1 Stigmatic Priest Claims to have Divine Powers of Levitation, Prophecy, and Bilocation
His stigmata initially appearing at a friendly get together, 31-year-old Croatian priest Zlatco Sudac's wounds have been declared by the Vatican to be "not of human origin." The first wound, an indentation approximately an inch long, appeared on his forehead in 1999. A year later, markings appeared on his hands, feet, and side. He describes the stigmata as filling him with "a tremendous fear of the Lord." Sudac says that the wounds cause him no pain except when he is praying, at which time he feels them pulsing.
Along with the stigmatization, Sudac claims to have received the divine gifts of levitation, prophecy, and bilocation-–the ability to be in two places at one time.
2Young Man Receives the Stigmata While Walking Home from the Grocery Store
In 1996, Emiliano Aden received the stigmata at the age of 19 while walking home with his girlfriend from his supermarket job in Argentina. He felt as though his forehead was being pierced, but there was nothing visible there.
After emergency room hospitalization, Aden was told that he had a migraine and was sent home. Once there, he started bleeding from his forehead and collapsed. All efforts to stop the bleeding failed and his mother, at a loss for what to do next, notified the local clergy. They jumped to the conclusion that he caused the wounds himself and regarded his case as blasphemy.
Although Aden's wounds are not recognized by the church as being of divine origin, he is convinced that they are. Aden continues to bleed from his wrists, forehead, and an undisclosed deep wound, spending his days in a combination of prayer, pain, and ecstasy.
3Doctors Find No Medical Reason for a Paralyzed Woman's Stigmata
When witnesses at the Cheshire Home in England confirmed that they had seen fresh blood on Ethel Chapman's hands on Good Friday, they concluded that she was unable to inflict the wounds herself. Afflicted by multiple sclerosis, Chapman was paralyzed from the waist down. She was unable to hold things in her hands, nor was she found to have suffered from any kind of depression, neurosis, or psychosis.
Ethel explained her mystical visions in an interview with the BBC in 1973. ‘‘I remember saying quite plainly ‘Oh Lord, please show me in some way you're there.' I felt myself being drawn on to the Cross. I felt the pain of the nails through my hands and through my feet… I felt myself all the agony and all the pain that the Lord Himself went through.''
Chapman also claimed that she had levitated and smelled sweet perfumes. She regarded her experiences as a form of divine love due to her illness. As word spread about her stigmata, Chapman spent the rest of her life devoting prayers to those who asked her for help or healing.
4Illiterate Woman Bleeds Christian Writings and Symbols in Different Languages
Natuzza Evolo never learned to read or write. Instead, she was left to care for her younger siblings after her father deserted the family, making it impossible for her to go to school. It is odd then that Natuzza's stigmata would take the form of hemography–the process by which blood from the stigmata is miraculously formed into Christian writing, images or symbols on bandages and other types of cloth–and that many of the words were in Hebrew or Aramaic.
For decades, devote Catholics from all over Italy would seek out Natuzza for advice and prayers, and many spoke of being miraculously healed by her or receiving other graces. When she died in 2009, thousands came to pay their respects. The cause for her beatification is expected to start very soon.
5Stigmatic Woman Took No Food or Water for Almost 40 Years
Once a strong, healthy woman, Therese Neumann was partially paralyzed and left in great pain after a fall from a stool while attending a fire in her uncle's barn. From then on, Therese forced herself to be active as much as her limitations would permit her, but her efforts resulted in more accidents and injuries, and by 1919 Therese was not only bedridden but totally blind.
Unable to move and ridden with bedsores that exposed bone, Therese turned to God. On the day of the beatification ceremonies for the Carmelite nun Therese of Lisieux, Therese Nuemann found that her sight was completely restored. Two years later, as Therese of Lisieux was canonized, she was visited by an apparition of the saint that told her she would walk again.
In 1926, she first received the stigmata, but refused to tell anyone out of fear. Over the next several days the wounds worsened, and while the accompanying visions of the last days of Christ left Therese in a state of divine ecstasy, she was also at death's door. After last rites were given, she miraculously returned to a normal state and from then on, the stigmata would appear on Therese every week for two days. She was told in a vision to abstain from food and drink, and from 1926 to her death in 1962, Therese took no nourishment with the exception of the Holy Eucharist. The process for the beatification and canonization for Therese Neumann was officially opened in 2005.
6Stigmatic Priest Loses One Cup of Blood Daily
Perhaps the most well known of stigmatics, Padre Pio had visions from the age of five and from an early age dedicated his life to the Lord. He became a Franciscan in 1903, and a few years later he became a fully ordained priest.
In 1918, Padre Pio had a vision in which he saw himself pierced with a lance. The lance wound remained with him, and a month later he was also bleeding from the palms of his hands and feet. Pio was stigmatic for approximately 50 years. He lost about a cup of blood daily, but the wounds never closed or became infected; instead of the smell of blood, the wounds always emitted a sweet odor.
Over the years, it has been rumored that Padre Pio caused the wounds himself with carbolic acid, as evidenced by his request for the liquid in a document found in the Vatican's archive. This document has since been dismissed by the Catholic church during Padre Pio's beatification process, and in 2002 Padre Pio was declared a saint by Pope John Paul II.
7Weathly Young Man Turns to God and Becomes the First Stigmatic in Recorded History
St. Frances of Assisi is the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. A wealthy and wild young man who was not necessarily pious, Francis devoted his life to God after a couple of brushes with death. In 1224, Francis went to a mountain retreat to celebrate the Assumption and fast for 40 days. It was there that he had his first vision. Shortly after that, the stigmata appeared.
Francis took great pains to hide the wounds. Suffering greatly, he sought out care for them in several cities but nothing could be done. Within two years of first receiving them he died. He spent the last days of his life dictating his spiritual testament and in 1228, Francis was put on the fast track to sainthood by Pope Gregory IX.
8Stigmatic Suffers All The Wounds of Christ at Once, Including a Crown of Thorns
Marie Rose Ferron is one of 30 stigmatics in existence that bore all the wounds of Christ at once. Deeply pious, her earliest visions were recorded at the age of six in which she was witness to Christ's Crucifixion. “He was looking at me with sadness in His eyes,” she once said.
When she was in her teens, Rose was stricken with a mysterious paralysis that worsened over time until she was completely bedridden. She also suffered severe digestive problems which made it difficult to digest solid foods. In 1927, whip-like wounds appeared on her arms on a weekly basis.
Soon, Rose also suffered the "Five Holy Wounds" to her hands, feet, and side. She also had the outline of a crown of thorns upon her head. The stigmata never went away and Rose was in perpetual agony. It is said that due to her digestive problems, she only took liquids and sustained herself on the Holy Eucharist in the last years of her life.
Family friend Diane Marshall said, "“Seven years before Rose died, she cried out to Jesus and asked when He was going to take her home, and He said ‘in seven years.' It was exactly seven years later when she died at age 33–the same age when Jesus died on the cross.”
9Statues Weep in the Presence of a Stigmatic Priest
In 1991, Virginia pastor Father James Bruse was questioning his faith. That year, a statue of Our Lady of Grace wept in his presence at the home of his parents. Soon, other statues wept when Bruse was in attendance, and many thousands saw it.
The day after Christmas that year, Bruse began to complain of sharp pains and wounds began to appear on his wrists, feet, and right side. Meanwhile, statues not only wept but changed color. There was talk of a young girl's eyesight being restored after Bruse blessed her. People for whom he prayed reported medical miracles.
Bruce's stigmata disappeared as mysteriously as it came. His wounds healed completely by 1994 and he hasn't seen a weeping statue since 1992. Today, he says that his parishioners come "not to see a miracle but to be blessed. They're not coming for a show."
10California Housewife and Stigmatic Labeled as a "Servant of God" by The Vatican 56 Years After Her Death
California housewife Cora Evans first received the stigmata in 1947. She said of the event: "...I suddenly felt the infinite devotion of God for His creatures with my soul and suddenly I felt the pain and saw the terrible wound in the hand of Jesus. The wound in my right hand is beginning to appear."
Claiming divine visions since the age of three, Cora wrote about her visitations with Jesus–who she dubbed "The Master"–which occurred when she fell into a trance-like state. During one such episode, she reported that Jesus gave her the option to "come 'home' with Him for all eternity, or accept additional suffering for the good of the world." Cora chose the latter. Soon, the stigmata was in both palms and a crown of thorns appeared on her head. It was reported that the wounds gave off the sweet smell of roses.
56 years after her death, the church has taken Cora Evans' claims seriously enough to put her on the road to sainthood. The church has declared Cora Evans a "Servant of God"–the first step of four to becoming California's first Catholic saint.