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Monday (4/4) we linked to a website explaining the life of Mother Therese of Jesus at a Carmelite monastery she founded, based on ancient observance, in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania (which is near Allentown).

Deep in the story was the electrifying description of how, when a mausoleum was being reconstructed at the monastery, it was discovered that Mother Therese's body was still in "human form." We first reported this ten years ago. The exhumation had occurred in August of 2001. They hesitated to use the word "incorrupt," because that's something for the official Church -- which is studying her case -- to declare.

As we stated:

"The spokesman for a monastery in Pennsylvania has confirmed that the body of a nun who died 63 years ago -- in 1939 -- appears to be 'intact' and holding a palm that remains green. The discovery was made last August during renovation of a mausoleum in Coopersburg, about seven miles southeast of Allentown, where the nun, Mother Therese of Jesus, founded the Carmelite Monastery of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. While there are a number of instances in Europe, the phenomenon of incorrupt, supernaturally preserved bodies is extremely rare in the U.S. If verified by Church authorities it will be a huge development for the American Church, which has only a handful of saints and of those just a few, St. John Neumann, Mother Cabrini, and St. Rose Duchesne, who were found at least partially incorrupt."

She died [left] on Easter Tuesday morning, April 11, 1939, when at about ten-fifteen, barely three hours after Mother's reception of Holy Communion during the conventual Mass, a heart attack broke the frail ties that bound to earth this zealous spouse of the Most Blessed Trinity. Her death was hastened, perhaps, by her untiring zeal in the holy service of her Lord and Master, Whose greater honor and glory were the mainspring of her entire spiritual life.

This is a big and until-now obscure Catholic story -- there in a corner of Pennsylvania. We visited it at the time, but could only glimpse through the gate and over the stone walls that surround the property, including the cemetery (it was closed the day we passed through).

But holiness hangs in the air. The strictly cloistered Coopersburg Carmelites have little communication with the outside and so there was not the opportunity to interview other witnesses. However, the spokesman confirmed that the palm branch was still green. He said all Carmelite sisters are buried with a palm. According to the diocesan newspaper, the ten Carmelites at the large, spare monastery have been praying for Mother Therese's cause.

A source there says photographs of her exhumed body, which are not yet allowed for public release, do show the body still intact. Further details can not as yet be revealed.

Will she become a saint?

The case is being studied. We can join our prayers with theirs.

[resources: Life Missions, Family Healings]

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