Δευτέρα, 12 Οκτωβρίου 2009

THE STIGMATICS

Some information gathred by Antonios Markou

At first we must mention that the phenomenon of stigmata there is only to the Roman-Catholic “Church” and not to the Orthodox Church or any other Christian “Church”.
To decide merely the facts without deciding whether or not they may be explained by supernatural causes, history tells us that many ecstatics bear on hands, feet, side, or brow the marks of the Passion of Christ with corresponding and intense sufferings. These are called visible stigmata. Others only have the sufferings, without any outward marks, and these phenomena are called invisible stigmata.
Catherine of Siena at first had visible stigmata, but “through humility she asked that they might be made invisible, and her prayer was heard”. This was also the case with Catherine de' Ricci, a Florentine Dominican of the 16th c., and with several other stigmatics. The sufferings may be considered the essential part of visible stigmata; the substance of this grace consists of pity for Christ, participation in His sufferings, sorrows, and for the same end - the expiation of the sins unceasingly committed in the world. If the sufferings were absent, the wounds would be but an empty symbol, theatrical representation, conducing to pride. If the stigmata really come from God, it would be unworthy of His wisdom to participate in such futility, and to do so by a miracle.
With many stigmatics these apparitions were periodical, e.g., Catherine de' Ricci, whose ecstasies of the Passion began when she was 20 (1542), and the Bull of her canonization states that for 12 years they recurred with minute regularity. The ecstasy lasted exactly 28 hours, from Thursday noon till Friday afternoon at four o'clock, the only interruption being for her to receive communion. Catherine conversed aloud, as if enacting a drama. This drama was divided into about seventeen scenes. On coming out of the ecstasy her limbs were covered with wounds produced by whips, cords etc.
None stigmatic is known prior to the 13th c. The first mentioned is Francis of Assisi, in whom the stigmata were of a character never seen subsequently; in the wounds of feet and hands were excrescences of flesh representing nails, those on one side having round back heads, those on the other having rather long points, which bent back and grasped the skin. His humility could not prevent a great many of his brethren beholding with their own eyes the existence of these wonderful wounds during his lifetime as well as after his death. The fact is attested by a number of contemporary historians, and the feast of the “Stigmata of Francis” is kept on 17 September.
There are 62 Romancatholic “Saints” or “Blessed” of both sexes of whom the best known were:
Francis of Assisi (1186-1226)
Lutgarde (1182-1246)
Margaret of Cortona (1247-97)
Gertrude (1256-1302)
Clare of Montefalco (1268-1308)
Angela of Foligno (d. 1309)
Catherine of Siena (1347-80)
Lidwine (1380-1433)
Frances of Rome (1384-1440)
Colette (1380-1447)
Rita of Cassia (1386-1456)
Osanna of Mantua (1499-1505)
Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)
Baptista Varani (1458-1524)
Lucy of Narni (1476-1547)
Catherine of Racconigi (1486-1547)
John of God (1495-1550)
Catherine de' Ricci (1522-89)
Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi (1566-1607)
Marie de l'Incarnation (1566-1618)
Mary Anne of Jesus (1557-1620)
Carlo of Sezze (d. 1670)
Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-90)
Veronica Giuliani (1600-1727)
Mary Frances of the Five Wounds (1715-91)
Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) (1887-1968)
There were 20 stigmatics in the 19th c.. The most famous were:
Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824)
Elizabeth Canori Mora (1774-1825)
Anna Maria Taïgi (1769-1837)
Maria Dominica Lazzari (1815-48)
Marie de Moerl (1812-68) and Louise Lateau (1850-83)
Of these:
a. Marie de Moerl spent her life at Kaltern, Tyrol (1812-68). At the age of 20 she became an ecstatic, and ecstasy was her habitual condition for the remaining 35 years of her life. She emerged from it only at the command, sometimes only mental, of the Franciscan who was her director, and to attend to the affairs of her house, which sheltered a large family. Her ordinary attitude was kneeling on her bed with hands crossed on her breast, and an expression of countenance which deeply impressed spectators. At 22 she received the stigmata. On Thursday evening and Friday these stigmata shed very clear blood, drop by drop, becoming dry on the other days. Thousands of persons saw Marie de Moerl, among them Görres (who describes his visit in his "Mystik" II, xx), Wiseman, and Lord Shrewsbury, who wrote a defence of the ecstatic in his letters published by "The Morning Herald" and "The Tablet" (cf. Boré, op. cit. infra).
b. Louise Lateau spent her life in the village of Bois d'Haine, Belgium (1850-83). The “graces” she received were disputed even by some Romancatholics, who as a general thing relied on incomplete or erroneous information, as has been established by Canon Thiery ("Examen de ce qui concerne Bois d'Haine", Louvain, 1907). At 16 she devoted herself to nursing the cholera victims of her parish, who were abandoned by most of the inhabitants. Within a month she nursed ten, buried them, and in more than one instance bore them to the cemetery. At 18 she became an ecstatic and stigmatic, which did not prevent her supporting her family by working as a seamstress. Numerous physicians witnessed her painful Friday ecstasies and established the fact that for 12 years she took no nourishment save weekly communion. For drink she was satisfied with three or four glasses of water a week. She never slept, but passed her nights in contemplation and prayer, kneeling at the foot of her bed.

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