Pilgrims Flock to Rural Missouri as Thousands Visit Remarkably Preserved Remains of Nun Who Passed Away in 2019 at 95

A small rural town in Missouri has become a pilgrimage site as thousands of people flock to visit a Catholic nun named Sister Wilhemina Lancaster, despite the fact that she passed away in 2019.

Sister Wilhemina Lancaster, a member of the Most Holy Rosary, OSB, died at the age of 95 on May 29, 2019. Astonishingly, her body has experienced minimal decay since her passing, a recent discovery made when Sisters from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles Monastery in Gower, Missouri relocated her remains to their chapel.

Initially expecting only bones, the sisters were surprised to find Sister Wilhemina’s body almost perfectly intact. She had not been embalmed after her death, and her burial consisted of nothing more than a wooden casket. While a layer of mold had formed due to a crack in the casket, Sister Wilhemina’s body remained remarkably preserved.

Mother Cecilia, OSB, the current abbess, recounted the shock of seeing the nearly intact body, noticing a fully formed foot and realizing the extent of the preservation. Sister Wilhemina’s life and unwavering faith were a testament to hope and trust, which people are seeking in these challenging times.

In Catholic tradition, incorruptible saints are regarded as having a profound connection to Christ and are believed to have experienced resurrection and eternal life. These individuals’ bodies show little to no signs of decay even years after their death. Over a hundred cases of incorruptible bodies have been beatified or canonized, with several hundred documented instances overall.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph acknowledged the widespread interest and important questions surrounding Sister Wilhemina’s case. They emphasized the need to protect the integrity of her mortal remains, allowing for a thorough investigation.

In addition to Sister Wilhemina’s preserved body, her clothing and burial items were found in remarkable condition. Her holy habit, made of natural fibers, remained intact, while the synthetic veil and the coffin’s lining had deteriorated.

Uncertain of the appropriate course of action, the sisters cleaned the mold from Sister Wilhemina’s face and then created a wax mask of her face and hands. While some damage occurred during the preservation process and exposure to air, the body remained relatively intact.

Since the discovery, thousands of people have made the journey to the rural town to pay their respects to Sister Wilhemina. Sheriff Larry Fish of Clinton County noted that they expected a daily influx of 10 to 15,000 visitors over the Memorial Day weekend.

After being displayed for several days, Sister Wilhemina’s body was eventually placed in a glass case near the chapel’s altar. While many consider it a miracle, there are those who question it. The opinions of the public are divided, and people are encouraged to share their thoughts and beliefs in the comments.

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