After her burial, the body of a Benedictine Nun remained uncorrupted.
After the remains of Sister Wilhelmina were exhumed in Rome last week, leaders within the Catholic Church contacted Rome to commission an investigation.
Lancaster’s body appears to be in good condition despite being buried in 2019. This is considered by Catholics as a sign that he may have been made a saint.
The casket she was buried in was simple wood, without any exterior layers.
David Hess, associate professor at the mortuary sciences department of Salt Lake Community College told Catholic News Agency the pristine state in which the nun died is difficult to explain.
He told CNA that he was “a little surprised” if the body had not been embalmed and was still intact after four years. “I would have thought the body was decomposed. Maybe not down to the bone, but severely decomposed.”
Bishop Vann Johnston, of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph released a press release on the investigation of Lancaster’s health.
As the Catholic Church began to investigate the situation, the bishop called for prayer and sobriety.
The prelate said that the condition of the skeletal remains of Sister Wilhelmina has generated widespread interest and important questions. It is also important to preserve the integrity of Sister Wilhelmina’s mortal remains to allow a thorough investigation.
He added, “I invite the faithful to pray during this period of investigation to God’s Will in the lives and vocations of the Benedictines, Mary Queen of Apostles, all women religious, and all baptized, in our common calling to holiness with faith and hope in the Lord.”
The body of the deceased nun has been displayed in an open-air area for Catholic pilgrims to visit and venerate.
Lancaster founded the Benedictine Sisters of Mary Queen of the Apostles.
Her order will hold a procession in her honor, and the body will be enclosed in a case of glass to accommodate pilgrims on their way to Gower Monastery in Missouri.