Stigmata is a Catholic phenomenon, used to describe the appearance of the wounds of Christ on a pious saint or Christian believer. It has been long debated by many who believe stigmata is instead a psychosomatic effect brought on by intense prayer. Stigmatics themselves are the main source of mystery for thousands of Christian believers. Stigmata can exists in two forms, visible and invisible. Invisible wounds are those covered by the forces of God for the inner comfort of the sufferer. Visible wounds appear on the side, palms, feet and head, and often appear and disappear in the space of a few hours. They can appear in one area alone, or all areas at once. Often, intense bleeding accompanies them, and the period before they appear is characterized by depression and weakness. Some stigmatics report feeling whips across their backs.
The first recorded case of these wounds was in the year 1222, by a man names Stephen Langton of England. St. Francis of Assissi, a famous follower of Jesus, experienced wounds in 1224. The wounds can be experienced by both men and women. One of the more famous female stigmatics was St. Catherine of Siena, who experienced invisible wounds on her hands and feet. An interesting fact about stigmata is that it corresponds with the Passion and Death of Christ. Many wounds appear during the Last Supper, and the holy days of Easter. They disappear on Easter itself. Stigmatics reportedly speak to visions of Christ and angels during their trials, and smell strange scents. There are even reported cases of the blood types not matching between stigmata and wounds. Stigmata has been reported everywhere from America to Italy. There are cases in France, Spain, England, and Germany. The count of these victims has stopped at 345. It is believed that there are many more, however. Among this count are some of the most famous saints, such as St. Frances of Rome, St. Gertrude, St. Collette, St. John of God, and St. Marie of the Incarnation. They span many religious orders, including Dominican priests, Augustinian monks and the Poor Clare nuns.
One of the more interesting theories to explain this phenomenon is the idea of "theological placebo effects." According to this line of thought, stigmatics are so emotionally and physically tied to their belief that they experience a state of mind similar to raptures. It is a fact that the immune system can be controlled by the waking mind, and in some cases, a heartbeat can be consciously slowed. It is this belief that leads some to think that the wounds of the stigmata are personally, albeit unconsciously, produced. Stigmatics still exist today. There were a reported 20 in the nineteenth century, and their numbers are diminishing. One of the most famous current stigmata is Georgio Bongiavani, who has stigmata on his hands and forehead. His religious wounds cannot be explained by any sources, and according to several news reports they appear and disappear at will.
Stigmata Phenomena Reviewed by Elvis G. on 3:48:00 AM Rating: