Miracle in Missouri?
Body of Benedictine Sisters’ Foundress
Thought to Be Incorrupt
According to Catholic tradition, incorruptible saints give witness to the truth of the resurrection of the body and the life that is to come.
Hundreds of pilgrims have descended on a Benedictine monastery for religious sisters in rural Missouri in recent days after news began to spread on social media last week that the recently exhumed remains of the contemplative order’s African American foundress appear to be incorrupt, four years after her death and burial in a simple wooden coffin.
Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster founded the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles — best known for their chart-topping Gregorian chant and classic Catholic hymn albums — in 1995 at the age of 70, leaving the Oblate Sisters of Providence, her community of more than 50 years, to do so.
Known for her devotion to the traditional Latin Mass and her faithfulness to Benedictine contemplation and the Liturgy of the Hours, she died at age 95 on May 29, 2019, on the Solemnity of the Ascension.
Roughly four years later, on the Solemnity of the Ascension in the Latin Rite, the abbess and sisters decided to move her body to a final resting place inside their monastery chapel, a long-standing custom for founders and foundresses.
Expecting to find bones, the Benedictine sisters instead unearthed a coffin with an apparently intact body, even though the body was not embalmed, and the wooden coffin had a crack down the middle that let in moisture and dirt for an unknown length of time during those four years.