Hundreds Head to Rural Monastery to See Body of Nun That Has Not Decomposed

Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster was 95 when she died and was buried in 2019


Thousands of people are visiting a rural Missouri monastery to view the body of a nun whose remains appear to be intact years after her death.

Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster was 95 when she died and was buried in 2019.

She had founded the Benedictine Sisters of Mary order.

Roughly four years later, the sisters in the order exhumed her body to move it to a final resting place inside their monastery chapel.

That’s when they discovered the remains had not decayed even though she had been buried in a simple wooden casket, the Catholic News Agency reported.

When the news became public, crowds started flocking to see her.

The sisters are warning visitors to bring chairs and umbrellas for shade as they wait in long lines.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said in a statement that the bishop "is working to establish a thorough process for understanding the nature of the condition of Sister Wilhelmina’s remains. Incorruptibility has been verified in the past, but it is very rare.”

The Catholic Church has a tradition of so-called “incorruptible saints,” according to the Catholic News Agency. The saints are called incorruptible because years after their deaths, parts or the entirety of their bodies have not decayed.

More than 100 of those have been beatified or canonized.

The nuns said visitors still will be able to see the sister’s body, touch relics of her habit and take dirt from her grave after she is placed in a glass shrine in their church on Monday.

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