Catholic Nun Whose Remains Are Intact after 4 Years of Burial shows no signs of decay
The small rural Missouri town of Gower has become an unexpected pilgrimage destination after a nun’s exhumed body showed no visible signs of decomposition — four years after her burial.
Hundreds of people have been flocking to the town 40 miles north of Kansas City to marvel at the well-preserved body of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, with many calling it a “miracle in Missouri.”
Lancaster, when she was 70, founded the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.
She died in May 2019 at 95, according to the Catholic News Agency.
Last Thursday, Benedictine nuns dug up their foundress’ coffin to move it beneath the altar in the convent’s chapel, which is customary.
“We were told by cemetery personnel to expect just bones in the conditions, as Sister Wilhelmina was buried without embalming and in a simple wood coffin,” one nun told Newsweek.
The Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, have made a surprising discovery during the exhumation of their foundress Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster
The body of Lancaster had been buried in the chapel grounds following her death in May 2019 but was being moved to the altar under the chapel.
According to CNN, when the coffin was unearthed, Lancaster’s body was allegedly “incorrupt,” per Catholic traditions.
Incorrupt is a term used by Catholics to refer to the preservation of the body from normal decay.
Her remains were reported to be intact even though the body had not been embalmed and was in a wooden coffin, according to the Catholic News Agency.
The discovery captured the attention of some members of the church, leading to a mass pilgrimage as people travel to see the rare occurrence.
The Catholic Church has a long-standing tradition of “incorruptible saints,” more than a hundred of whom have been beatified or canonised.
According to Catholic tradition, incorruptible saints give witness to the truth of the resurrection of the body and the life that is to come.