Washington D.C., 29 May, 2023 / 2:30 pm (ACI Africa).
The body of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, an African American nun whose surprisingly intact remains have created a sensation at a remote Missouri abbey, was placed inside a glass display case Monday after a solemn procession led by members of the community she founded.
About 5 p.m., dozens of religious sisters of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, carried their foundress on a platform around the property of the Abbey of Our Lady of Ephesus, reciting the rosary and singing hymns. Some of the thousands of pilgrims who visited the abbey over the three-day Memorial Day weekend followed behind.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Beautiful procession of the remains of Sr. Wilhelmina Lancaster, a Benedictine nun who died in 2019 and now appears to be in an unexpected state of preservation. Her new resting place is inside the church at the sisters’ monastery in Gower, MO. <a href="https://t.co/Ax9uYPKXYv">pic.twitter.com/Ax9uYPKXYv</a></p>— Joe Bukuras (@JoeBukuras) <a href="https://twitter.com/JoeBukuras/status/1663326226163826689?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 29, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The procession, held in bright, late-afternoon sunshine, culminated inside the abbey’s church, where the nun’s body was placed into a specially made glass case. Flowers surrounded her body and decorated the top of the case, where there is an image of St. Joseph holding the Child Jesus. The church was filled with pilgrims, including many priests and religious sisters from other orders.
Sister Wilhelmina, who founded the Benedictine order in 1995 when she was 70 years old, died in 2019. Expecting to find only bones, her fellow sisters exhumed her remains on May 18 intending to reinter them in a newly completed St. Joseph’s Shrine, only to discover that her body appeared astonishingly well-preserved.