View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


At my Secular Franciscan meeting, the topic of the "incorruptibles" - the holy people who have died but whose bodies show no signs of decay even centuries later - came up.

One person said he'd heard that the incorruptibles are all people like St. Bernadette (above) or Padre Pio who died never having lost their purity. St. Francis, who led a less than pure life when he was young, is not an incorruptible.

My fellow Franciscan did not know if this story that only those who are pure can be incorruptibles is true - nor do I. But what is incontrovertible is that there are indeed incorruptibles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or, perhaps even in death, God's people are given different gifts.

12:13 AM  
Blogger GrandmaK said...

I had never asked why. Incorruptible seemed to say it in a word. I am simply awed by it. Thanks for this post. It does raise an interesting question. Cathy

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Fr. JMM said...

I also used to wonder whether incorruptibility was a sign from God that a given Saint had remained pure from youth. This thought disappeared when I walked into the massive, mountain-top Shrine of St. Margaret of Cortona. St. Margaret is known as the "Magdalen" of 13th Century Italy. She lived in sin with a man for 9 years as a young woman, and had a child with him out of wedlock. After the untimely death of her paramour, she underwent a very profound conversion, entered the Franciscan Third Order under the direction of the Friars Minor in Cortona, and dedicated the rest of her life to works of penance... And her body is completely incorrupt. After that discovery, I concluded that incorruptibility (at least in her case) was not a sign of perpetual purity, but of the Saint's share in the final Resurrection. St. Margaret had offended our Lord with her body, yet that same body, purified through contrition and penance, is offered eternal life in the Kingdom of God. How wondrous is God's Infinite Mercy!

7:55 PM  

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