Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Incorruptibles


When I die I want my organs donated and my body cremated. Some people prefer to be painted up, dressed in a nice suit and buried in a fancy box. That's fine too. But how would you like to be buried for a dozen or so years, dug up, and put in a glittery glass case. If that sounds appealing to you than perhaps you should be an Incorruptible.

The Incorruptibles are a group of around 100 Catholic saints who it is said that supernatural intervention allowed their bodies not to undergo the normal process of decomposition after death. In other words, they were buried, dug up, and their faces hadn't rotted off. Is it just me or is this incredibly creepy. I bought a book called "The Incorruptibles" for a quarter on Monday and I must say, this is some freaky stuff. The earliest known Incorruptible was Saint Cecilia who died in 177, the newest member to the club was Maria Assunta Pallotta who passed in 1905.

I guess I just don't have a good grasp on why these folks bodies are being dug up and and put on display. I can't imagine going to church and staring at an old dead body under the alter for the duration of the service. "Ok, so they didn't rot, that's wonderful, can we put them back in the ground now."

That being said, if I had to pick a favorite I think it would have to be St. Catherine of Bologna who died in 1463. That poor lady has been seated in an upright position for more than 500 years. Then again, I am rather fond of St. Catherine of Sienna too. Of course she is just a head in a fancy box. I read that her head was smuggled over some border somewhere in a paper bag. I guess they couldn't fit the entire body in just one bag. If you have to choose just one body part to smuggle in a paper bag than the head would definitely be the way to go. St. Nicetas the Goth had an incorruptible hand. I'm not sure what happened to his other hand, I guess it was corruptible. If your interest had been peaked and your hoping to wonder on down to your local Catholic church to get a good look at an Incorruptible your probably out of luck. Most of them are in Italy. However, after I die, if they put me in a box in a hole in the ground, come back in a few years and dig me back up. Who knows, you may get lucky.




9 comments:

elektra said...

holy crap! my mah and pop went to rome and saw some incorruptibles and i thought it was extremely odd..
i dont get it.. is it really something that god allowed? is it really because they were holy?
it's almost like the golden calf idol being dug up and put on display or somethign...

i wonder how many normal people have been dug up and have been incorruptible

elektra said...

me and my brother were so intrigued that we just looked up all the incorruptible names and pictures on google

Joy said...

I kinda wonder why they dug them up n the first place? and have they allowed scientist to run tests on them to verify that they are in fact human corpses?

Helen Ann said...

Again...

Creep-o-rama!

Fran said...

Dan -- I started to leave a comment but it got really long so I just made my own blog post and linked you. Btw, I'm a public follower of your blog but my picture is not showing up on your followers thing-y. You better not be blocking me!

Steve said...

creepy x 1,000

sledgeforchrist said...

Sort of reminds me of my beliefs in my former life.....

Michelle said...

There is never a dull moment reading your blog. LOL

MaLady said...

This reminds me of Moses' face coming down from the mountain with God, reminds me of two modern stories I've heard about people in Nazi concentration camps - Fr. Maximillian Kolby who died while taking the place of another punishment victim - they didn't die of hunger like they were supposed to but had to be injected - when they went back to remove his body it was glowing and not starvation thin anymore. The same thing happened to Corrie Ten Boom's sister - she wrote in her book that she saw her sister's body after she died in the camp infirmary and it was whole and healthy again. This stuff is the source of the belief in the Orthodox church (tradition) that puts halos on their icons - glowing is considered a "supernatural proof" of holiness, as the stigmata is in Roman Catholicism.

I guess I connect the glowing and the incorruptibles because of Fr. Kolby and Corrie Ten Boom's story.

yah, Elektra, they have dug up (to move) old unmarked graves of normal nuns/monks and found them uncorrupted.