Those Incorruptible Saints

Those Incorruptible Saints

Okay, so I was going to write about whether or not there are Pelagian (or even semi-pelagian) influences in Catholic soteriology … but Dave Armstrong beat me to it. 🙂

Instead, This news story about Padre Pio made me think about all of our great Catholic saints whose bodies are incorrupt.  The news story describes how Saint Padre Pio’s body has been exhumed and will be put on display for the faithful to see.  Despite the fact that St. Padre Pio died 40 years ago, his body (particularly his hands) are said to still be in pretty good condition.


Although St. Padre Pio deserves a special post just to himself, I will resist the temptation and concentrate instead on this well-documented phenomenon.  (Check out this site about St. Padre Pio; scroll a little bit and click the links for great info.)

A body is said to be incorrupt if it hasn’t undergone decay (even for hundreds of years) without any natural explanation; therefore, it is the supernatural power of God that is miraculously preserving the bodies of these holy people.

 There is a very good book on the subject, called The Incorruptibles, by Joan Carrol Cruz and published by TAN Books.  The book is available to borrow from the Queen of All Saints library at the Family Life Center (another topic that deserves a post).  Wikipedia has an article about the book, listing the Saints and Blesseds whose bodies are incorrupt and linking to Wiki articles about those saints.   (Google Books has another Joan Carroll Cruz book, Relics, available to read on-line; it’s very interesting and somewhat covers the same topic.)

There is a good site with a Top 10 List of Incorruptible Saints.

Let me just point out a couple of them.  For example, there is St. Bernadette Soubiroux.  St. Bernadette was the young girl at Lourdes to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared.  She died in 1879; I don’t believe there were any embalming agents used on the body.  Her body has since been exhumed 3 times, and there are no signs of corruption of the body.  In fact, her body is still as supple as when she died.

 You want older than that?  Check out St. Silvan, who was martyred more than 1,600 years ago.  Pretty remarkable.

There are even YouTube videos devoted to incorruptibility of the saints.

Many people have speculated on the meaning of these incorrupt bodies.  Do you have any thoughts?  Let us know in the combox.

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19 Responses to Those Incorruptible Saints

  1. Luke says:

    These great signs are primarily for unbelievers. The fact that some who led pious lives have not had their bodies see corruption is just another of god’s miracles, and just one example of certain mysteries which defy human interpretation. Though not a catholic, I believe that god hears all prayer (regardless of denomination) and will reward each person who accepts jesus and follows his example.

  2. Nicholas Jagneaux says:


    I agree that these signs are for unbelievers. However, I also think that they are little “boosts” of confidence for believers.

    Sometimes, the world seems to press in on our faith from all sides, and we need small consolations to help us continue to fight the good fight.

    While the Incorruptibles have not caused my faith, they surely have strengthened it.

    Thanks for stopping by, and don’t be a stranger.

  3. Dulce says:

    wow they’re so beautiful inside and out.

  4. Oswald Binsasi says:

    Glory to the Father
    to the Son and
    to the Holy Spirit

  5. ethelbayona says:

    thank you for all the graces, and im asking for ur
    prayer and guide us always…pls.pray
    for us to grant all our petition in jesus name amen…

  6. Mary says:

    I’ve revered Padre Pio for years, been astounded by his story and anxiously wait for his sainthood, thank you. While others scoff, we’re blessed by visual and physical manifestations of true holiness, preserved by God’s hand.

    • Nicholas Jagneaux says:


      You’re so right. It takes eyes of faith to see the reality behind the signs that God grants us.

      Happy Easter, and may God bless you and your family.

  7. Lucy says:

    Khambo Lama , Yogananda and others were incorruptible but not Catholic or even Christian for that matter. Islamic traditions (adiths) repeatedly refer to the fragrance of Muhammad’s corpse and its
    incorruptibility, mostly when discussing the preparations for his burial.
    Incorruptibility, is not a Christian phenomena, but a spiritual one.

    • Nicholas Jagneaux says:


      I don’t know either Khambo Lama or Yogananda, but I will be sure to research them.

      However, it is in the Christian tradition where incorruptibility is most widespread and known. That is not to say that God will not grant extraordinary graces where He wills. God does work in mysterious ways; and our hearts are known to Him alone.

      Thank you for stopping here. And may we both – out of love for Him – become better imitators of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

      • Nicholas Jagneaux says:


        I just did a (very) quick search of both Khambo Lama and Yogananda. Very interesting stories.

        However, the Wikipedia article on Yogananda is very clear — his body was embalmed.

        The case of Catholic saints who have remained incorruptible does not include embalming.

        May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you.

  8. jijo says:

    i love you jesus

  9. robert says:

    love you Jesus
    because you our savior

  10. therese doucet says:

    Hi Nick,
    Just asking for permission to pull info and resources from this site to use in my religion classes.

  11. peacecrusader says:


    Here are two websites that show incorruptible corpses:

    I am just wondering if the saints became saints after their corpses were found to be incorruptible. I would appreciate it if you would express your comments regarding this matter.

    Thanks and regards.

    With love, your brother in Jesus,
    Aristeo Canlas Fernando, Peace Crusader and Echo of the Holy Spirit
    Motto: pro aris et focis (for the sake of, or defense of, religion and home)
    “The Internet is mightier than the sword.”

  12. Sonny Crockett says:

    You have to be careful when talking about incorruptibility. St, Bernadette’s hands and face are covered in wax. It deosn’t take away from Her greatness, but you can find out the truth if you look hard enough. .St. Sylvan may not even be a real corpse, but a statue. The church woint let anyone close enough to test it.
    Sonny Crockett

  13. peacecrusader says:


    Dear Sonny and my Fellowmen,

    Thanks for your advice, Sonny.

    We WILL see an incorruptible corpse soon and WILL become alive again to be seen live all over the world. This is a prophecy. God WILL make it so for people to believe that this physical body is just the temporary dwelling place of our soul, and that the soul is a living soul that will live forever—either in heaven or in Hell.

    With love, your brother in Jesus,
    Aristeo Canlas Fernando, Peace Crusader and Echo of the Holy Spirit
    Motto: pro aris et focis (for the sake of, or defense of, religion and home) and
    “The Internet is mightier than the sword.”

  14. richard says:

    protestant here you have the proof that catholic faith is true faith and true church of jesus christ. protestant only in catholic faith you have incorupt bodies of saints and stigmatas. no other religion has the saints with stigmata if this is not enough of proof so your are fools.thank you dear lord jesus for the catholic jesus. richard

    • Nicholas Jagneaux says:


      Thanks for leaving a comment.

      I agree that the incorrupt saints and the miracles that have existed and continue to exist are a sign that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ. At the very least, Protestants must admit that the Catholic Church cannot be a false church.

      However, I would caution you in your use of the word “fools” to describe our Protestant brothers. I know many sincere Protestants who genuinely love Christ, and if they could be shown the Truth of the Catholic Church, I believe that they would accept it and join the Church. On the internet, in particular, it is easy to take offense at words; so we should always begin with gentleness in charity.

  15. William Rohner says:

    1st Corinthians 15:51-53, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on in-corruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

    1st Corinthians 15:20-24, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the FIRSTFRUITS OF THEM THAT SLEPT. For since by man (Adam) came death, by Man (Jesus) came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He (Jesus) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all (mankinds) rule and all authority and power.”

    Glory, Honor and Praise, to God, who with unfathomable Love bestowed Mercy, that which we who were lost and enemies of God did not deserve. And instead bestowed Grace, that which none of us deserve, by sending Jesus His Son, God Himself, in the flesh, Emmanuel, God with us, to redeem, that is, purchasing us by paying a great and awesome price for us, with His life. Joined now with Him, all who will believe in Him, and who by the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God himself, who now lives in us, resident in our hearts and our minds, makeing us truly and fully alive, a new creation, in Christ and one people, from all walks of life, from all peoples, all nations, all tongues, by the Holy Spirit who unites all who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, calling upon His Holy Name. Glory, Praise, Honor, to God our. Father, to His Son Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit. Three and one.

    For by faith are you/we saved by Grace, and that not because anything you/we have done, it is a gift from God, so that not one person may boast in themselves/ourselves. Ephesians 2:8-9.

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