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Stigmata of St. Francis

 

The term “stigmata” means the impression of marks similar to the wounds of Christ on the body of a person or saint. No stigmatics were known prior to the thirteenth century. The first mentioned is St. Francis of Assisi. His stigmata were unique in character; in the wounds of his feet and hands were enormous growths of flesh representing nails. Those on one side having round black heads, those on the other having long points, which bent back and grasped the skin.

Those who would cast doubt upon them have never explained three circumstances associated with true stigmatics. First, physicians cannot cure the wounds; second, unlike natural wounds of long duration, these with one exception, St. Rita of Cascia, have not given off any foul odor; and third, sometimes these wounds give off a perfumed smell as in the case of Juliana of the Cross.

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