Hundreds of people across the United States have traveled to a small-town Missouri monastery to see the body of a nun that appears to have no signs of decomposition four years after her death (SEE PHOTOS). Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, an African American who died at 95 in 2019, was the founder of the convent of the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, in 1995, when she was 70 years old. She was buried in Gower, about 60 miles north of Kansas City. Her body was exhumed on May 18 so it could be moved to a monastery chapel, but when the coffin was opened, the nun’s body was intact with almost no signs of decomposition.
Over 15,000 faithful visited the chapel where the body is on display
Lancaster’s body had not previously been embalmed and was buried in a cracked wooden coffin that exposed her corpse to natural agents, local media reported. The nuns initially kept the information secret, but in vain: last weekend, on the occasion of the day dedicated to the memory of the deceased in the fight in defense of the US flag, 15,000 crossed the threshold of the small chapel of the Benedictines of Mary, pride of the small town of Gower, north of Kansas City, to see with your own eyes what has been called by some a “modern miracle”. Over the past weekend, pilgrims waited in line all day for an opportunity to see and touch Sister Wilhelmina’s body, which was placed in a glass case on May 30, where it will remain accessible to the public.
The nuns wanted the news to remain secret
Dozens of Benedictine nuns led their founder to a stage around the property of the Abbey of Our Lady of Ephesus, reciting the rosary and singing hymns. They were followed by many priests and nuns of other orders along with hundreds of pilgrims who had visited the abbey during the three-day Memorial Day weekend. The procession, which took place in the late afternoon sun, culminated inside the church of the abbey, where the nun’s body was placed in a special glass case. Flowers surrounded her body and decorated the top of the chest, into which an image of St. Joseph holding the Christ Child was placed. The sisters confirmed they intended to keep their discovery a secret, but a leak from a Internal mail resulted in worldwide media coverage and a flood of pilgrims arriving at Gower Abbey.
There are already those who cry out for a miracle
“This is a modern day miracle. And especially with everything happening in the world today, something like this brings hope. We had to experience the magic and the miracle,” Tonya and William Kattner commented to Catholic News Agency (CNA). , originally from Excelsior Springs, Missouri, among the tens of thousands of pilgrims who came to Gower. “I am a strong believer in the Catholic faith. I believe in miracles and I have never seen anything like this before. I have a lot going on in my life and now is the best time to get that message from a nun,” said Kate Jalloh, of Kansas City . The hypothesis of a case of incorruptibility is being evaluated, which according to Catholic tradition indicates a divine intervention that stops or slows down decomposition as a sign of holiness.
The local diocese: “A thorough investigation is needed”
The local ordinary, Bishop Vann Johnston of the Kansas City-St. Joseph said a “thorough investigation” was needed to answer “important questions” raised by the state of his body, but it was not known if or when such an investigation would take place. However, “the state of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster’s remains has understandably generated widespread interest and raised important questions,” the diocese said. “At the same time, it is important to protect the integrity of Sister Wilhelmina’s mortal remains to allow for a thorough investigation,” the same source added. For their part, practitioners believe in a real miracle. Although some scientists questioned argued that the “delay” in the decomposition process is neither exceptional nor rare.