Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Sister Wilhemina and When it comes to bodies, just how ‘incorrupt’ is ‘incorruptible’?

The Catholic internet is buzzing with news of the body of Benedictine Sister's foundress Sister Wilhemina seemingly being incorrupt. I mentioned it here.

The Pillar has a couple of great pieces about this. The first, When it comes to bodies, just how ‘incorrupt’ is ‘incorruptible’? is about what it means to be incorrupt and how the Church evaluates it.

The second is from JD Flynn who lives close enough to drive over and see for himself what's going on. It turns out he's not the only one. Thousands are flocking to Gower Abbey and a fascinating part of the story is how the locals are all pitching in to make the experience work smoothly, from parking to bathrooms to crowd control. 

Read I want to see for myself which has a really indepth piece including interviews with the nuns, pilgrims, and locals. Here's a bit:
Indeed, I am not an expert, but I spent a fair amount of time in the direct presence of Sr. Wilhelmina’s body, and I was astounded by what I saw: Her skin, though now covered with a light transparent layer of wax, appeared to be intact and preserved, and limbs and hands and feet seemed not to have decomposed at all. I was most astounded that as I knelt directly in front of her body, there was no odor at all of decay or decomposition.

Since the nun was not embalmed, buried four years ago, and found with a cracked coffin in wet and muddy earth, that seems extraordinary to me. Again, I am not an expert, and I allow that there might be some natural explanation of what’s happened to Sr. Wilhelmina’s body, but I was astounded — and as readers know, I’m often pretty cynical.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I drove to Gower Abbey. I half-believed there might be no one there at all. Instead, I came upon a crowd of thousands who had come to see the nun, and had come to pray. Some were devout Catholics, some were not Catholic at all. Some came skeptically, and some came hoping for a miracle.

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