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Nun’s body found to be ‘incorruptible’ four years after her funeral

Hundreds of people traveled to a convent in rural Missouri to view a nun’s body, showing no signs of decomposition, four years after her death.

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The body of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, who died at the age of 95 in 2019, was exhumed four years later so she could be moved to her final resting place in the monastery chapel, the Catholic news agency said.

When the coffin was removed from the ground, Lancaster’s body appeared to be “incorruptible”. The remains remained intact, although the body was not embalmed and buried in a wooden coffin, the news outlet reported.

This discovery attracted the attention of some members of the church and prompted an investigation into the amazing event.

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The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph issued a statement regarding the find.

“The condition of the remains of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster has understandably generated widespread interest and raised important questions,” the diocese said.

The diocese said “incorruptibility” is very rare and is “a well-established process to advance the cause of canonization”, but in Lancaster’s case, the process has not yet begun.

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The Catholic News Agency reported that more than 100 incorruptible bodies have been canonized – their bodies are not subject to the decomposition process.

Experts say it’s not unusual for bodies to be well preserved, especially in the first few years after death.

“It’s hard to say how common this is because bodies are rarely exhumed after burial,” said forensic anthropology expert Nicholas W. Passalacqua. “But there are many known cases of well-preserved human remains.”

Science generally considers this to be more of an accidental mummification than a miracle, but it is known that even with modern methods of embalming, bodies in most cases are subject to natural decomposition processes.

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The nuns were also impressed by the excellent state of preservation of the monastic cassock made of natural compounds, in which Sister Wilhelmina was buried, while the veil with which she was covered was made of synthetics and was very badly damaged by moisture.

Abbess Cecilia stressed that the preservation of the cassock is also a big part of this miracle, because the cassock is “a beautiful sign that this life is not all.” When the body was taken out of the coffin, the nuns washed it, because there was a layer of mold on the face, after which the body began to quickly darken when exposed to air.

During the ablution, at the same time it turned out that both eyes of the nun were still in their place, along with eyelashes and eyebrows. After that, the body was covered with wax and laid in the chapel so that all who came could see it.

On May 29, the body will be placed in a glass sarcophagus near the altar of St. Joseph in the chapel. So far, the church has not recognized either the case of the incorruptibility of Wilhelmina’s body, or the miracle that happened. However, all the nuns agree that something out of the ordinary happened here.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.