A Benedictine monastery in a small town in Missouri, USA, has been filled with hundreds of people since news spread that the recently excavated remains of its founder, who died four years ago, have been surprisingly preserved.
A story published Monday by the Catholic News Agency said hundreds of people have traveled to the city after hearing about Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, an African-American woman who founded the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of Apostles in 1995.
Benedictine monks are well known as recording artists who produce chart-topping Gregorian chants and Catholic hymn albums.
Sister Wilhelmina died on May 29, 2019, at the age of 95, and was buried in a wooden coffin.
According to the Catholic News Agency, the monks recently decided to transfer his body to their monastery, a tradition of the founders.
But instead of finding bones in the coffin, the sisters discovered what appeared to be a full body. The article said, the body had not been embalmed, and the coffin had a crack that allowed moisture and dirt to enter.
The nun, Mother Cecilia, said they believed nun Wilhelmina was the first African American woman to be found "incorrupt" - or uncorrupted after death.
"The body was covered in fog that had increased due to high levels of overcrowding inside the ruptured casket," the Catholic News Agency reported.
"Despite the humidity, her small body and anything of her character disintegrated within four years."
The Catholic Church has more than 100 "incorruptible saints" who have been beatified or canonized, whose bodies have been completely or partially protected from the natural process of decay many years after their death, reports the Catholic Church.
Catholic News said. Catholic tradition holds that these saints bear witness to the truth of the resurrection of the body. The absence of decomposition is also considered a sign of holiness.