Miracle in Missouri: Nun who died in 2019 showed no decay after four years of death
Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, who died in 2019, was exhumed so it could be moved to its final resting place inside a monastery chapel.
Hundreds of tourists are flocking to a monastery in a small Missouri town to see the exhumed body of a deceased nun that showed no signs of decay after four years since her death.
The Catholic News Agency reported that the body of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, who died at age 95 in 2019, was exhumed “roughly four years later” so it could be moved to its final resting place inside a monastery chapel.
When the coffin was unearthed on May 18, Lancaster’s body was apparently “incorrupt.” The monks were stunned to find that Lancaster’s body was intact with almost no sign of decay, though the body was buried in a cracked wooden coffin that exposed her corpse to moisture and debris. Despite the dampness, little of her body disintegrated during the last four years.
“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,” said one of the sisters to Newsweek.
The sister added, “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 was just about to smile.”
In Catholicism, bodies that defy the decomposing process are known as “incorrupt”, which is a sign of holiness and later justification for sainthood, according to the Catholic News Agency.
Meanwhile, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph issued a statement about the discovery.
The diocese stated, “It is understandable that the condition of the remains of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster has generated widespread interest and raised important questions.” Simultaneously, it is vital to safeguard the uprightness of the remaining parts of Sister Wilhelmina and take them into consideration to allow a thorough examination… Bishop [James] Johnston invites all the faithful to continue praying during this time of investigation for God’s will.”
The process for sainthood has not been started for Lancaster, Johnston further said.
Even if a body is not embalmed, it is common, according to some experts, for it to remain in good condition for several years after death.
According to the monastery website, Lancaster’s body will be moved on May 29 and encased in glass in the chapel, where visitors can continue to view it.