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People Are Flocking To See Black Nun Whose Body Shows Little Decay 4 Years After Her Burial



Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster

People are flocking to a small town in Missouri after the exhumed body of a nun showed no signs of decay nearly four years after her death.

Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster was exhumed in April as part of a plan to move her body to its final resting place inside a local Benedictine monastery. When they exhumed Lancaster, they were told to expect only bones, since she had been buried in a simple wooden coffin without any embalming four years ago. But the body is showing a mysterious lack of decomposition and some are calling it “a miracle.”

Now, hundreds of people flocked to the monastery to see the Black nun whose body has barely decomposed since 2019. Visitors were allowed to touch her, Dawson said, adding that the nuns “wanted to make her accessible to the public … because in real life, she was always accessible to people.”

The monastery said in a statement that Lancaster’s body will be placed in a glass shrine in their church on Monday. Visitors will still be able to see her body and take dirt from her grave, but they won’t be able to touch her.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph released a statement saying: “The condition of the remains of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster has understandably generated widespread interest and raised important questions. At the same time, it is important to protect the integrity of the mortal remains of Sister Wilhelmina to allow for a thorough investigation.”

Rebecca George, an anthropology instructor at Western Carolina University in North Carolina, said the body’s lack of decomposition might not be as rare as people are expecting because the “mummification” of un-embalmed bodies is common and the bodies could stay preserved for many years, if allowed to.

Coffins and clothing also help to preserve bodies, she said.

“Typically, when we bury people, we don’t exhume them. We don’t get to look at them a couple years out,” George said. “With 100 years, there might be nothing left. But when you’ve got just a few years out, this is not unexpected.”

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