This past Thursday, Fr. Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross-presented to the parish I work at 169 relics (165 first class and 4 second class) of the saints of the Church. This traveling evangelization mission is known as the Sacred Relics: Treasures of the Church. My girlfriend had just arrived in Phoenix, so it was a blessing that we could enjoy this together. We were able to pray together holding the relics for our relationship, her children, and our families. I was also one of the parish staff members, along with our parochial vicar, who assisted Fr. Carlos prepare for the presentation and exposition at our parish. Getting to hold the relics of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Paul, St. Peter, and many others as well as looking upon remnants of Mary’s Veil and the True Cross was a blessing. Words really couldn’t describe the presence we felt when the relics were on display and in our hands. You need to experience this for yourself!
Since today is the feast day of St. Bernadette, I want to share with you one of the stories that Fr. Carlos told us was about her. He explained that thirty years after St. Bernadette had died, her cause for sainthood had come up. During this process, the Church will often exhume the body of the proposed person to examine the remains. With most people, depending on the composition of the soil, the body completely corrupts, but in the case of St. Bernadette, when her coffin was opened, the examiners had found that her body was completely intact. The only things that corrupted were her clothes and the rosary beads in her hands had rusted, leaving the beads scattered in the coffin.
(The incorruptible body of St. Bernadette as it looks today)
To make sure that the Church was not hiding something or playing a trick to scandalize the faithful, the Church hired the leading pathologist in the world at the time – a Frenchman who happened to also be an atheist. The incision at the abdomen proved that there was no smell of corruption inside or outside of her body. The only scent that came from her body was the smell of roses. Most of her organs were in intact and fresh blood dripped from her liver. After sometime, reporting that there was no scientific explanation of the mummification of her body, the pathologist converted to Catholicism. Her body is now on display in the chapel of Gildard in the convent of Nevers, where she lived as a religious sister.
For the complete story on St. Bernadette, St. Maria Goretti, and the great exposition of 169 relics, please consider bringing Fr. Carlos Martins to your diocese or parish in North America. You can contact Fr. Carlos here. You don’t want to miss out on this great event of evangelization!