The Incorruptible Saints

The Incorruptibles

The Incorruptibles are saints whose bodies are miraculously preserved after death, defying the normal process of decomposition. St. Cecilia is probably the first saint known to be incorrupt, but the bodies of these saints can be found in many places throughout the world.

They are not like mummies, for their skin is soft and their limbs pliable, nothing at all like the dry, skeletal remains of mummies. Under usual circumstances, nothing at all has been done to preserve the bodies of these saints. In fact, some of them have been covered in quicklime, which should have easily destroyed any human remains, yet it has no effect of these saints. Many of them also give off a sweet, unearthly odor, and others produce blood or oils that defy any scientific explanation.

Modern science relegates the incorruptibles to the status of mummies, pretending it understands and can comfortably categorize these saints. How then do the scientists explain the fact that a year and a half after the death of St. Francis Xavier, a medical examiner placed a finger into one of the saint’s wounds and found fresh blood on his finger when he withdrew it? Or that when a finger was amputated from St. John of the Cross several months after his death, it was immediately observed that blood began to flow from the wound? Or the case of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, whose arms have frequently bled over the last 400 years?

The Incorruptible Saints

No, these saints are in a class by themselves. Even though incorruptibility does not automatically confer sainthood upon the subject, it is still properly appreciated by the Church as a supernatural occurrence. The truth is that these occurrences cannot be understood outside of Divine intervention on behalf of these saints, as the laws of nature have been suspended on behalf of the incorruptible saints. Perhaps it is that God is visibly showing us his pleasure with these saints? Still, it is a physical manifestation of God’s love, and the incorruptible saints console us by their presence, seeming to plead with us to likewise make ourselves pleasing to God in all ways.

A List of Incorruptible Saints

Saint Agatha

Saint Agnes of Montepulciano

Blessed Andrew Franchi

Blessed Angela of Foligno

Saint Angela Merici

Blessed Angelo of Acri

Blessed Angelo of Chivasso

Blessed Anthony Bonfadini

Blessed Anthony of Stroncone

Blessed Antonia of Florence

Saint Benedict the Moor

Saint Bernadette Soubirous

Saint Bernardine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Bologna

Saint Catherine of Genoa

Saint Cecilia

Saint Charles Borromeo

Saint Charles of Sezze

Saint Clare of Assisi

Saint Clare of Montefalco

Saint Crispin of Viterbo

Saint Didacus of Alcala

Saint Eustochium

Saint Fernando III

Saint Frances of Rome

Saint Francis de Sales

Blessed Francis of Fabriano

Venerable Francis Gonzaga

Blessed Gabriel Ferretti

Blessed Gandolph of Binasco

Blessed Helen Enselmini

Saint Ignatius of Laconi

Saint Ignatius of Santhia

Blessed Imelda Lambertini

Blessed James of Bitecto

Saint James of the March

Blessed James Oldo

Blessed James of Pieve

Blessed James of Strepar

Saint Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney (The Curé of Ars)

Blessed Jane Mary of Maille

Blessed Jane of Signa

Saint Jane of Valois

Saint John Bosco

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Saint Louis Bertrand

Blessed Lucy of Narni

Blessed Margaret of Castello

Saint Margaret of Cortona

Blessed Margaret of Lorraine

Blessed Mark Marconi

Venerable Mary of Agreda

Blessed Mary Assunta Pollotta

Saint Mary Joseph Rossello

Blessed Mary Magdalene Martinengo

Blessed Matthia Nazzarei

Blessed Nicholas Factor

Saint Pacifico of San Severino

Saint Paschal Baylon

Blessed Philippa Mareri

Saint Pope Pius X

Saint Rose of Viterbo

Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio

Saint Seraphin of Montegranaro

Blessed Salome of Cracow

Saint Sperandia

Saint Veronica Giuliani

Saint Vincent Pallotti

Sister Wilhelmina

Saint Zita

Saint Albert the Great
Saint Alphege of Canterbury
Blessed Alphonsus of Orozco
Saint Andrew Bobola
Blessed Angelo of Borgo San Sepolcro
Blessed Anna Maria Taigi
Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria
Saint Antoninus
Blessed Arcangela Girlani
Saint Benezet
Blessed Bernard Scammacca
Blessed Bertrand of Garrigua
Saint Camillus de Lellis
Venerable Catalina de Cristo
Saint Catherine Labouré
Blessed Charbel Makhlouf
Saint Catherine dei Ricci
Saint Catherine of Siena
Saint Coloman
Saint Cuthbert
Saint Dominic Savio
Saint Edmund Rich of Canterbury
Saint Edward the Confessor
Saint Etheldreda
Blessed Eustochia Calafato
Saint Ezequiel Moreno y Diaz
Saint Francis of Paola
Saint Francis Xavier
Saint George Preca
Saint Germaine Cousin
Saint Guthlac
Annibale Maria di Francia (Founder of the Rogationist and Daughters of Divine Zeal)
Saint Herculanus of Piegaro
Saint Hugh of Lincoln
Saint Idesbald
Saint Isidore the Farmer
Blessed James of Blanconibus
Venerable John of Jesus Mary
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal
Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac
Blessed John of Chiaramonte
Saint John of God
Saint John of the Cross
Saint John Southworth
Saint Josaphat
Saint Julie Billiart
Blessed Karl of Austria
Saint Louise de Marillac
Saint Luigi Orione
Saint Lucy Filippini
Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
Blessed Mafalda of Portugal
Blessed Margaret of Savoy
Saint Maria Goretti
Venerable Maria Vela
Saint Martin de Porres
Blessed Mary Bagnesi
Saint Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi
Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart
Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres
Venerable Mother Maria of Jesus
Saint Nicholas of Tolentino
Blessed Osanna of Mantua
Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
Blessed Paula Frassinetti
Saint Peregrine Laziosi
Blessed Peter Ghigenzi
Saint Philip Neri
Saint Pierre Julien Eymard
Saint Rita of Cascia
Saint Romuald
Saint Rose of Lima
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne
Blessed Sibyllina Biscossi
Saint Silvan
Saint Stanislaus Kostka
Saint Teresa of Avila
Saint Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart
Saint Ubald of Gubbio
Saint Vincent de Paul
Saint Waltheof
Saint Werburgh
Saint Withburga
Saint Wunibald

For more information about Incorrupt saints, we recommend the excellent book, The Incorruptibles, by Joan Carroll Cruz. 

Continuously popular since it first appeared in 1977, The Incorruptibles remains the acknowledged classic on the bodies of saints that did not undergo decomposition after death. Many remained fresh and flexible for years, or even centuries. After explaining both natural and artificial mummification, the author shows that the incorruption of the saints' bodies fits neither category but rather constitutes a much greater phenomenon that is unexplained by modern science to this day. The author presents 102 canonized saints, beati, and venerables, summarizing their lives, the discovery of their incorruption, and investigations by Church and medical authorities.

The incorruptible bodies of saints are a consoling sign of Christ s victory over death, a confirmation of the dogma of the Resurrection of the Body, a sign that the Saints are still with us in the Mystical Body of Christ, and proof of the truth of the Catholic Faith—for only in the Catholic Church do we find this phenomenon. Impr. 342 pgs 33 Illus.

Return to Roman Catholic Saints Homepage


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