.
Initially, the nuns anticipated finding only skeletal remains when they exhumed Sister Wilhelmina in preparation for the construction of a new shrine.
She had been laid to rest in a wooden coffin without any embalming. However, what they discovered was astonishing—a fully intact body, accompanied by her “perfectly preserved religious habit,” as stated in the release.
The news of this discovery quickly spread after someone shared a private email detailing the incident.
Visitors, including Samuel Dawson, a Catholic who personally witnessed Sister Wilhelmina’s preserved body, described the experience as “amazing” and “very reverent.”
The peculiar case has sparked discussions within the Catholic Church, prompting speculation about whether the phenomenon is a miracle or a “sign of holiness,” as noted by the AP.
The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph stated that while there is an established process for pursuing the cause of sainthood, it has not been initiated yet.
According to the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, at least five years must pass after death before the path to sainthood can begin.
However, some experts remain skeptical about the occurrence, casting doubt on the miraculous nature of the preserved body.
An anthropology professor at Western Carolina University, Rebecca George, explained to the AP that it is not uncommon for a body to stay preserved “just a few years out.”
In the interim, Sister Wilhelmina’s body will be housed in a glass shrine within the church.
This arrangement allows visitors to continue viewing her preserved form and collecting dirt from her grave, although physical contact with the body will not be permitted.