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Ask the Register: stigmata?

Q. Does anyone in the world today have the stigmata?

A. That’s a great question. I had to do some research on this one.

The stigmata is the belief that certain human beings are supernaturally given the marks of Jesus’ crucifixion in their bodies, i.e., the nail marks in their feet and hands and the cut in the side that marked the wounds of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The answer to the question seems to be no; there is no verification that any human person has the stigmata today.

St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians 6:17 seems to indicate that he had the stigmata, “From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.”

As far as I can determine, 11 people in Christian history had the stigmata. Another nine claimed to have received the stigmata but it could not be verified. Thus, it is a very minute number of people in history who have received the stigmata. An interesting footnote is that 80% of those who have received the stigmata were women.

The first recorded person to receive the stigmata was St. Francis of Assisi in 1224. The last person was St. Padre Pio who died in 1968. Interestingly, videos exist on YouTube of Padre Pio celebrating Mass and showing evidence of his stigmata.

A number of other people have claimed to have had the stigmata, but were proven to have been frauds and made their claims through trickery.

I learned a great deal from this question. Thank you for asking it.

Related news: Michigan man's cause for canonization under study. A photo of his hands appears below.

This question was answered by a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln. Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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