Incorrupt Bodies of the Saints

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Incorrupt Bodies of the Saints

Postby I.P.Freely » Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:55 am

I never really know what to think about this but to realize as a species we really no nothing. Or in other words there is more going on then we can perceive.


Incorrupt Bodies of the Saints
"You can either trust people or not. I choose to trust what people say and sometimes I get lied to. If I were to trust no one I would never hear the truth." - James (IPF) Martell
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Postby cgreen » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:29 pm

Several years ago, as part of my car-company GM job I visited Turin, Italy to have discussions with FIAT. As a failed wanna-be Episcopal Priest, who reads both the religious and the perhaps not-so religious mystical and UFO stuff...I both went to see the Shroud of Turin, and then one of the Inncorruptible Saints I had read was in a small chapel outside of the city. Indeed, there was a many-hundred year old person in a casket, in excellent shape, and clearly not decayed, dessicated, nor destroyed. As a physican (in my day-job after GM) with a specialty in Forensic Medicine, I can say that I was pretty impressed.

Both the Shroud and the Saint made much greater impressions on me than the car-talk, and I resigned from GM shortly after to return to private practice.
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Postby caryn » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:44 pm

As you know, many ancient peoples employed a variety of techniques to preserve the bodies of the dearly departed. Forensic examination of tissue and fabric would most probably reveal the methods employed in this instance – I’m assuming you weren’t able to take samples?
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Postby ryguy » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:49 pm

cgreen wrote:Both the Shroud and the Saint made much greater impressions on me than the car-talk, and I resigned from GM shortly after to return to private practice.


I hope people can appreciate the value of this comment (and of this initial post of yours). My father, for ever since before I can remember, has studied the lives of the Saints. Those lives include some amazing stories that are very hard to believe really took place. Both the Shroud and the Saint stand as testaments to the reality that there are spiritual realities woven throughout our lives...if more people realized the reality of this, I believe they would likely significantly alter their own lives as well.

Thanks for taking the leap to making this first post - it's very much appreciated. :)

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Postby ryguy » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:00 pm

caryn wrote:Forensic examination of tissue and fabric would most probably reveal the methods employed in this instance – I’m assuming you weren’t able to take samples?


If you are interested Caryn, I can post here a number of physical analysis that was done after several "miracles" and "signs"...the overwhelming number of these cases that have been verified by some of the leading scientists and doctors, both inside and outside the church.

Here's one example:

Saint Faustina

Marians:Faustina Canonized


"The Vatican announced the canonization date March 10. St. Faustina's elevation to the honors of the altar follows the miraculous healing of an American priest. The Vatican announced Dec. 20 that the 1995 healing of Father Ron Pytel of Baltimore, Maryland, was a miracle. This set the stage for the Faustina's canonization.Her canonization on Mercy Sunday (the second Sunday of the Easter season) took place on the same Sunday on which she was beatified in 1993. She is the first saint of the new millennium.The healing of Fr. Pytel follows the 1981 miraculous healing of Lee, Massachusetts, resident Maureen Digan. The recognition of her healing as a miracle in December of 1992 led to St. Faustina's beatification."


"In 1995, a massive calcium build-up in Fr. Pytel's aortic valve due to a congenital heart condition left him with a permanently damaged left ventricle -- a condition that is rarely known to heal and if it does, occurs only after a very long time. His doctor, Dr. Nicholas Fortuin, a world-renowned cardiologist from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, said that he expected Fr. Pytel's heart never to be normal and that the then 48-year-old pastor would likely never be able to return to the full exercise of his parish duties. On Oct. 5, 1995, the anniversary of Saint Faustina's death, members of Fr. Pytel's parish and some friends gathered for a day of prayer to seek his healing through St. Faustina's intercession. Upon venerating a relic of the Saint, the priest collapsed to the floor, unable to move for about 15 minutes, although he remained conscious.During Fr. Pytel's next regular check-up, about a month later, Dr. Fortuin discovered a sudden change in the condition of the priest's heart -- it was now normal."


Professional Medical Opinion.

"On November 16th and December 9th, 1999, respective teams of medical and theological experts at the Vatican concluded their definitive investigation of Fr. Pytel's healing. The medical professional representing the Postulators of St. Faustina's cause was Dr. Valentin Fuster, Director of Mt. Sinai's Cardiovascular Institute in New York City. He is regarded as the preeminent expert in the world in the field of cardiovascular disease. The medical doctors evaluated the healing as scientifically unexplainable, and the theologians verified that it was definitely to be attributed to the intercession of Saint Faustina. The solemn promulgation of the decree establishing the fact of the healing as a miracle took place at the Vatican in the presence of Pope John Paul II on Dec. 20, 1999."


If we accept the medical analysis of the professionals, then we're left with our usual explanations - either the power of our own consciousness, or the power of outside consciousness.

As you know - I choose the second.

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Postby ryguy » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:18 pm

Here's an example of the kind of scientific rigor involved in verifying the cases (if you're interested):

Scientific Evidence of Miracles

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Miracles 1 (of 6)

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Introduction

The Medical committee at Lourdes is totally independent of the Church. They use skeptics on the committees, the rules are geared to control for remission. They screen our remission. They are required to use only the best medical evidence, to consult the doctors of the patients and they cannot make decisions without obtaining the medical records of those doctors. They do examine the patients. It does have to be proven that the people were sick beforehand! they will only choose a case when they cannot find a naturalistic explaination.

I am not claiming that these cases "prove" the existence of God. But in each case there is enough to make the leap of faith, filling in the gap with a good extraordinary pile of evidence. Atheists are always asserting we need extraordinary evidence. This is evidence. What most atheists mean by that is a little gape of raise the bar. I have played this game, met all their demands for documented miracles and they want more. They keep raising the bar until it turns out they will not believe until you give them regeneration of severed limbs. I show where St. Anthony did that, well it's a legend. I show a miracle that beatified St. Terisa of Lessex,a man grew grew back new lungs over night, but now that's not good because it's a Mary devotional site.

[snip...]

Lourdes evidence is the best. The Saintmaking miracles use the same rules and virtually the same committee, they are very exacting and rigorous. But they are not as pressure free as the Lourdes committee. There is some good evidence from the Protestant world, but not much. Protestants never think about documenting miracles. I also include what I call "the anecdotal pile." I don't think those cases prove anything, they sources are bad and docs stink, but I include them for the purpose of showing how many people in this world experience amazing things they define as "miracle." Miracles are going on all the time, and they not often given attention, not reproted and not believed.

Lourdes Miracles

MODERN MIRACLES HAVE STRICT RULES

BY DAVID VAN BIEMA

The paradox of human miracle assessment is that the only way to discern whether a phenomenon is supernatural is by having trained rationalists testify that it outstrips their training. Since most wonders admitted by the modern church are medical cures, it consults with doctors. Di Ruberto has access to a pool of 60 - "We've got all the medical branches covered," says his colleague, Dr. Ennio Ensoli - and assigns each purported miracle to two specialists on the vanquished ailment.

They apply criteria established in the 1700s by Pope Benedict XIV: among them, that the disease was serious; that there was objective proof of its existence; that other treatments failed; and that the cure was rapid and lasting. Any one can be a stumbling block. Pain, explains Ensoli, means little: "Someone might say he feels bad, but how do you measure that?" Leukemia remissions are not considered until they have lasted a decade. A cure attributable to human effort, however prayed for, is insufficient. "Sometimes we have cases that you could call exceptional, but that's not enough." says Ensoli. "Exceptional doesn't mean inexplicable."

"Inexplicable," or inspiegabile, is the happy label that Di Ruberto, the doctors and several other clerics in the Vatican's "medical conference" give to a case if it survives their scrutiny. It then passes to a panel of theologians, who must determine whether the inexplicable resulted from prayer. If so, the miracle is usually approved by a caucus of Cardinals and the Pope.

Some find the process all too rigorous. Says Father Paolino Rossi, whose job, in effect, is lobbying for would-be saints from his own Capuchin order: "It's pretty disappointing when you work for years and years and then see the miracle get rejected." But others suggest it could be stricter still.

There is another major miracle-validating body in the Catholic world: the International Medical Committee for the shrine at Lourdes. Since miracles at Lourdes are all ascribed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, it is not caught up in the saint-making process, which some believe the Pope has running overtime. Roger Pilon, the head of Lourdes' committee, notes that he and his colleagues have not approved a miracle since 1989, while the Vatican recommended 12 in 1994 alone. "Are we too severe?" he wonders out loud. "Are they really using the same criteria?"


Reported by Greg Burke/Lourdes
Copyright 1995 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

[snip...]

After 1977, following the proposal put forward by Mgr. Donze (who has recently died) to reword the rules laid down by Benedict XIV in the light of nowadaysÂ’ scientific and technological innovations, a 16 query scheme prepared by the LIMC was laid down; among other things, this introduced the need to rule out any psychopathic component, as well as any other subjective pathologic statea or manifestationa (which are therefore not verifiable), hence only taking into account the recovery acknowledgements relating to serious and provable affections, the only ones that could be deemed as “scientifically inexplicable”. And therefore, in this case it will be possible to close the medical report supporting a “certain and medically unexplainable” recovery, only when:

1) The diagnostics and authenticity of the disease has been preliminarily and perfectly assessed;

2) The prognosis provides for an impending or short-term fatal outcome;

3) The recovery is sudden, without convalesce, and absolutely complete and final;

4) The prescribed treatment cannot be deemed to have resulted in a recovery or in any case could have been propitiatory for the purposes of recovery itself. These criteria are still in use nowadays, in view of their highly logical, accurate and pertinent nature.


They undoubtedly and straightforwardly set out the standard features of an unexpected recovery and have actually made it impossible to put forward any objection to any form of lack of scientific exactitude on the part of the medical practitioners belonging to the Bureau and to the LIMC. The rigour of the Lourdes medical practitioners, whose scrupulousness throughout the years has been centering on the suddenness of recoveries, on the relative effectiveness of the therapies administered, on the objective evidence of the disease found, or on the shorter or longer length of the monitoring period (depending on the disease), has always been exemplary and appreciated by all the Diocesan Canonical Committees that have been called to express their opinion.

Compliance to such criteria has corroborated the seriousness and objectivity of the former Bureau des Constatations and, today, it continues to guide the Comit Medical International de Lourdes, whose conclusions have always represented an indispensable expert’s piece of evidence generating and motivating any further canonical judgements required to acknowledge the real Miracles amongst the thousands of recoveries ascribed to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes.
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Postby caryn » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:21 pm

Yes, please do Ry….though I was referring specifically to the preservation of dead tissue, not the miracles performed by the living.
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Postby ryguy » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:57 pm

caryn wrote:Yes, please do Ry….though I was referring specifically to the preservation of dead tissue, not the miracles performed by the living.


Ok - here are a few sources. I studied some of this back in college when I had taken up the practice of scoffing at my dad for his belief in the saints. It didn't take me long to realize that I was the one who had a bit to learn.

http://www.catholicapologetics.info/library/gallery/incorrupt.htm

In 1644, when her grave was opened to receive one of her deceased relatives, the body of Germaine was discovered fresh and perfectly preserved. Her body was then exposed for public view until a noble lady presented the church a casket of lead to hold the remains of the young saint. This lady was immediately cured of a serious ailment, this being the first of a long series of wonderful cures wrought at Germaine's relics. The leaden casket was placed in the sacristy; and in 1661 and again in 1700, the remains of this saint were viewed and found to be fresh and intact by the vicars-general of Toulouse. Expert medical evidence declared that the body had not been embalmed, and experimental tests showed that the preservation was not due to any property inherent in the soil. In 1793 a Revolutionary tinsmith and his three accomplices, desecrating Germaine’s casket and taking out her remains, buried them in the sacristy and threw quicklime and water on them. Even after the Revolution, Germaine’s body was found to be intact except where the quicklime had done its work. Although Satan tried to destroy God’s miracle, Germaine’s body still remains incorrupt and can be seen in the Church of Pibrac, France.



http://shell.amigo.net/~tmv/Special_Inv4.html

Incorrupible In Death
Even in death, Sister Agreda defies the rationalists and supplies non-believers and the faithful with evidence of her fantastic talents. In a secluded crypt on the grounds of the convent we find what proves to be the latest dramatic chapter to her unbelievable story. Sister Marie Jesus Agreda's body, it turns out, is incorruptible. Like a small number of deceased mystics and Catholic saints, the nun's body refuses to naturally decay, even after 335 long years. The flush of her cheeks and her life-like features still baffle the Catholic Church and modern science. During an opening of her casket in 1909, a cursory scientific examination was performed on the pristine body in peaceful repose, astounding the scientists and doctors who were allowed to perform the examination. In 1989 a Spanish physician named Andreas Medina participated in another examination of Sister Maria Jesus Agreda as she lay in the convent of the Conceptionist nuns, the same monastery where she had lived in the 1600s.

Modern Science Puzzled
Dr. Medina told investigative journalist Javier Sierra in 1991: "'What most surprised me about that case is that when we compared the state of the body, as it was described in the medical report from 1909, with how it appeared in 1989, we realized it had absolutely not deteriorated at all in the last eighty years.'" 15 Complete photographic and scientific evidence was obtained by investigators before the respectful closing of her glass-lidded casket. She is beatified by the Catholic Church and may someday become a saint in the Catholic tradition. Although the Blue Lady is said to have visited the Rio Grande River Valley as far north as the pueblos around Sante Fé New Mexico, less than a hundred miles from the San Luis Valley, I can find no direct evidence that Sister Agreda ever bi-located here. But I would not be surprised if she did. I feel her compelling story may provide all of us with important clues pertaining to the understanding of unusual religious/belief-based phenomena. Many thanks to Javier Sierra and Ana Cerro magazine for graciously granting permission to utilize Sierra's well-researched Agreda material, and for use of his rare 1991 photograph of Sister Agreda for this book.


I can dig back into some of my research from back then...to be intellectually honest - there were several cases where certain elements could be construed to constitute "preservation". In one case upon exhuming one Saint's remains after many, many years, some discoloration was noticed on her face so to protect it they covered the area with wax. In other cases the body was washed and re-dressed - a skeptic could argue the body was tampered with. But in a good number of cases, the body was simply exhumed after many, many years and found to be in perfect condition - there were examinations done in many cases by medical professionals, sometimes cursory as described above, to respect the body itself - but I recall a good deal of very, very convincing evidence. I believe St. Zita was one of the most impressive ones...there are photos of the perfectly preserved body online. I'll try to dig more up.

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Postby I.P.Freely » Sat Sep 08, 2007 5:30 pm

And this is not exclusive only to western saints either.

"On March 7, 1952, Paramahansa Yogananda entered mahasamadhi, a God-illumined master's conscious exit from the body at the time of physical death. His passing was marked by an extraordinary phenomenon. A notarized statement signed by the Director of Forest Lawn Memorial-Park testified: "No physical disintegration was visible in his body even twenty days after death....This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one....Yogananda's body was apparently in a phenomenal state of immutability."
"You can either trust people or not. I choose to trust what people say and sometimes I get lied to. If I were to trust no one I would never hear the truth." - James (IPF) Martell
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Postby caryn » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:35 am

I certainly find the phenomenon of interest…it’s not something I’ve previously looked into, I freely admit.

I’m not sure of the significance of flesh preservation once the spirit’ has moved on – I’ve always viewed the body as a nice but disposable commodity. I’ll obviously need to think on this.

I did spend some considerable time researching the Egyptian mummification process, and spiritual motives behind the procedure, but that’s a different story.

Anyway, interesting - thank you....
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Postby I.P.Freely » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:44 am

heh just wait till she hears about the holy men and women who can live for years with little food or water.
"You can either trust people or not. I choose to trust what people say and sometimes I get lied to. If I were to trust no one I would never hear the truth." - James (IPF) Martell
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Postby caryn » Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:43 pm

I.P

I had the pleasure of meeting one, some years ago.
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Postby I.P.Freely » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:42 pm

caryn wrote:I.P

I had the pleasure of meeting one, some years ago.


Thats cool I find it all fantastic and doubt we will ever fully understand this stuff.
"You can either trust people or not. I choose to trust what people say and sometimes I get lied to. If I were to trust no one I would never hear the truth." - James (IPF) Martell
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Postby ryguy » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:28 am

caryn wrote:I’m not sure of the significance of flesh preservation once the spirit’ has moved on – I’ve always viewed the body as a nice but disposable commodity. I’ll obviously need to think on this.


Caryn - I couldn't agree more.

First - I've certainly come to accept that the phenomenon exists, that it appears beyond human "doing" through mummification or even environmental reasons (although there are some cases in which that could be argued I think). But there are far too many cases, especially where there has been a good degree of scientific analysis, where it appears very, very real and unexplainable.

Second - it goes 100% against my personal belief that the body is but a shell for what I call a soul, energy, or whatever you'd like to call it. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...and all that. A "sign" offered to us in the form of a perfectly preserved body of individuals who lived their entire lives in absolute service and devotion to Jesus and God - I honestly don't know what to make of it.

Third - it made me realize, back in college, that this universe is an amazingly, wonderfully, and beautifully complicated one.

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