Incorruptible Saints

Saintly Relics of Italy: The Incorruptibles

Visitors to certain Italian churches are often shocked by the display of a corpse, dressed in religious vestments and encased in a glass coffin at the high altar or in the crypt. What is most shocking is that many of these bodies are hundreds of years old and yet are still in excellent condition. These are the bodies of the mysterious incorruptibles, pious individuals whose remains do not decompose after death. The phenomenon of Incorruptibility is taken as a powerful sign of saintliness in the Catholic Church and most of these individuals have already been canonized. In the past when bodies have been exhumed, people were amazed to discover that the deceased looked as if not a day had past. While most relics of saints are reduced to bones or dust, the bodies of the Incorrupt are in excellent if not a perfect state of preservation.

The Catholic Church states that the body cannot be embalmed or mummified at death to be considered Incorrupt, which makes the phenomenon even more mysterious. However, the property of Incorruptibility is not permanent as some relics have now been reduced to only portions of the body or to a skeleton. The exact nature of Incorruptibility is yet unknown even with scientific examination, drawing the attention of both the skeptical and religious communities. Below is just a sample of the Incorrupt saints found in Italy, however there are many more to be found in churches and monasteries around the world.


St. Clare of Assisi


St. Claire of Assisi relics at Assisi (Basilica di Santa Chiara)

Saint Clare (Santa Chiara di Assisi) was an early follower of Saint Francis of Assisi and is best known as the founder of the Poor Clares, the female order of the Franciscans. After a life of piety and labor, including miraculously saving Assisi from attack on two occasions, Clare died in 1253. Seven years after her death, the incorrupt body of the newly canonized saint was interred in the Church of Santa Chiara in Assisi. By the 19th century when a new crypt was built for the Saint’s remains, it was discovered that Claire was no longer officially Incorrupt, yet her skeleton was in perfect condition. Today Saint Clare’s remains lie in a state of repose, covered in a wax figure dressed in the habit of her Order.


Saint Clare of Montefalco


Saint Clare of Montefalco

Both the Franciscans and the Augustinians revere Saint Clare “of the Cross”. An extremely pious person, Clare dedicated herself to the passion of Jesus and was so devout in life that followers constantly worried about her health. After her death, it was discovered that she had the mark of the Cross above her heart, which was removed and placed in a reliquary. The rest of Saint Clare of Montefalco remains Incorrupt and is on display at the Augustinian church of Santa Chiara in the Umbrian town of Montefalco.


Saint Catherine of Bologna

One of the most famous and unique of the Incorrupt Saints of Italy is Saint Catherine of Bologna, a member of the Poor Clares and Mother Superior of her convent. After her death in 1463 Catherine was buried without a casket, however she was exhumed only weeks later after a string of miracles and visions. Her Incorrupt body was venerated for over two centuries before being canonized. Instead of lying in a glass casket Saint Catherine of Bologna’s eerie remains are seated, her skin darkened by the constant lighting of candles. Besides the darkened skin, the Patron Saint of Artists is in a remarkable state of preservation.

Saint Rita of Cascia


Saint Rita da Cascia and Simon

Saint Rita, popular with Christian Pilgrims is a patron saint of lost causes (along with Saint Jude). It is said that Saint Rita bore a Stigmata wound on her forehead, miraculously caused by the Crown of Thorns during one her of deep contemplations on the Passion. After several years of being bedridden from sickness and self-inflicted penance, Saint Rita died in 1456. Immediately after death her body is said to have performed miracles and had signs of Incorruptibility. After centuries of veneration of her Incorrupt body and numerous documented miracles, Rita of Cascia was canonized in 1900. The Saint’s body is still partially incorrupt and housed in the Basilica of Saint Rita in the Umbrian town of Cascia.


Saint Sperandia

The town of Cingoli in Le Marche is home to the relatively obscure Saint Sperandia, a Benedictine nun who was known for her visions. Since her death in 1276, the Saint has been exhumed from her grave eight times, and currently rests in the Monastero di Santa Sperandia. Her still Incorrupt remains are one of several holy bodies that exude a sweet fragrance known as the "odor of sanctity".

Incorrupt Popes

Although the Vatican has no official policy on embalming, many popes have chosen to forgo the process, most recently John Paul II. In the fairly recent past there have been two popes that have not been embalmed and are showing signs of Incorruptibility. Pius IX, known as Pio Nono to Romans and one of the longest lived Popes was buried in the crypt of San Lorenzo fuori le mura. In 2000, one hundred and twenty-two years after his death, Pius IX was exhumed and found to be in excellent condition and supposedly, still smiling. Pope and Saint, Pius X explicitly forbade any preservation of his body and when he was exhumed in 1944, thirty years after his death, the future saint was in such good shape that his limbs were still flexible. Today Pope Saint Pius X rests under the Chapel of the Presentation in St. Peter’s Basilica. Another popular Pope, John XXIII is also on display in St. Peter’s but he is not Incorrupt, his excellent state of preservation is due to embalming.

For More Information:

About Incorruptibles from The Catholic Heart:

List of Incorruptibles and mummies:
Pope Pius IX:
Pope Saint Pius X:



Monday, October 31TH, 2011 by Guest

I pray too god quietly too myself and ask god whyy was I punished being borned disabled then have the most wonderful young childhood anyone could have then my mother's health (mental health) has declined as a young adult in my 20s I was raped by a male worker over a two year period I kner understood really what he really did wrong until I went to a urology department with prob the doctor looked at me and the sister then took my hands and asked had anyone had touched me meaning had I been raped I then went into absolute fear as the animal that raped me was coming in and out of the door like a evil rat.  Then my my life went from bad too worse and I set fire too a kitchen to try and kill myself but force of the flames threw me backwards I also ran away along the coast where I lived and asked god why me the once I walked along the coast with water uptoo my knees and when found I had a servere astama attack yet no one at the college caught on I nearly got my my head staff member too tell her the abuser pushed me down the stair which caused me too have a split lip and it needed stiched and never went too hospital untill 6 hrs later I then towardsthe end of being at college I had a servereest chest infection with a number of other infections and my temp was so high I should have been ded and it was xmas time and I was keep in this side in isolation as I was so infectious for 3 long weeks I also my weight balooned wheile to give me comfort from what I had too deal with my so called mum never picked up something was so badly wrong and yet still I cut my wrist in a way for help I then left college and got help from a so called whom I thought I could trust and for 12 yrs I did he then did the unforgivable by giving me a false mental health condition the more I read about the more I didn't believe him and I then went too this meeting this one sad day he then admited to me he lied to give too me because he he was pressurised into giving it to me by a spersific social work team to get me moved to another social work team in which is totally unsuitable for my needs this evil doctor so I call him he was pressurised into giving it to me when I was in hospital for life saving surgery we then went for a second opinion by a so accquinence from this evil doctor that was recomended by this evil doctor whom I was seeing I foundout he was a close friend of his and he was going to lie help this evil doctor out he was also paid by the gov as my solitor tried to help get the truth but the condition is still set in stone on my file dispite I know very different and then I have brill female professional whom said I had traits of this condition but noway enough too warrent it I have been mistreared by my own community and humilated in public by people whom I don't know but humilate me in public by implying I had this mental health condition when I havent got it I feel so alone after being raped attacked treatend I pray st maria gorretti too help has she is the patron saint for abused people yet I cannot find it in my heart like she too forgive her brother and even sader my relationship with my own family is non existent because of this false dianosis as it has distroyed my mother too pices and she really has never consoled me over being raped dispite she knows what happend I aslo have step bros and a sister with wrom I there is no bond or love there between us and my step dad is like thug towards me and when I go once a month my mother sticks up for me over various things my step dad says and does towards me and my natural dad only cares about his 2 kids he had with aboard and he said he could never me for over 20 yrs because he blamed my mum for putting a wedge between us I asked my aunt my natural dads sister whom said my father was never able too take responsability and he never has been able too tell the truth too me on curtain things str8 on hes even told me I am not in his will I feel when I was born a month prem why didn't god take me back as my mum was bullied and pressured by the doctors too switch my machine off if I was not here I would never be a bearden I would never had too expereience rape and never had too deal with such evil as I am dealing with I feel so unhappy not accepted nor loved by my family I even when to a charity memebers do to support charity with the condition I suffer from I have not been going too meeting for last 4 yrs from being ill with infections etc I went too this meeting alone to one of the cities alone yet I norm go with a support worker but they implied my carers get london wage outside london but they get the avarage wage where I live I struggled big time and too make things harder I was not invited for the meal out to a resturant like other members did and following the bank I was with because of my high pictched because of my deafness they blocked my debit card and I had only 13 pounds to my nanme to get from onee end of the city too another on a sunday.  What cant understand why is god make me suffer so much I did try and move to the isle wight once too start a new life but I was cruelly laughed at social work team down there and try to imply I didn't have the serere probs that are implyed in the reports that were sent I wanted to move down there because support workers are kinder and far more genuine than where I live the people on the island are lovely but they shut the doors on me to make matters wore in the b & b I was staying at the hotelier had a home birth and I heard every scream then sheers joy and yet I never had any joy when I heald this baby I felt so much hate and saddness why could I never be happy I also forgot when I was younger I had cruel foster parents tooo and badly bullied by their kids too I also went to a normal secondry school  where I was never accept but I was bullied kicked and called every name under the sun yet the headmistress believed I did not understand what bulling was and I was neerly kept off school for school for 2 years until school undrestood I knew what bulling was but they never really did anything but moved me to a form too the bully but still bulling carried until the very last day I just wish I could wake up and see god sooner than later as I don't know how much more hurt mental abuse I can take. The evil doctor whom addmitted he lied about giving me a false dianosis said too me he would never admit it as he would be struck off I hope he does some day and regret what hes done.  Out of interest I looked Dr evil as I call him and found he coverted from islam to being a converted catholic so I get the comfort he will go to hell unless he repent their sins he never will so he will end up in hell and not in heaven so unless he admit what hes done he will go to hell and I know I sound cruel myself he will get his punishment in time I believe.  I also tryed too buy a house though a specialised housing company for disabled people and a person whom does not know me in anyway give a awful false report which dose not describe me honestly nor fairly ether when we confronted my ex social worker last they they never knew this report exested and too make matters worse for them it was done by a person unknown to me and to o the ex social worker I hate where I live as I have no family too turn too no real m8s too confide in and saddest no partner too love as I am ugly person yet I have so much love too give people never give me the chance too see the true me only once somebody beyond my disabilities but they only wanted me for my body and not me as the person but I loved them so much yet sadly the person I was seeing their mother had died lukemia and I consoled them the saddest thing is this person was only 23 yrs old and my heart really felt his heart ache yet hardest thing for me was I really loved this person yet in heart it was lust and looks for him at the end of the day but he refected on his life and had become a red coat at some holiday park yet yet where person is due they phone too say goodbye yet it was one of the most heartbreaking things I have been though dsipite being raped when I was younger yes I am of church of england because my mum didn't want me too die if was nothing yet I learned about the catholic faith from my nan whom passed away about 2 yrs ago I miss her dearly but since her passing I pray privately too st mara goretti too give me comfort and she does but I can't find forgiveness for my abuser as she gave her abuser whom was her brother and she shouted I forgive you 3 times too her brother but I can't find that yet too the people whom have been cruel too me yet as I am so hurt scared and angry in how I have been treated in my life yet I am telling my story because I feel it was time too but I will never give my name in case I may get hurt more mentally or phsicially again and so I I won't never give my name ever because the internet can be a dangerious place at times so plz guys understand me

Wednesday, December 07TH, 2011 by Guest

i understand wat ur goin thru....u need God...u strongly need ready to pray with u for u & ur family...and im ready to share ur probs..plz do keep in touch with me on, or add me on facebook...u cn trust me blindly..u r loved...
regards, daniel.

Friday, February 03TH, 2012 by Guest

You need a friend.  From one Christian to another, you have severe psychiatric issues that need to be addressed, either with medication or surgery.,  On the other hand, I suspect you've made it all up ... attention seeking - still a mental health issue.  You are a nutter.

Wednesday, February 08TH, 2012 by Guest

I am sorry for all that you have been through! To be sincerely honest though, it may help if you take your sight off all your problems, and focus on God, give them to Him, there is nothing to heavy for Him, and He wants you to take a refugee in Him so that you can get healed of your past. I'm disabled to, so your not alone, but the more you focus on any and every problem the more it will control your life, and the more is pushes you away from God, because you lose sight of Him. Face your problems, give them to God and show faith that you know He has it all under control. Get into a counseling program so you can have someone to talk to, and someone to help you through the emotions and recovery of rape. Please find a friend or family member to speak with, because you can't expect to find people who are kind and understanding on the internet. Best wishes!!

Saturday, July 14TH, 2012 by Guest

These bodies were intentionally mummified by the Church. All of the new books, including "Christian Mummification" provide enough evidence for us all to know that they were not miraculously preserved.  But why does the Church intentionally mummify people?  I don't get it...

Tuesday, November 12TH, 2013 by Guest

Blessed Saints, thank you for your healing of my son's genogram, parents, grandparents, greatgrandparents, cleansing, deliverance protection (my nieces, nephews, godchild's family as well), Erich needs a powerful intercessor for bondages breaking and attacks of the devil.