Nun’s body in US found intact 4 years after death, causing a frenzytext_fields
Missouri: Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster died on May 29, 2019, at age 95.
Four years later on May 18, 2023 her body was exhumed to move to its final resting place in a monastery chapel, when a miracle of sorts struck exhumers.
Her body showed no visible decay, nevertheless it was interred in a wooden coffin.
Now hundreds of people flock to this monastery in the midwestern US small town of Missouri, to see the mortal remains of Wilhelmina Lancaster, which will be on display till May 29, The Guardian reported.
Sister Lancaster, according to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph founded the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles order in 1995.
The sisters of the monastery who were witnessing the exhuming stunned to see Lancaster’s body remaining intact.
Despite covered in layers mold, and dampness, there was little disintegration to the body over the four years.
One of the sisters reportedly said they were warned by cemetery personnel to expect just bones as the sister was buried without embalming.
‘The dirt that fell in early on had pushed down on her facial features, especially the right eye, so we did place a wax mask over it. But her eyelashes, hair, eyebrows, nose, and lips were all present, her mouth just about to smile,’ a sister who witnessed the exhuming said.
The intact body of the sister Lancaster, based on Catholicism, is considered incorrupt, giving it a dimension that quickly has drawn people to the monastery.
‘Incorruptible saints give witness to the truth of the resurrection of the body and the life that is to come,’ the Catholic News Agency said.
Now people flock to the monastery to have a glimpse of the body, with many calling it a ‘miracle of Missouri’.
A sign is placed beside the body that warned worshipers, ‘Please be gentle with touching sister's body, especially her feet.’
However, experts say that bodies remaining intact in the first few years after death isn’t uncommon.
Nicholas V Passalacqua, Associate Professor and Director of Forensic Anthropology at Western Carolina University said that ‘it is hard to say how common it is because bodies are rarely exhumed’.
Passalacqua further said that there are incidents of discovering well-preserved human remains, and cited the example of the Bog Bodies of Europe, which remain well-preserved for thousands of years.
The professor linked the wonder to ‘environments with low oxygen that restricted bacterial growth and access to the remains to scavengers.’