Nun’s Body Shows No Decay: A Miraculous Phenomenon or Natural Occurrence?

In a small town in Missouri, an extraordinary event has captured the attention of hundreds of people. The body of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, a Black nun, was exhumed after four years of being buried. To everyone’s astonishment, her body displayed almost no signs of decay. The news of this remarkable preservation quickly spread, drawing visitors from all over the country. While some see this as a sign of holiness in Catholicism, others argue that such lack of decomposition may not be as rare as it appears. In this article, we delve into the details surrounding the preservation of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster’s body and explore possible explanations for this phenomenon. Following !

Nun's Body Shows No Decay
Nun’s Body Shows No Decay

Nun’s Body Shows No Decay

Upon exhumation, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles abbey in Gower, Missouri, expected to find nothing more than bones inside Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster’s simple wooden coffin. However, they were met with an astounding discovery – an intact body and a perfectly preserved religious habit. The nuns had not intended to publicize this finding, but when a private email was leaked, the news quickly spread like wildfire.

The Astonishing Experience of Visitors

The news of Sister Wilhelmina’s incorruptible body drew hundreds of people to the small town of Gower. Among the visitors was Samuel Dawson, a Catholic from Kansas City, who described the experience as “pretty amazing” and “very reverent.” The crowd, consisting of both locals and out-of-state visitors, marveled at the preserved body and were even allowed to touch Sister Wilhelmina, as the nuns wanted to make her accessible to the public, just as she had been in life.

A Closer Look at the Preservation

Rebecca George, an anthropology instructor at Western Carolina University, shed some light on the phenomenon of preserved bodies. According to George, the mummification of un-embalmed bodies is not as uncommon as one might think. At the university’s facility, un-embalmed bodies have been known to remain well-preserved for many years. Factors such as coffins and clothing play a role in preserving the body. In the case of Sister Wilhelmina, the wooden coffin and her religious habit may have contributed to her remarkable state of preservation.

Incorruptibility and Sainthood

In Catholicism, the preservation of a body without decay, known as “incorruptibility,” is considered a sign of holiness. It is often seen as a step towards sainthood. While the condition of Sister Wilhelmina’s remains has generated widespread interest and raised important questions, the process for her potential canonization has not yet begun. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph emphasized the need to protect the integrity of her mortal remains and called for a thorough investigation before proceeding with any formal procedures.


1. How long was Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster’s body buried before it was exhumed?

Sister Wilhelmina’s body was buried for four years before being exhumed.

2. Did Sister Wilhelmina’s body show any signs of decay?

No, her body displayed minimal signs of decay, astonishing those who witnessed the exhumation.

3. What is the significance of a body not decomposing in Catholicism?

In Catholicism, an incorruptible body is seen as a sign of holiness and can be considered as evidence in the process of canonization for sainthood.

4. Is the preservation of un-embalmed bodies a common occurrence?

According to experts, the preservation of un-embalmed bodies is not unheard of, especially in the initial years after death. Factors such as coffins and clothing can contribute to the preservation.

5. Has the process for Sister Wilhelmina’s canonization started?

No, the process for Sister Wilhelmina’s canonization has not yet begun. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph highlighted the importance of conducting a thorough investigation before proceeding with any formal procedures.

6. Will the public be able to view Sister Wilhelmina’s body in the future?

Sister Wilhelmina’s body will be placed in a glass shrine in the monastery’s church, allowing visitors to continue viewing her. However, touching her will no longer be permitted.


The case of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster’s incorruptible body has captivated the attention of people far and wide. While some perceive it as a miraculous phenomenon, others offer a more scientific explanation for the lack of decomposition. The preservation of un-embalmed bodies, although uncommon, is not entirely unheard of. Nevertheless, the faithful and curious alike continue to flock to the small Missouri town, eager to witness this extraordinary event. As the investigation into Sister Wilhelmina’s remains unfolds, the story of the nun with a body that shows no decay continues to intrigue and inspire awe among all who hear it.

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