Blessed Anna Maria Taigi -Wife Mother & Mystic



Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (1769-1837) -Wife, Mother and Mystic

-Among many other extraordinary mystical gifts, Anna Maria Taigi was often given a remarkable sun-globe wherein she saw past, present and future happenings.

The main source for this article is the book “Wife, Mother and Mystic” by Albert Bessieres, S.J., translated from the French by Rev Stephen Rigby, Tan Books, 1970, availible through Tan books here.

Early life
Blessed Anna Maria Taigi was born in Siena, Italy on May 29, 1769. Her parents, Luigi Giannetti and Maria Masi were of a poor, working class family, and Anna was of Italian and Tuscan blood. She was Baptised Anna Maria Antonia Gesualda on the day after her birth. Due to the collapse of her fathers buisness, when she was 6 years old she moved with her parents to Rome, where she remained the rest of her life .
In Rome, Anna Maria (she was nicknamed “Annette”) attended for 2 years parochial school of the Filippini Sisters the “good Mistresses” as they were called. Following her schooling, she worked as a household maid and several other non-skilled occupations in an effort to help with the family finances. Throughout her childhood and teenage years, she seemed to be of average piety and spirituality.

At age 20, on January 7, 1790, she married Domenico Taigi, who was a poor porter or “servant” of the chef for Prince Chigi. Domenico’s morals and piety were very good, but he had a terrible temper. Or, as the decree for Anna’s Beatification puts it “his [Domenico] manners were rough and uncultured and his temperment undesirable.” His brusque and turbulent manner and quick temper caused Anna much suffering, but it also caused her to exercise her virtue of patience, meekeness, humility and forgiveness. She learned that a smile and silence often appeased his wrath. He never was physically abusive to her, but he certainly was a tyrant at times. Nevertheless, he loved her deeply, as once can easily detect the frank and sincere testimonies that he gave during the official process of her Beatification. As the years progressed, bore seven children, three of whom died in childhood. The remaining two boys and two girls grew to maturity with her ever attentive concern for both their religious and moral upbringing, along with their secular education.

The Call of God- Her deep conversion
Describing her life as a young wife, one source states “"Chaste in morals, attached to her wifely duties, Anna-Maria yet lived more for the world than for God.” However, an increasing sense of spiritual disturbance began to mingle with Anna's frivolities and worldliness. One day she went to the Basilica of St. Peter's. There was a great throng. She was leaning on the arm of her husband, all radiant and decked with her prettiest necklaces. They were in the piazza, surrounded by Bernini's colonnade. The jostling of the crowd threw her against one Father Angelo, a Servite. He had never seen the young woman before, but he heard an interior voice say: "Notice that woman, for I wiII one day confide her to your care and you will work for her transformation. She shall sanctify her­self, for I have chosen her to become a saint."

Eventually Anna Maria made up her mind to leave her worldliness aside and to make a good confession, so she went to a neighboring church, seeking in con­fession the solution to her unsettled conscious. She chose a confessional surrounded by numerous penitents, but on entering it in her turn tears overcame her, and she cries: "Father, you have at your feet a great sinner." The priest wondered for a moment who the unknown might be, and then said brusquely:
"Go away; you are not one of my penitent." How­ever, he consented to hear a hasty recital. Yet discovering nothing to justify her passionate out­burst, he gave her absolution and curtly slammed back the slide, leaving the unfortunate woman more troubled than ever.

There followed a period of discouragement. In a soul of poorer caliber the matter might have had a tragic ending; in truth it had an ending as fortunate as that of St. Teresa of Avila, so misunderstood and mishandled by one confessor after another.
After having savored this humiliation, Anna returned to pray in the church of St. Marcellus, where she had been married. Entering one of the confessionals in trepidation, she found herself in the presence of the curate, a religious of the Servite Order, Father Angelo Verandi. It was he who in the piazza in front of St. Peter‘s had heard the Lords voice say to him: "Take notice of that woman .... I am calling her to sanctity."

Now, our Lord enabled him to recognise her: "So you have come at last my daughter," he said. "Our Lord loves you and wants you to be wholly His" and he told her of the message he had received before at St. Peter's. Anna had spent three years in vain worldly triflings, and now a new life was to begin. Concerning Anna’s spiritual direction, Father Angelo needed it to undertake a task so infinitely delicate. For Anna Taigi was neither a Carmelite Nun nor a devout widow, but the young wife of Domenico, by whom she was to have seven children in a dozen years. There lay her essential duty. Everything else: penances, prayers, miracles, ecstasies, could play their part only in so far as the obligations of her state would allow. Consequently it was no good for Father Angelo just to re-read St. Teresa; he had to have, together with mystical learning, a robust common sense and a profound humility to guide this young mother and wife.

The first demand of the Master was purification: to that end God immediately gave Anna a keen conscience of her own weaknesses and misery. St. Catherine of Genoa describes these terrible enlightenments given by God concerning our sins by saying:
"He finds fault with everything."

This spirit of penance, so far as the Beata was concerned, dated from the moment of her confession at St. Marcellus, and was never to leave her. Upon returning home, she prostrated herself before the new little altar that she had made in her room, gave herself a pitiless scourging and beat her head severely many times on the floor till the blood came. Father Angelo soon had to check this thirst for penance and austerities and to remind her she was a wife and mother and that such extraordinary penances were not her duty—her duty must lie in the holy fulfillment of her state in life.

The ever-present difficulty was that her husband Domenico was no St. Joseph. The first of Anna's miracles was to get him to consent to forgo all those luxuries in which he led the way and sought her participation. Wonderful to say, he surprisingly became resigned to the holy will of his wife.

"About a year after our marriage," he says in his official deposition, "the Servant of God, while yet in the flower of her youth, gave up for the love of God, all the jewelry she used to wear--rings, ear-rings, necklaces, and so on, and took to wearing the plainest possible clothing. She asked my permission for this, and I gave it to her with all my heart, for I saw she was entirely given to the love of God."
This miracle of grace moves one more than the cure of incurables, of which we are yet to recount. "I have chosen her .... I call her to sanctity." -Such was the message of our Lord as heard by Father Angelo. God had decreed that this woman of twenty-one years, who was suckling a new-born baby, was to be a Saint and a great help for the Church.

Anna begins to hear an inner Voice
Not long after her fervent coming to God, our Lord pointed out the first step in her ascent to Him- The enormous value of simplicity and charity towards others:
"Remember that you must be prudent in everything. The devil, My daughter, is a spirit of contradiction. He who is under the devil’s influence cannot rest either day or night. My spirit, on the other hand, is a spirit of love and peace, full of condescension for every­thing that is not sin. Who possesses My peace, possesses all things: Many souls do severe penance in order to reach this great good. None can reach the peace of my elect unless strives to become as simple as a child and to acquire from the start true charity. Who possesses charity, My daughter, possesses patience. Charity works with zeal and love. It speaks evil of no one, for it fears to lose the precious pearl of My friendship. It understands all, sees all notices all, but it covers all with Its mantle. It excuses the faults of its neighbors, and sympathizes with his sorrows and says to itself: 'Truly, I would be even worse, if You did not come to rescue me.’

"You must know," said Jesus to her, "that when I speak to you I produce in you tenderness, peace, compunction for your sins and above all, humility. Know well, my daughter, that no matter how much he desires to love me, if a man enter not the straight path of humility he will keep on stumbling. Man has within himself a dust that settles round his heart; it is called self-love ....Man is full of pride, and I have nothing to do with the proud. Only the humble find favor in My sight. He who wishes to taste My delights must despise the world, and expect to be despised by it in turn."

"I make My abode in humble souls that are full of simplicity. The more lowly and uncultured they are, the more I take pleasure in them. As to these wise and learned professors whose heads are. full of the fumes of pride, I put them down from their seats, and you yourself shall soon learn where I send them. Thus ends their false wisdom and self-advertise­ment. Oh My daughter, I exalt those who humble themselves. They merit My Kingdom, and to these I unfold all My secrets. Love then to meet with contempt, for love of contempt is a true foundation of virtue.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary also became her guide and helped her to prepare for the mission that God had called her to:

"Know well, My dear daughter, that here below you will have for every one. good day a hundred bad ones, because you must be like My Son Jesus. You must be devoted above all to doing His will and submitting your own constantly to His in the state of life to which it has pleased Him to call you; there­in lies your special vocation. Later on, when people come to examine your conduct closely, every indi­VIdual must be able to convince himself that it is possible to serve God in all states and conditions of life without the performance of great exterior penances, provided only one fights vigorously against one's passions and conforms oneself in all things to the holy will of God. Remember it is far more meritorious to renounce one's own will and submit oneself entirely to the will of God than to perform the greatest bodily mortifications."

Anna Maria is given the extraordinary miracle of a mystic globe-sun
Jesus told Anna Maria that by being a simple wife and mother she was to be a sign that holiness and union with God is available to everyone. He further stated “Jesus described her mission: "I destine you to convert sinners, to console people of all sorts and conditions-priests, prelates, My very Vicar himself. All who listen to your words will be granted signs and graces at My hands .... But you will also meet with false and treacherous people; you will be submitted to ridicule, scorn and calumny, but you will endure it all for love of Me."

This frightened her. "My God, whom are You choosing for this task? I am a creature unworthy to tread the earth." “I see that also," answered the Voice. "It is I who will guide you by the hand, as a lamb is led by the shepherd, to the altar of sacrifice."

As she was praying one day in the church of St. Andrew della Valle, before the crucifix she heard this question from the lips of the Crucified: "What is your wish? To follow Jesus poor and naked and stripped of all, or to follow Him in His triumph and glory? Which do you choose?" "I embrace the Cross of my Jesus," she answered. "I will carry it, like Him, in pain and ignominy. I await at His Hands triumph and glory in the hereafter."

It was in 1790, the very year of her call, that the Beata was the object of a most unique and remarkable favour.
The Decree of the Beatification thus refers to it:
"Among other gifts the most remarkable was that for a space of forty-seven years she saw a kind of sun in whose light she descried things at hand and things afar off foresaw future events, scrutinized the secrets of hearts and the most hidden and most inward impulses." Suddenly, then, in her humble home, Anna saw a little above her head, as it were a blazing sun crowned by a circle of thorns; two long thorns clasped it round; in the centre was the Eternal Wisdom (presumably), represented by a young woman seated in contempla­tion. Films of cloud dimmed the dazzling light, but an interior voice told her that the clouds would disappear according to the increasing measure of her purification. In this light she was to see, until her death, not only everything that might conduce her to perfection, but also everything that could help win others for God and allow her to help the Church militant or suffering.

Cardinal Pedicini, who knew Anna Maria for over 30 years, and whose position in the great Roman congregations shows a rnan little given to credulity or wild assertions speaks at great length in his judicial depositions concerning this prodigious gift:
"For forty-seven years, day and night, at home, at church, in the. street, she saw in this sun, which became increasingly brilliant, all things on this earth both physical and moral; she penetrated to the depths and rose up to heaven, where she saw the eternal lot of the dead. She saw the most secret thoughts of persons nearby or far off; events and personages of bygone days ....She had only to think of a thing and it presented itself in a clear and, complete manner .... A mere glance at this mystic sun and she entered at will into the most secret council-rooms of kings.

She saw the people who handled affairs, the places concerned, the opinions that each one held, the sincerity or guile of the ministers; all the back-door diplomacy of our era, and also the decrees of God for the confusion of these mighty ones. She saw the plotting and the dark ­gatherings of various sects; the members of these societies, their ranks, their ceremonies--all in the minutest detail and in all parts of the world--all as if it were happening in her room ....We may say that this gift was one of omniscience for it was the knowing of all things in God so far as the intelligence is capable of such knowledge in this life.... She saw distant sea ships being wrecked and heard the cries of the shipwrecked; she penetrated into the prisons of China and Arabia ... where confessors of the faith, slaves and prisoners languished in agony .... In this way did she exercise an un­bounded apostolate, won souls to grace in every part of the globe, and prepared the way for missionaries; the entire world was the theatre of her labours .... Nor let anyone think I am exaggerating, for, on the contrary, I find myself incapable of describing the wonders of which I was for thirty years the witness."

The Cardinal added that if obedience compelled the holy woman to hide nothing from him, she took extreme pains to remain hidden herself from people whom she benefited by means of the lights God gave her. Above all, she was most anxious to receive no gifts from them. Princes of the Church, kings, queens, Popes and saints came to ask this humble woman to teach and enlighten them to the secrets of heaven. She enlightened them to the extent demanded by obedience, putting far from her all spirit of curiosity, not even asking an explanation of those things she failed to understand.

"A prodigy unique" in the annals of sanctity is the way the Decree of Beatification speaks of it, and it is to be explained by the unique circumstances in which the world and the Papacy then were. A crumbling world threatened to involve the Church and the Papacy in its own ruin. Her mission then was to help those who were in charge of guiding the Church through this difficult and turbulent period. Her husband stated:

“She prayed for the Holy Father, for the Cardinals and Bishops, for the conversion of sinners, for heretics, for all the world, for evil tongued people…it all seemed to me a paradise”
Concerning this miraculous sun, in a book by Louis Veuillot entitled “The Fragrance of Rome” we read:

“In the Decree that introduces the Process for Beatification of Anna Maria Taigi it is said that she was chosen by God to draw souls to Him; to be a victim of expiation, to avert great catastrophes, all by the power of her prayers….to the opened floodgates of iniquity God opposed a simple woman.”

“Shortly after she had entered on the way of perfection there began to appear to her a golden globe which became as a sun of matchless light; in this all things were revealed to her. Past and future were to her an open book. She knew with certainty the fate of the dead. Her gaze travelled to the ends of the earth and discovered there people on whom she had never set eyes, reading them to the depth of their souls. One glance sufficed; upon whatever she focused her thoughts, it was revealed to her and her under­standing. She saw the whole world as we see the front of a building. It was the same with nations as with individuals; she saw the cause of their distresses and the remedies that would heal them.

"By means of this permanent and prodigious miracle, the poor wife of Domenico Taigi became a theologian, a teacher and a prophet. The miracle lasted forty-seven years. Until her death the humble woman was able to read this mysterious sun as an ever-open book. Until her death she looked into it solely for the glory of God; that is, when charity suggested or obedience demanded it. Should things for which she had not looked or which she did not understand appear, she re­frained from seeking to know more and asking explanations.”

"The poor, the great of the world, the princes of the Church came to her for advice or help. They found her in the midst of her household cares and often suffering from illness. She refused neither her last crust of bread nor the most precious moments of her time, yet she would accept neither presents nor praise.
"Her most powerful friends could not induce her to allow them to favor her children beyond the conditions in which they were born. When she was at the end of her resources she told God about it, and God sent what was necessary.

"She thought it good to live from day to day, like the birds, A refugee queen in Rome wished to give her money. 'Madame,' she kindly said, 'how simple you are. I serve God, and He is richer than you.’
"She touched the sick, and they were cured; she warned others of their approaching end, and they died holy deaths. She endured great austeri­ties for the souls in Purgatory, and the souls, once set free came to thank her .... She suffered in body and soul. ... She realized that her role was to expiate the sins of others, that Jesus was associating her with His sacrifice, and that she was to be a victim in union with Him. The pains of Divine Love have an intoxication that no words can explain. After Holy Communion there were times when she sank down as though smitten by a prostrating stroke. To tell the truth, her state of ecstasy was continual because her sense of the presence of God was continual. ... All pain was sweet to her .... She went her way, her feet all bloody; with shining eyes she followed the Royal Way.”

"Behold, then, the spectacle God raised to men's sight in Rome during that long tempestuous period which began at the time the humble Anna­ Maria took to the way of saints. Pope PlUS VI dies at Valence; Pius VII is a prisoner at Fontainebleau; the Revolution will reappear before Gregory XVI reigns. Men are saying that the day of the Popes is over, that Christ s law and Christ Himself are on the wane, that science will soon have relegated this so-called Son of God to the realm of dreams . . . . He will work no more miracles.”

"But at precisely this time God raised up this woman to cure the sick .... He gives her know­ledge of the past, present and future. She declares that Pius VII will return to his seat in Rome. She sees even beyond the reign of Pius IX She is God's answer to the challenge of unbelief."

Her ecstasies and her love and devotion to the Holy Eucharist
Along with receiving the extraordinary ongoing vision of the sun, Anna Maria began to be drawn into ecstasies along with hearing the inner Voice. Most often, she was often drawn into ecstasy while receiving Holy Communion, but also even during the most humble tasks of washing clothes or even while eating. Her husband and children did not understand what was happening to her once when Anna fell into ecstasy at the table and came back to her senses he grumbled at her saying: "How can you doze at table? You are stupefied with sleep. You must go to bed earlier." After the death of his wife he suspected the true nature of things: "I do really believe that my wife was favored with heavenly gifts. As to ecstasies, I could never discern any. I remember, however, that at night-time, as we said the Rosary, there were times when she did not answer. At table, also, it often happened that she was absent-minded, sometimes with a fork in her hand, sometimes without movement. I spoke to her and she took up again what she had left off, giving me a smile."

When she thus went to sleep with her eyes towards heaven, her daughter Mariuccia once said tearfully:
"Mamma is dead. Mamma is dead." "No! she is praying." Sophie would say by way of correction.
"Be quiet, she's asleep," Domenico would growl. "Let her alone; she had no sleep last night."

While reciting the daily family Rosary, ecstasy was quite common and at this Domenico was still more shocked. "It is shameful to go to sleep like that during prayers, when one has the whole night for sleeping" (Statement taken during the Process and Summary).

"When I used to go to see her in the morning," says Cardinal Pedicini, “I often found her in ecstasy, and was obliged to wait patiently till she cane to herself. Ecstasy would again seize her in the middle of our conversation. I would wait again. Only obedience had power to call her to herself."

Her confessor says, "I was often the witness of her ecstasies when we used to visit the seven basilicas in company with Cardinal Pedicini. At that time she usually went to Communion in the chapel of the Holy Crucifix at. St. Paul's. Immediately after Com­munion she entirely lost herself in transport. Yet, as we needed to contmue the pilgrimage, I ordered her quickly in the name of obedience to recall her mind and follow us without delay. She obeyed."

After Holy Communion, when she felt ecstasy overwhelming her, she cut matters short and hastened back to her kitchen, but the Spirit often overcame her in the road, so much so that she had to have a companion. The sight of a cross, of a flower, or of a statue of Our Lady, would halt her, ravished in the love of God. Naturally the gossipers missed nothing, and she suffered on account of their uncharitable tongues and culmunies.

Her extraordinary Charity
One day in winter, when she came out of the Pieta church with Mgr. Natali, she met in the street a young man who was almost naked; his eyes were. haggard; he was crying with cold and hunger, a veritable spectre covered with filth, from whom the passers-by drew aside as from one smitten with the plague. Anna ran to him, took him by the hand, led him to her home, warmed him, washed him dressed him, restored and consoled him, gave him alms, and sent him away with a thousand expressions of regard, so that he wept and could find no word to answer.

Another day she had reached the church of Our Lady of Consolation when. she came upon a poor woman stretched on the road, foaming at the mouth, in a fit of epilepsy. The passers-by shunned her with averted heads. Anna drew near, wiped away the slaver, lifted her up and went to a neighboring shop to buy her a cordial. Charity is contagious. The crowd stopped, a voluntary collection was organised and given to the poor woman. Once she had restored her, Anna effaced herself and went to the church. There an ecstasy awaited her. Like St. Martin of old, who had just shared his cloak with a poor man of Amiens, she heard Our Savior say to her: "Thank thee, my daughter, for the care you have given to Me."

At the hospital of St. John, for Incurables, in the St. James quarter, there were similar incidents. Sophie [her daughter] who accompanied her, saw her mother going from bed to bed, distributing sweetmeats and help­ing the sick to bring up phlegm. The patient she singled out was a woman whose face was eaten away by a cancer. Her head had been covered by a veil. The moment she heard Annette a murmur of joy came from behind her mask. Anna went to her, caressed her, washed her, and, while rocking her like a baby, spoke to her of heaven.

"At this hospital of St. James" (it is still Sophie referring to the same case) "there was a woman called Santa whose husband had given her a conta­gious disease that ravaged her face. For that reason her head was covered in a hood. I think, too, she was no longer able to see. Whenever she heard Mamma’s voice, she used to cry: 'Here is my angel'. My mother would remain a long time with her. I would call and press her to come away, for the stench was very bad. But she would answer: 'But smell the fragrance of her soul: she will go straight from bed to paradise.' "

Another day, when she heard that the daughter of one of her bitterest persecutors was ill, she went to pay her a visit, and to comfort her mother. At every visit she took some sweetmeats. In the end she made the sign of the Cross over the daughter with her statue of Our Lady, and the sick woman recovered.
Anna Maria given the grace to obtain cures

The grace of healing was bestowed upon this humble woman, as it was formerly upon the Apostles in an official manner. Soon after her con­version, when she was gravely ill in her humble home, she was preparing herself for death when our Saviour appeared to her, dressed in a great blue cloak; He took her by the left hand and told her He took her for His spouse and granted to that hand the gift of curing the sick. Then he said:

"You may get up. You are cured." She cried out aloud and got up.

Sometimes Anna was content with touching a sick person with this sore hand which bore the invisible mark of her power. More often, so as to avoid admiration, she made use of a statue of Our Lady, or St. Philomena, of a relic, or of oil from the votive-lamp. Here are a few anecdotes: A lady of the princely house of the Albani was dying of cancer of the womb. She appealed to Anna's confessor, and he appealed to Anna. The Beata gave him a drop of oil from the votive-light, saying: "Let her put the oil on the affected part and invoke Our Lady." It was done. The following night the tumor broke painlessly and the invalid was cured. Overwhelming gratitude followed. The noble lady multiplied her offers of kindly offices and Anna ended by allowing her to undertake the upkeep of the votive-lamp, the oil of which had been the instrument of cure. The first bottle of oil was brought with demonstrations of eternal gratitude. Anna, though still a young woman, knew enough about the durability of gratitude among men and women. She smiled and said, "Quietly, daughter ! You run too fast, and will grow cold. Remember, however, that you have made a promise, and, if you fail to keep it, misfortune will follow."

Some months later the noble lady made an excuse for no longer sending the weekly bottle. She had to economize and was cutting out unnecessary expenses. She had scarcely sent the message when a series of disasters occurred among her extensive properties. A long illness completed her ruin. Anna pleaded for her, but Our Lord declared He had a peculiar horror of ingratitude. All that she obtained was the conversion of the poor woman.

A Princess Doria, a religious of SS. Dominic and Sixtus, was similarly afflicted with cancer of the womb. She sent a secret message to Anna, saying:
I do not wish to show my complaint to anybody, wherefore it is your duty to cure me."
"But what," Anna replied, "do you imagine I am? I am only a poor woman and a sinner at that."
"It is useless for you to make excuses. You are what you are, but I will you to obtain my cure. I have told you; it is for you to think about it. It is your business."
So Anna therefore spoke to Our Lord, and the same evening she sent some cotton fabric soaked in oil. The following day the growth had disappeared.
The same thing happened to a religious oblate of the Child Jesus, only she had no confidence, and had a poor opinion of Anna. Anna was not even a religious, but a laywoman of no birth! Her confessor rebuked her. In the end, the day before the surgeon was to operate, the religious, in desperation, made her decision to use the cotton soaked in oil. The next day the surgeon found that he had only to put back his instruments; the evil had vanished. The doubting Thomas was never finished praising the sanctity of that woman, even though she was married and the mother of a family.

And here are scenes that are the Gospel over again. Jesus had just cured the mother-in-law of St. Peter at Caparnaum. The sick heard of it and flocked to Him by every road, and even by way of the roof. So also Anna, with Mgr. Natali, went to the house of a woman whose daughter was dying of the croup. The doctors had given her up, only the mother pleaded with Anna in the tones of the Chananite woman. Anna consoled her, saying:

"It will be nothing." She made the sign of the Cross upon the swollen throat. The little girl was cured. The whole neighborhood was stirred. Another mother, whose daughter was smitten with the same epidemic, asked for help. Anna cured this one also. There was a third neighbor. Her little boy was tormented with an abscess in the ear. With a caress of her right hand Anna cured the child. The mother had not finished thanking her when the second mother, whose little daughter had been cured ran up to her, bringing her little boy, smitten with diphtheria. The child was freed from the disease by a sign of the Cross. It is said that the series of cures continued, and I know well that smiles are likely to be raised by such tales, but I content myself by answering with Pascal's astonishment at his own folly: "What a fool I am! If Jesus Christ is God, what difficulty is there in it?"

A cure that made more noise, and one of which I have already said a word, was that of Marie-Louise de Bourbon, the dethroned Queen of Etruria. Expelled from her State, General Miollis had placed her under house-detention in the Convent of SS. Dominic and Sixtus, where she lived surrounded by a small court. But the sadness that gnawed at her devel­oped into epilepsy. She had to be shut up in apart­ments covered with thick carpets, where she rolled about uttering frantic cries. After these attacks she lay motionless and as though dead. Remedies proved ineffective.
The Queen having heard of the cure of Princess Doria, summoned Anna, and begged her to plead with God for her. Anna told her to have confidence in the Blessed Virgin, and then, with her little statue of Our Lady, made the sign of the Cross. The attacks of epilepsy fled for ever, and the Queen was able to go out and about in Rome without hindrance. The medical world made a great to-do about the cure of a queen such as it had not made for two broom-wielders, and that is why Anna preferred to cure the broom-wielders. But the Queen showed a royal gratitude towards her benefactress, made her her adviser, her sister in God unto death, and faithfully kept alight the votive-lamp that had been so speedily deserted by the other noble lady.

This cure was the beginning of a new series. It was Anna's confessor who recommended a young man also smitten with epilepsy. She found the in­valid in bed, broken by a crisis of the disease. His parents stood by in distress. Anna said, with the utmost cheerfulness: "Come on! Up you get! Quick! I can't abide seeing people in bed. You will not die of that, at least."

The sick man threw off the bedclothes and rose, cured. His stunned parents had not recovered from their amazement before Anna fled. The gratitude of the now miraculously cured man lasted a good month, during which he came often to assure Anna of his undying thanks and to offer her his services without wages. She smiled and said : "You will very soon forget"

He forgot so soon that he was not seen again. He was speedily punished, was smitten with a fresh complaint, did not dare to approach his benefactress, and ended sadly. But as in the case of the votive­lamp, God soon sent a faithful servant who asked no wages; it was Luigeto Antonini, who, in spite of banter and sarcasm, remained loyal to his bene­factress until death, and made a deposition at the Process.

We owe to the Princess of Palestrina the account of the cure of her brother-in-law, Cardinal Barberini. "I used to love to confer with Anna. When I could not see her I wrote to her. She prayed to God for me, and for all that concerned me, and the result was always as she foretold. She was frank and friendly. If my children were ill I turned to her. My brother­in-law, Mgr. Barberini, was stricken with a fatal disease a little before his promotion to the cardinal­ate, and I told the holy woman this. The terrible illness grew worse, and yet she bade me fear nothing and not to be troubled, but to have recourse to St. Philip Neri. She also sent a relic of the saint."

It was an un-hoped for cure, and actually from the moment the Beata began to pray Our Lord had said to her: "The prelate's death is decreed by the divine counsel." Yet Anna only insisted the more for this impossible cure, and obtained it. Our Lord told her no one would attribute it to her, and in fact it was credited to St. Philip Neri. That, however, was fresh reason for insistence. Anna never believed in patenting her good deeds.

The Luigeto Antonini, whom I have just named, the knight and servant of the Beata, and the agent of her miracles, deposed that he assisted at a great number of cures. "Oftentimes I accompanied her on such errands. When she could not go in person she sent me with a little cotton soaked in the oil of the lamp that burned before her statue of Our Lady." And the good young fellow was no more astonished at being the agent of cures than were the little Indians sent on similar errands to the sick by St. Francis Xavier. He himself, when attacked by sciatica, which tied him to his bed, or constrained him to walk with crutches, spoke to the Beata, who cured him with a sign of the Cross. From then onwards he could go limping but alert here and there through the town at all times. If he caught a cold or a catarrh in going the Beata's errands, it was enough for him to tell his "Mamma", and a sign of the Cross put all to rights." Headaches or pains in the chest, swellings and other miseries which he contracted in the service of the saint fled at a sign of the Cross.

Here is a moving incident. In Anna's last illness the Abbe, worn out with going for the doctor, the priest, her friends, fell ill of congestion. The Beata beckoned him to come near, and tracing on his breast the sign of the Cross said: "Go to bed. Go to sleep for half an hour and all will be well. I have too much need of you at this moment to allow you to be ill." Half an hour later he was cured, but Anna was in her agony.

Her death and postmortem -Blessed Anna Maria Taigi is found to be an incorruptable
Anna Maria Taigi died 4:00am on the morning of June 9, 1837, after having received Viaticum and the Sacrament of the sick given by the local Curate (Parish Priest). Our Lord had promised Anna that the cholera would spare Rome until her death. She had scarcely breathed her last when the scourge broke out amidst scenes of indescribable panic. The death of the Beata at first passed unnoticed, but piety recovered quickly and the body was left exposed for two days for the veneration of the faithful in the church of Santa Maria, in Via Lata. On the Sunday evening a devout cortege conducted it to the new cemetery, in the Campo Verano, where, conformably to the instructions of Gregory XVI, it was enclosed in a leaden sepulchre, with seals affixed, near the chapel. Mgr. Natali had caused a mask of the face to be taken before the body was placed in the coffin.

After a few days, in spite of the cholera, the procession of pilgrims began. Ordinary folk, bishops, cardinals, elbowed one another near the humble tombstone. Cardinal Odescalchi forthwith instructed Mgr. Natali to collect all the documents, from which Mgr. Luquet, postulator of the cause, published the first biography. It had an immediate success, and was translated into several languages.
The fame of her sanctity increased day by day.

Mgr. Natali and Domenico did not know to whom to reply first. "Many people," says the latter, "who had known her plied me with all sorts of questions as to how she died. Some asked one question, some asked another. Some spoke of the special gifts she had received from God; others of the graces they had received through her intercession while she was yet alive. Everybody spoke well of her, praised her and described her as full of merits and virtues. As for me, I always thought highly of her and I declare that Our Lord took this, His good servant, away from me, because I was not worthy of her."

Cardinal Pedicini, while drawing up his volumi­nous memoirs of her, went often to pray at her tomb. Cardinal Micara, the Capuchin, doyen of the Sacred College, and Prefect of the Congregation of Rites, always carried a picture of her about his person. The Venerable Bernard Clausi, of the Minim Order of Franciscans, who often asked for her prayers, said to all who came his way: "If she is not in heaven, there is no room there for anybody."

The Venerable Vincent Pallotti called Anna "his secretary, his plenipotentiary, charged with all the interests of his congregation in the presence of the Most Holy Trinity".
The Blessed Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, foundress of the Good Shepherd Congregation, confided to her the thorny questions she had to deal with in Rome.
Mgr. Flaget, Bishop of Louisville, who was to die in the odour of sanctity, had visited the Beata during her last illness and sang her praises throughout the United States.

The number of miracles increased and the people deplored the fact that the body of the Beata rested so far from Rome. By order of the cardinal-vicar it was brought to the church of Our Lady of Peace. The coffin, sealed for eighteen years, was re-opened, and the body was found as fresh as if it had been buried the day before. In spite of instructions for secrecy, and although the middle of the night was chosen as the moment of removal, a vast crowd came to acclaim "The Saint of Rome and its Palladium".

Pope Pius IX surrounded the servant of God with great veneration. On the eve of the battle of Mentana, pictures representing him beside Anna-Maria pray­ing for the triumph of the Church, were spread far and wide. Learning that she had expressed a wish to be buried in the church of the Trinitarians, he had the body brought on August 18, 1865 to the basilica of San Chrysogono. Three years later the coffin was again opened, and though the clothes of the Beata had decayed, her body was still intact.The sisters of St. Joseph took off the poor clothing and replaced it by new. For eight days the body was exposed for the veneration of the faithful; the whole neighbourhood of Trastevere seemed on the move, and troops were necessary to ensure order. The body, enclosed in a double coffin of lead and of cypress, was near the chapel of the Blessed Sacra­ment in a memorial tomb, and, later on, in the chapel to the left, under the altar within a large glass shrine which allowed it to be seen in the habit of a Trinitarian Tertiary. The hands were joined in front of the breast. The face, giving an impression of infinite serenity, was covered in a light wax mask beneath the white coif.

Meanwhile the Process took its course. After the official enquiry entrusted to Mgr. Natali, the juridical enquiry was begun in 1852. Thirty wit­nesses upon oath were heard--Cardinals, bishops, nobles, servants, two daughters of the Beata and finally, leaning on his stick, with hunched shoulders, an old man of ninety-two years, the man who, after God, had the most to do with making Anna-Maria a saint-Domenico. In 1863 Pope Pius IX introduced the Cause of Beatification; on 4th March, 1906, Pope Pius X declared the heroicity of her virtures. On May 30, 1920, Pope Benedict XV ranked Anna-Maria Taigi, mother of a family, amongst the Blessed. A little while later he made her the special protectress of mothers of families and the patroness of the Women's Catholic Union.

When her holy remains were once again examined in 1920, they were found to be no longer incorrupt, and were at that point subject to the normal processes of decomposition. A wax covering has been placed over the face and hands, preserving her resemblance. The holy remains of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi lie in state in the Chapel of the Madonna in the basilica of San Chrysogono in Rome. Her Memorial feastday is celebrated in the Church on June 9.

~Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, pray for us!

The webmaster would like to thank Brother Stephen O. at the Sub Tuum blog for the awesome photographs of the holy remains of Blessed Anna Maria.

Skeptical of God -Skeptics of God


For those who are skeptical of the supernatural works of God in the lives of the Mystics

"Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve [apostles], was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of (his) disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name. (Godpel of John Chapter 20, 24-31)

There is a popular saying:-"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible." -Author unknown.

Perhaps for some such a statement is indeed true, but for those who may be skeptical of God and His works, but at the same time have an open mind and heart like Thomas the Apostle for example, the truth can indeed penetrate and take root. And so, for those who are skeptical or unconvinced of God and of the supernatural graces that He bestows upon certain souls, I offer below the medical and scientific testimony concerning the extraordinary supernatural gifts given to a Belgian girl named Anne Louise Lateau.

Louise Lateau –Stigmatic, Mystic and Victim soul (1850-1883)
Source for this article is the book “Louise Lateau of Bois D’Haine, Her Life, Her Ecstasies and Her Stigmata”, by Dr. Ferdinand J.M. Lefebvre, published by London, Burns and Oats, 1873 and available in its entirety on the Internet thru Google Books, located here:
“Louise Lateau of Bois D’Haine, Her Life, Her Ecstasies and Her Stigmata”

What makes the case of Louise Lateau so unique is not only the extraordinary mystical graces that she received from God, but the fact that her case was thoroughly investigated and studied by many Physicians, including one of the most eminent Psychological Physicians in Belgium at that time. To make matters even more extraordinary, this highly respected Physician felt duty bound after his investigation to publish an extensive book on his findings, which is the source for this article. Additionally, another respected Physician, Dr. Imbert Gourbeyre, also examined the extraordinary phenomenon in the life of Louise Lateau, and the reader will discover some of his findings particularly in the source book for this article, but also in the document below.

The author and diligent investigator of the life of Louise Lateau, Dr. Ferdinand J.M. Lefebvre, was a Professor of General Pathology and Therapeutics in the Catholic University of Louvain; additionally, for nearly twenty years he had been at the head of the medical staff of two establishments for the cure of mental diseases, during which period he has also delivered courses of lectures upon the same subject; and for many years he had an extensive private medical practice. Given his extensive knowledge of Psychology and Medicine, and the fact that he was well respected amongst his medical colleagues, it was the Catholic ecclesiastical authority itself that asked Dr Lefebvre to investigate the remarkable phenomenon in the life of Louise Lateau.

Concerning this mandate thus given to him by the authorities of the Catholic Church Dr. Lefebvre writes:
“In the spring of 1869 a singular rumour was being spread abroad. The report said that in a village of Hainaut (Belgium) blood came every week from various parts of the body of a young girl. The most remarkable part of the story was that the blood flowed only on Fridays, and always came from the same places,—the left side of the breast, the palm and back of the hands, and from the corresponding places on each foot. A few months afterwards, it was, moreover, said that she was in an ecstasy every Friday; and that this ecstasy lasted through a great part of the day.

"The report of the first witnesses of these extraordinary things soon aroused the public ear. Crowds assembled each week around the humble cottage which was the scene of them. Then ecclesiastical authority took cognizance of it. Such was its right, nay, its duty. From the very outset the Church authority saw that divers elements of the case must pass through the crucible of science; for periodical hemorrhage and the suspension of the exercise of the senses were phenomena which belonged to the province of medical men. I was asked to undertake the case. At the same time it was suggested that I should study simply its medical bearings. Therefore I desired to study them deeply, and not to shrink from any test which modern science required, no matter how severe the test might be”…..

“…It was impossible for me with any propriety to decline the duty thus proposed to me. But I ought to add, that I was also encouraged to accept it by the consideration that the science to which I have devoted my life must undoubtedly gain by the discussion of these problems which were thus placed before it. I need hardly say that I feel no temptation to exceed the limits which were laid down for me. A merely medical study of the facts of Bois d'Haine is all that I undertake. The question, thus limited, is still difficult; and I am quite conscious both of this difficulty and of my own insufficiency….I have followed, for upwards of one and a half years, the phenomena which are taking place at Bois d'Haine: studying them in themselves, and comparing them with facts more or less analogous which medicine has recorded in its annals. After this preparation, and ready at the same time to receive every honest criticism and to profit by it, I have felt justified in making public this result of my study. After all, it is possible that I may fail, even with this preparation; but still I feel that I shall at least be sincere, and that is enough to satisfy my own conscience.”

Early Life of Louise Lateau
Anne Louise Lateau was born January 30, 1850, at Hainaut in a village known by the name of Bois d'Haine, Belgium. She was the third and last child of Gregory and Adele (Pissens) Lateau. Her father was a metal factory workman. They were of the poor working class, and lived in a small house best described as a cottage. Sadly, Louise father Gregory, although in robust health, caught the malignant smallpox, which was then so prevalent at Bois d'Haine. After a few days' illness, he died on the April 17, 1850. He left three young little girls- Rosine, the eldest, was three years old; the second, Adeline, was two and Louise, the youngest, was only ten weeks old, leaving the mother, Adele, to care for all three of them alone.

At age 8, Louise went to help take care of her elderly woman in town who was sick. After having made her First Communion, at the age of eleven years, Louise went to assist her father's aunt, the widow Coulon, an old person of seventy-eight, who lived with her son and his wife at Manage. She spent daytime hours doing household work, and often spent a part of the night watching by her sick aunt, who died two years afterwards, still cared for by Louise. At the death of the old woman, her children recommended Louise to a respectable lady in Brussels; but she only stayed there seven months, as she was taken ill . After a few weeks recovery she was called home by her mother, and has ever since remained there, working as a dressmaker.
Such, in a few words, is the humble life of this poor girl. In order to make the reader better acquainted with her, we will rapidly sketch her moral portrait.

Louise is very intelligent, but it is an intelligence which has nothing brilliant in it. She might be very well described as humbly reserved, a person of good sense, without craftiness, and without enthusiasm. She has received very limited instruction, but she has developed the first elements which she learned at school. She speaks French with ease, and with a certain degree of purity. She can read, but with considerable difficulty; and write, but not correctly. As for her moral character, she is a simple, straightforward, I might almost say transparent creature. Many witnesses, priests or physicians, have employed similar phrases to describe the impression which Louise had made on them. ' She has,' said one of them, ' a soul of crystal—one can see through it.'

It has often happened, in my examination of her, that I laid traps to detect her, if I could, in any insincerity, but I never succeeded. One day, for instance, when she came out of her ecstasy, I asked her what she had seen. She related to me in a few words the scenes of the Passion which had just passed before her eyes. I rejoined : ' But what did our Saviour say ?' ' I heard nothing, sir.' ' That's impossible,' I said; ' for we know very well that our Lord during His Passion spoke sometimes to the Apostles, and sometimes to the Jews.' ' I did not hear Him speak.' ' Well, it's very strange; but you will certainly hear Him speak another time.' This 'other time' has never come; she has always told me that she had heard nothing. She loves solitude and silence, and never speaks of the wonderful things which are done in her. She has a few young friends, to whom she has been much attached from her childhood. I know from very accurate information, that the subject of the ecstasies and the stigmata is never named amongst them. It is a closed world, into which her most intimate friends never dare penetrate. She maintains the same reserve even with her mother and sisters; and they, on their part, never introduce the subject in her presence. Her character is one of quiet cheerfulness. In many circumstances she has given proof of a calm, patient, invincible courage.

I have watched her closely in circumstances still more trying. In the month of November 1868 her eldest sister was attacked by a dangerous and complicated typhoid fever which required the most incessant care during six weeks. Her mother at the same time had been ill for two months with pleuropneumonia,12 the cure of which was rendered slow and difficult by an emphysema of long standing. As these illnesses were prolonged the resources of the family diminished; their life was one of real privation. The younger sister was obliged to work to gain their daily bread; Louise, therefore, had almost the sole care of the two invalids. On foot both night and day, she scarcely slept at all for more than a month. The widow Lateau, irritated by her sufferings, had grown exacting and hard to please; she frequently accused Louise of being the cause of all the misfortunes which threatened to overwhelm the family. I saw the young girl amidst these crosses, this fatigue, this want of sleep, and I always found her the same—placid, calm, smiling.

Her extraordinary charity in the face of death –Age 16
Another striking feature of her nature is her charity. Poor herself, she has always had a passion for helping the poor. When scarcely more than a child she devoted herself to the care of the sick, with entire forgetfulness of self and unusual tact; even now, when there is a case of serious illness in the village, Louise is sent for, and she joyfully fulfils all the duties of Sister of Charity; when any one dies, it is almost always Louise who prepares the body for burial. In 1866 the cholera, which was prevalent in Belgium, broke out at Bois d'Haine. It cannot be said to have made great ravages there, but, as in many other places, it created a panic and gave occasion to certain acts of cowardice, which one can easily understand, perhaps even excused, but out of respect for human weakness, one would prefer to leave untold, if it were not important to reveal. The plague struck first a working man's family, composed of seven persons. The four sons, yielding to a panic, abandoned the house, leaving their father, mother, and sister struck down by the disease. The parish priest, whose assistance was needed by others, sent for Louise. She took up her abode in the abandoned house, and alone attended upon the father and mother up to their last hour—they died both on the same day; and she continued her kind care to their daughter until•the sons, feeling doubtless some remorse, returned to the cottage for an instant, just to carry their sister away to another house. Thus left alone, Louise laid out the two dead bodies; then, with the assistance of her sister Adeline, placed them in a coffin and managed to carry them out of the infected house. Some men, encouraged by the example of these young girls, then took the bodies to the cemetery. Louise, with the doctor and the priest, continued this work during the whole time that the epidemic lasted. She never left the houses into which the plague had once penetrated; she could not of course be everywhere at once; but she nursed six cholera patients in the month, continually laid out the dead, and even carried several of them to the cemetery. And she did all this when she was a mere child of sixteen.

Louise has also shown from her childhood remarkable piety. I must again repeat that I leave this view of the question to theologians; yet I cannot pass it over in complete silence. If I were absolutely to efface from the picture which I am drawing the religious character which is its chief characteristic, the whole aspect of the facts would not only be incomplete; it would be changed and disfigured. I therefore record here my own personal observations. I have been struck by the simple and practical character of Louise Lateau's piety. Free from all exaggeration and affectation, she follows the beaten track, but follows it faithfully. In her interior and religious life, as well as in her exterior, there is an indescribable simplicity, discretion, and moderation, which never abandons her.

Description of the supernatural Mystical graces –Stigmata and the Crown of Thorns
[editors note –in his book, Dr. Lefebvre describes in detail his medical observations of the Stigmata, which constitute extensive examinations, microscopic tests etc.which is beyond the scope of this article. Therefore, I will leave out all the medical details and descriptions. Those interested in such details can read them in their entirety online at the link listed in the top of this article]
"The first flow of blood occurred on the 24th of April 1868; this was a Friday. On that day the young girl noticed that blood was issuing from the left side of her chest. With her habitual reserve she said nothing about this occurrence. On the following Friday the flow recurred in the same place; in addition, blood escaped from the upper surface of both feet. Neither did she make public this second incident, but she confided it to the director of her conscience. The priest, though he considered the fact extraordinary, did not wish the imagination of the young person to dwell upon it; he reassured her, and advised her not to speak of it. On the third Friday, the 8th of May, blood flowed in the course of the night from the left side and from both feet. Towards nine in the morning it escaped in quantity from both hands, as much from the backs of the hands as from the palms.
It was impossible to keep the fact secret any longer, and the cure of Bois d'Haine counselled Louise to consult a physician. Since this time the bleeding has recurred in the same places every Friday, with certain variations that we will record later on. Finally, on the September 25,1868, the blood, for the first time, came from her forehead.

The first symptoms indicative of the approaching efflux (flow) of blood occur on the Thursday, generally about noon… The efflux of blood begins generally in the night, between Thursday and Friday, almost always between midnight and one o'clock. It does not take place from all the stigmata at once, but in succession, and not in any regular order. Most frequently it commences at the side; and at different hours the stigmata of the hands, the feet, and the forehead successively begin to bleed…. At each of my Friday visits I have taken pains to satisfy myself that the left side of the breast was bleeding. I have four times examined the part uncovered, and this is what I have ascertained : the flow occurs at the level of the space between the fifth and sixth ribs to the outer side, and a little below the middle of the left breast... I have had an opportunity of examining many times the bleeding of the head. Underneath the hair, which is soaked with blood and matted together, it is difficult to study the state of the skin; but to examine it on the forehead is, of course, easy.

To complete this description we must record that the stigmata are painful. The extreme reticence of Louise has not allowed me to ascertain exactly the degree and the character of the pain; but by observing her features, her position, and her movements when not in ecstasy, I have satisfied myself that she must suffer acutely.
The flow of blood normally ceases late Friday afternoon or evening at somewhat different hours. On the following day, Saturday, the stigmata are dry, and rather shining; here and there are seen some scales of dried blood, which soon fall off. It is unnecessary to add that there is no sign of suppuration. Louise, who on the evening before suffers much pain in using her hands and in standing, resumes very early in the morning her usual work, which she only interrupts in order to go and fulfill her religious duties at the parish church.

Description of her Ecstasies
The weekly ecstasies of Louise Lateau began on Friday, July 17, 1868—thirteen weeks after the first appearance of the stigmata. Nevertheless, Father Neils, Cure of Bois d'Haine , who has followed with as much intelligence as discretion the development of the phenomena, has remarked, before that time, certain passing raptures. He had kept note of them, but had not mentioned them to any one, and specially had he been careful not to talk about them with the young girl. The ecstasy recurs every Friday, commencing between 8:00-9:00am, and terminating towards 6:00pm; it has sometimes been prolonged until after 7:00pm. The ecstasy therefore lasts from nine to twelve hours without interruption.

Louise has had raptures of lesser duration and of a different kind at the times of the great religious festivals of the year, either at home or, very rarely, at church, during the services. But as these passing raptures have had but few witnesses, and as I have not been able to study them myself, I merely mention them casually. The ecstasy which I am about to describe is that of the Friday. It can commence during a time of recollection and prayer, or sometimes while she is speaking, or even when at work. I have been present several times at the beginning of the phenomenon under these different circumstances, and can describe it in its details.

She is accustomed to pray on the Friday mornings, and is normally is left to herself, because the wounds on the hands, and the flow of blood make work almost impossible. I have ascertained that she then makes use of the most simple and, if I may so express it, the most familiar of prayers; she says the rosary in a low voice. She is seated on a chair, sometimes a little cane arm-chair; her bleeding hands are joined underneath the linen in which she conceals them: her attitude is collected, her face calm and serene. Suddenly the eyes become fixed, motionless, turned towards heaven— the ecstasy has begun. As I have already said, I have several times seen the ecstasy begin during a conversation. I will transcribe my personal notes :

'It is 7.30 in the morning, I begin a conversation with the young girl, and I try to keep it to the most indifferent subjects; I ask her about her occupations, her amount of education, her health. She answers these questions in a simple, exact, laconic manner. During this interview her appearance is calm, the expression of her face natural, and her color normal; the skin cool, the pulse 72 beats a minute. After some time, there is a short pause, the conversation flags; I wish to renew it, but perceive that Louise is motionless, the eyes fixed above, rather to the right—she is in ecstasy.'

Dr. Imbert-Gourbeyre, professor in the School of Medicine at Clermont-Ferrand, has been a witness of the beginning of the ecstasy under the same circumstances. ' I examined and questioned Louise for an hour and a quarter,' he says; ' my last question was about the cholera patients she had nursed. She said she had seen die nine or ten of those whom she had nursed. I asked her whether she were afraid. She replied, "No." "Do you like nursing the sick?" added I. I wrote this question, my eyes fixed on my paper. Louise did not reply. I looked at her; she appeared to be wrapped in ecstasy.'

It is important to notice that, from the moment that the eyes are raised and become fixed in contemplation, the ecstasy has begun. Louise no longer replies to those who speak to her; she is insensible to all outward stimuli.
The ecstasy can also occur while she is working. I have not witnessed this, however a venerable American prelate, Mgr. d'Herbomez, Bishop of British Columbia, having been authorized to see the young girl, presented himself at the little house on Friday, August 13th, 1869, towards 8:00am. Louise was working at a sewing-machine. The stigmata bled copiously both on her hands and feet; blood oozed from her forehead and head in a regularly-formed circle, and fell on her cheeks, temples, and neck: the sewing-machine was covered with it, and the young girl was evidently making most painful efforts to continue her work. While the bishop examined and questioned her, the noise of the machine suddenly ceased. Louise was then rapt in ecstasy. Many distinguished ecclesiastics, and quite recently Canon Hallez, professor at the Seminary of Tournay, have been witnesses of this sudden commencement.

Note that work on Friday mornings was at this time imposed on her by a religious, who was instructed to study the facts from a theological point of view. He desired her to resist the ecstasy with all her might; and for this end, as a means of distracting her attention, he ordered work, in spite of the difficulties and suffering it entailed.

The ecstasy is therefore proved. Let us try to describe her state exactly. During the greater part of the time Louise remains seated. The body, inclining slightly forward, rests on the edge of the chair, motionless as a statue; the blood-stained hands are laid upon her knees, concealed in the linen which is wrapped round them; the eyelids are unmoved, and the eyes gaze upwards, rather to the right. The expression of the young girl's face is one of profound and completely absorbed attention; she seems to be lost in far-off contemplation. The expression as well as the attitude frequently changes. At one time the features expand, the eyes become moist, and a radiant smile half opens the mouth. At another, the eyelids close, and half veil the sight; the face contracts, and tears flow slowly down the cheeks. Sometimes, again, she becomes pale, and an expression of extreme terror is seen, accompanied often by tremblings and a stifled cry.

Sometimes the body slowly turns, and the eyes move, as if to follow an invisible procession. Sometimes, again, she rises, advances, and poising herself on tiptoe, seems about to hasten away. Her hands are raised, either joined or remaining outspread in the position of the ' Orantes' of the Catacombs. The lips move, she seems to pant for breath; the glance brightens; and this countenance, ordinary-looking before the ecstasy, becomes transfigured, and shines with a truly ideal beauty. Add to this spectacle the attendant circumstances of the stigmata; the forehead crowned with its bleeding circlet, from which the blood streams on to her temples and cheeks; the small white hands, each marked with a mysterious wound, from which pass forth, like rays, the tracks of blood—place in front of this wondrous spectacle groups of men and women of all ranks, amongst whom there is not a single figure which does not express respectful emotion—and you will have some idea of the scene of which we have often been the witnesses at Bois d'Haine.

Towards half-past one, as the time of the scene of the prostration which I am about to describe draws near, Louise often falls upon her knees, her hands joined, and the body bent far forwards; her face assumes an expression of more and more profound contemplation. She remains in this position for about half an hour, rises, and reseats herself. Towards two o'clock the scene changes; she leans slightly forward, rises rather slowly; then suddenly, and as though propelled forward, falls with her face to the ground. Lying extended in this position on her chest, the head rests on the left arm, the eyes are shut, the mouth half open, the lower limbs perfectly straight, the dress covering them completely.

At 3:00pm she makes a sudden movement; the arms extend themselves in the form of a cross, the feet cross over each other, the front of the right foot resting on the sole of the left. She remains in this position until nearly five o'clock. Then quickly arising, she kneels in the attitude of prayer. After some minutes of profound absorption, she sits again.

The ecstasy lasts untul 6:00 or 7:00pm. The attitude as well as the expression continues to change; it seems to reflect different impressions of her soul. The ecstasy closes with a fearful scene. The arms fall on either side of the body, the head bows itself on the chest, the eyes close, the nose becomes pinched, the face assumes a deathly pallor, and is covered with a cold sweat; the hands are icy, the pulse absolutely imperceptible; the rattle is heard.

This state lasts from ten to fifteen minutes, then life wakens again; warmth revives, the pulse quickens, and color returns to the cheeks; but for some few minutes longer the indefinable expression of ecstasy is there. Then, suddenly, the eyelids droop, the features relax, the eyes look gently from one person to another, and the ecstasy is at an end.

On following attentively the different phases of the ecstasy, we are at once convinced that while they are in progress, the intellect, far from being deadened, is, on the contrary, in most active operation. Louise is quite unconscious of her external actions, and of what has passed around her, but recollects perfectly what has passed within her mind. On this point I have often questioned her. Her recollections are very clear and precise, but she always feels reluctance to relate them, and few have ever received her confidence as to them. However, having been commanded by her bishop to answer all my questions, she has done so, simply, quietly, and clearly. According to her account, she finds herself, at the beginning of the ecstasy, surrounded by extensive and brilliant light; figures then begin to pass before her eyes, and the successive scenes of the Passion are displayed to her. She relates them concisely, but with a singular clearness. She sees our Savior. She describes His person, His clothing, His wounds, His crown of thorns, His cross. He pays no attention to her; does not look at her or speak to her. With the same precision and clearness she describes those by whom He is surrounded; the Apostles, the holy women, and the Jews.

The functions of the senses are suspended. Let us examine them in turn. The pupils are dilated; we have already said that the eyes are widely open. At the beginning of the ecstasy, some slight and partial winking continues; but when the ecstasy is at its height the eyelids are altogether motionless, and during whole hours there is not the slightest winking to be observed. The eyes, fixed on the far distance, do not respond to ordinary stimuli; an object may be passed suddenly before them, or a bright light brought rapidly near them, without causing any movement of the lids or of the eyeball itself.

Hearing, like sight, is in abeyance, or at least the ear is insensible to ordinary excitants. Several times it has happened that one of the observers placed behind her has suddenly shouted loudly in her ears, and never has the slightest start given evidence that the auditory nerve transmitted the perception. Sensation, in general, is almost entirely absent during the ecstasy. I say, almost entirely. This reservation is necessary, for there is in fact one part of the body where sensation continues in a slight degree— it is the conjunctiva.

The conjunctiva is that delicate membrane which lines the inner surface of the eyelids, where it is rose-colored, and thence passes over the eyeball, where it becomes very thin and quite transparent. The persistence of sensibility in the conjunctiva explains a phenomenon which I have several times observed in Louise Lateau : a bright light may bo suddenly brought near the eyes without producing a wink; but if the open hand is rapidly pushed towards the face, as if going to strike it, a slight winking occurs; and this is caused by the impact of air on the conjunctiva. A similar movement occurs when this membrane is touched by the tip of the finger.


I have often passed a large pin right through a fold of skin of the hands or forearm, and this I could only do with an effort and a boring action. I have left the pin thus buried in the thickness of the skin, and have pushed it in different directions. At other times I sharply thrust the point of a pen-knife into a limb, and often so deeply as to make blood come. To be absolutely certain that the young person should not be able to foresee my intention, and prepare herself in some manner to suffer the pain and brace herself up, I remained for some time quite still behind her chair, and then suddenly pierced the skin of the nape with the pen-knife, so as to make the blood spurt out. All these trials ended in the same result, viz. that neither I nor any of the medical men, or the other witnesses of these experiments, succeeded in detecting the slightest indication of sensation, or, in particular, the slightest contraction of the muscles.

When I undertook these experiments, rather cruel in their nature, I felt satisfied that the ecstatica was perfectly insensible, and consequently felt no pain from them.
A remarkable fact, and one which I have verified several times, is, that contrary to a well-established physiological law, whilst the pulse quickens more and more the respiration grows slower in the same proportion. Dr. Imbert Gourbeyre has also observed this peculiar circumstance. He has noted the gradual rise of the pulse from 90 beats per minute to 130 ; whilst the number of the respirations fell from 18 to 10. As the respiration thus becomes feeble, and the pulse diminishes to a scarcely perceptible thread, the temperature of the skin becomes lower, and a cold perspiration breaks out. As already mentioned, reaction occurs at the end often or twelve minutes; the pulse regains its normal strength and frequency; the respiration rises again; the skin returns to its usual warmth. The young person reenters ordinary life from the world of ecstasy without any transitional period. She does not complain of muscular soreness, nor of headache, nor of any inconvenience whatever. The body is active, the features composed, the look calm and clear, the intellect bright.

After the ecstasy, the pulse beats 72 to 75 in the minute; of medium strength, perfectly regular; the respirations are as full as usual, 22 in the minute ; the skin is cool, neither dry nor moist

THE GENUINE CHARACTER OF THE FACTS: A DISCUSSION OF THE THESIS OF A FRAUD

The idea of a fraud has never been credited by those who know Louise Lateau. Her upright conduct, her simple and modest piety, her heroic charity, are in their eyes the very opposite of hypocrisy. The case could not be the same for those to whom Louise was a stranger. The first impression produced in their minds by the recital of these occurrences was one of distrust. It was generally suspected that this was some pious fraud which the first glance of science would be enough to detect. I make no difficulty of confessing that I was altogether under this impression when I entered, for the first time, the little house at Bois d'Haine. This doubt was natural, legitimate, and in fact necessary; but it soon disappeared on contact with the facts.

If we regard only the production of the stigmata, the first difficulty that fraud would have found would have been to procure what was necessary to produce the wounds. Since the commencement of the phenomena the eyes of the public have been directed to all the actions of the young persons and of their mother. How could they buy, without betraying themselves, blisters, caustics, instruments, anything? For, indeed, we must acknowledge that they would have to resort to several operations, since, not to mention the stigma of the breast, the blood escapes from the forehead by abrasions; from the hands and feet by vesicles.

But let us waive this difficulty, and suppose that Louise Lateau possesses all the apparatus necessary for her work of deception; how will she, a young uneducated girl, assisted, if you will, by two or three accomplices as cunning as herself, proceed in order to cause a phenomenon that the physician with his special knowledge and the resources of his art cannot accomplish ? It is a question, in fact, of making the blood flow from nine or ten parts of the body, keeping up the flow for half a day, often for longer still, under the eyes of witnesses who would not allow any touching of the healing surfaces for the purpose of opportunely reopening them.

But the impossibility of fraud is much more evident still when the ecstasy is considered. How, in fact, can we suppose that a young girl brought up amidst the hardships of manual labour, debarred from all education, who has seen nothing and read nothing, can act, every week, for a whole day, scenes which would require the consummate skill of a professional actress; that she can simulate paralysis of the senses, and, in particular, a complete insensibility to the most painful irritants; that she can control at pleasure functions which are in their very nature beyond the power of the will; that is to say, that she can quicken or retard the heart-beats, raise or lower the temperature of her limbs, retard and even suspend those excretions which constitute the most humiliating, and at the same time the most convincing, evidence of human weakness.

It is evident, then, that even if the problem of Bois d'Haine had only one unknown quantity—either stigmatisation or ecstasy-—it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to find its solution in the hypothesis of fraud. But the question becomes singularly complex when the endeavour is made to account for these two facts at once, facts nevertheless connected together, which we cannot logically disjoin, and which must be taken together and explained together.

How can we suppose that this young girl carries on at the same time two almost contradictory frauds? —that is to say, that she counterfeits the ecstasy with the immobility and insensibility which characterise it, and produces the haemorrhage from the stigmata, which would need frequent renewing by some process or other in order to continue for ten, fifteen, or twenty hours?

How can we suppose that she has played this double part, without ever betraying herself, for nearly five years, at one time in solitude—yet not a safe solitude, for unexpected visitors might always surprise her—at another time before the eyes of the public ?

On February 11, 1870 I was passing across the parish of Bois d'Haine quite unexpectedly. As it happened to be a Friday, I wished to see Louise again. I knocked at the little house, which was at once opened to me; and crossing without delay the common room, where her two sisters were at work, I went straight into her little room. It was a quarter to four o'clock. Louise was quite alone; she was prostrate on the ground, her arms extended in form of a cross, insensible, and completely unconscious of anything going on around her. The pieces of linen which had been wrapped round her bleeding stigmata were still there. I counted nine of them. The blood which had streamed from her forehead had dried, and formed various figures, some extending to her cheek; the small white head-dress which covered her head was marked with irregular -red stains, forming a half circle, which completed the forehead's bleeding crown. I took off the headdress, and saw that the blood had flowed from points very numerous, and near together, describing around the head a complete circle, which passed across the middle of the forehead. The feet had not bled. In the right hand the flow of blood had just ceased; the clots were still soft; in the left hand a thread of blood continued to escape from the dorsal, as well as from the stigma on the palms. After having examined these different points, I left the cottage. I need not say that Louise was not conscious of my visit.

An extraordinary medical test of the Stigmata
On Wednesday, February 3,1869, at four o'clock in the afternoon, Dr. Lecrinier de Fayt, M. Niels, cure of Bois d'Haine, and M. Henri Bussin arrived at the house of Louise Lateau. They brought with them leather gloves, thick, strong, well sewn. After ascertaining that both hands were in their normal condition, and especially that there was no unusual redness, no sign of vesicle, the young person was asked to put on the gloves. They fitted exactly. A stout ribbon fastened round the base of each glove served to bind it closely round the wrist. The glove having been put on, and the ribbon passed five times round the wrist, so as to leave no space between the glove and the limb, the two ends were tied in a double knot and cut off one inch from it. The ends of the knot were then covered with melted sealing-wax, which was stamped on either side with a special seal. To prevent the seals from being broken by any accidental blow or friction, they were enclosed in little Linen bags. The arrangement was the same for both hands, except that the ends of the two first fingers of the right glove were cut, so as to uncover the ends of the thumb and the first finger, in order that Louise might go on with her work of sewing.

On the following Friday, before seven in the morning, I was at the little house at Bois d' Haine. I met there, as agreed, the witnesses who had applied the gloves and also Monsignor Ponceau, vicar-general of the diocese of Tournay, and two Belgian doctors, Dr. Moulaert of Bruges and Dr. Mussely of Deynze. Each one of us carefully examined the apparatus, ascertained the perfect integrity of the seals, the ribbon, and the gloves; and made sure that it was impossible to slip any instrument over the front or the back of the hands. These points having been determined, I cut the ribbons and removed the gloves. They were quite full of blood: the hands were steeped in it. After having washed them in warm water, we found the stigmata in the same state as on other Fridays : on the palm, as well as on the back of each hand, the epidermis was raised; it was torn and had left bare the surface of the true skin ; each of the stigmata continued to bleed as usual. With regard to the feet, which had not been subjected to any special precaution, the right was bleeding copiously, the left was dry. It is perhaps not impossible to make an objection, a very far-fetched one, no doubt, but one which we must not pass over. It may be said, "Louise learned, through some one's indiscretion, the experiment that was intended, and on Wednesday, before the coming of the witnesses, she applied to her hands the unknown agent which causes the formation of the vesicle and afterwards the hemorrhage." In other words some could say that she reasoned, "The vesicle will form too soon, the blood will flow before the usual day, but the glove will hide both vesicle and blood, and appearances will be saved."

An experiment made under other conditions, and with other witnesses, pointedly answers this objection: the gloves were fastened on, on a Tuesday, with the same excess of precautions, and removed for a few moments twenty-four hours afterwards ; the perfect integrity of both sides of the hands was ascertained, and then the gloves replaced. On Friday morning the bleeding occurred from the stigmata of each hand as copiously as iisual. These considerations and these experiments warrant me in concluding that there is not the slightest possibility of fraud producing the haemorrhage of the stigmata.

It would be easy to demonstrate by similar (physical) proofs that the ecstasy of Louise Lateau cannot be feigned. Let it suffice to call to mind the repeated tests, and especially the electric stimulation, to which I subjected her in order to satisfy myself of the insensibility which, from a physiological point of view, is the characteristic of this state. There is no physiologist who does not recognise, with me, that unless the loss of sensation were complete, the organism would, by a quivering or some other reflex movement, answer to the painful irritation of electricity.
The facts of Bois d'Haine are therefore genuine and true.

In the presence of the moral, the physiological, and the material impossibilities which I have pointed out, the hypothesis of fraud must be absolutely rejected.

Her miraculous recognition of sacred objects
The reader will immediately see that the fact I have selected belongs to an order of facts which I promised not to discuss, because they belong primarily and specially to the domain of theology. [As he stated at the beginning of this article, being a medical physician Dr Lefebvre was inclined only to study the medical phenonmenon occuring in the life of Louise Lateau -editor] Let me defend myself, therefore, by a word of explanation. I do not propose to draw from the fact I am going to relate any theological conclusion whatever. I only introduce it here because it throws great light on the objection drawn from the phenomena of clairvoyance, which those who uphold the theory of the occult sciences as explaining the facts of Bois d'Haine are continually urging against us. With this word of apology, I proceed to narrate my fact. I take it from the reports written by two eye-witnesses ; the one, one of the most eminent statesmen of our country, M. Deschamps amd the other, Monsignor d'Herbomez, Bishop of British Columbia beyond the Rocky Mountains. This venerable prelate has passed twenty years of his life in evangelizing the savages, in the midst of very cruel privations and unceasing dangers. His knowledge is equal to his piety and his apostolic zeal. I have already had occasion to mention6 that this Bishop, having obtained permission to see Louise Lateau, was admitted into the cottage on Friday, August 13, 18G9. He was accompanied by M. l'Abbe Mortier, Rector of the College of Bavay. Let me briefly remind my readers that they found the young girl busily engaged in directing the movements of her sewing-machine. Blood was flowing abundantly from her feet, hands, side, and all round her head. The Bishop entered into conversation with her, and was questioning her visions. She answered in her ordinary quiet manner, but with perfect intelligence. Presently the machine stopped all of a sudden; the girl's hands remained motionless, and she was in an ecstasy. The Bishop and his companion followed the various scenes of this ecstasy all through the day, and have described them in their report; but they need not be repeated here, as the reader is already familiar with them. They tried several experiments with relics and other blessed objects. About ten o'clock they were joined by the parish priest, on his return from administering the last sacraments to a poor old woman in the neighborhood. It is necessary to explain that country priests in Belgium sometimes carry the Blessed Sacrament and the holy oils in two separate compartments of the same silver vessel; that is to say, the two parts of the vessel may be separated at will, and the part which contains the Blessed Sacrament is called the custode (in England, the pyx); but ordinarily they are united, and this double vessel is carried from place to place in a silken burse. As the cure had communicated the sick woman with the only Host which the pyx contained, he supposed—and so also did the Bishop and his companion—that there was now nothing in the sacred vessel but the holy oils ; otherwise they would not have dared to break the laws of the Church by making the experiment I am going to relate.

It occurred to them to try what would be the effect upon Louise of bringing her into contact with the vessel containing the holy oils. The effects which followed were so extraordinary, that they thought it necessary to call a forth witness. And it was in this way that the eminent statesman I have spoken of, whose country-house was close by, was begged to come to the cottage of Bois d'Haine. The facts I am going to tell took place in his presence, and I will here, simply as an historian and not as a doctor, copy his report word for word, with which that of the Bishop exactly coincides in every detail; they are both lying open before me:

M. l'Abbe Mortier (the experiment was made by the Bishop and the Rector alternately)' wished to present the box of holy oils to the lips of Louise. When he was about two yards from the chair on which she was sitting, she experienced an extraordinary movement of most lively emotion and a transport of gladness. She got up, and fell suddenly on her knees in an attitude of adoration, her hands joined, starting forward and stretched towards the sacred vessels; her figure was quite seraphic. The Abbe retired a little, but still retaining the blest object in his hands, and she followed him as he slowly withdrew. She seemed to be half kneeling, half standing, leaning forwards with her hands elapsed; she looked like one drawn by a magnet, and as though she was gliding rather than walking. In this way both the Rector and the Bishop made the complete circuit of the room; whenever they stopped, she fell on her knees and adored. When they got back near to her chair, they withdrew the sacred vessels to a distance from her, whereupon she sat down, returned to her previous state of immobility, and the usual scenes of the ecstasy were continued as on other Fridays.

Monsignor d'Herbomez thought that some particle of the Blessed Sacrament must be still remaining in the pyx without the knowledge of the parish priest, who perhaps had not had time to make the usual purification of the sacred vessels. To satisfy himself on this point, he separated the two parts of the vessel, and then offered the part which contained the holy oils to Louise. He found that he could do this without causing her to make any unusual movement; and even when he touched her lips with it, she only gave a gentle smile, as she does whenever she comes in contact with objects that are blessed. But when he presented the other portion, or pyx, even at the distance of two yards from her, the whole scene which I have just described was repeated—the kneeling, the adoration, and the transports of delight. They left the cottage five hours later, and all four went together to the parish church, where the Bishop opened the pyx in the presence of the other witnesses, and they found that a considerable particle of the sacred species had been left in the sacred vessel.

Such is the fact, affirmed by men whose testimony is above all suspicion, and it may be added that there were three other witnesses also, the mother and two sisters of Louise.

In thinking over this very wonderful fact, one objection continually presented itself to my mind. I know how strongly the partisans of magnetism are disposed to believe in the reality of the phenomena of clairvoyance, however improbable; and I considered that they would certainly claim for Louise an exceptional degree of that power; they would say that she had recognized the sacred vessels in their usual covering of silk, and that she had even seen, by means of her exceptional powers of clairvoyance, the holy oils in their silver box, and the fragment of the Host in the pyx. This doubt has certainly no great claim to be considered as a scientific doubt; nevertheless, I was anxious to remove it, and I therefore asked for another experiment by way of counter-proof, and it was made under the following circumstances.

On Friday, November 19, 1869, at 9:00am, the parish priest, accompanied by Canon Halley, a distinguished professor of the seminary of Tournai, entered the cottage of widow Lateau. Louise was already in her ordinary ecstasy. The priest had brought in the same silken burse as before a little silver vessel exactly like the pyx, and in it was an unconsecrated Host. Here, then, was the very same outward apparatus (so to speak) as Monsignor d'Herbomez had held in his hands on the former occasion. I said to myself, therefore, 'If Louise is a clairvoyant, she will recognize those things which are used for the administration of the Sacraments to the sick; she will see the burse, the pyx, and even the Host that it contains. She will immediately believe that the Blessed Sacrament is here, and we shall have a repetition of the scenes of adoration which have been already described.' The parish priest offered the vessel to Louise, but she made no manifestation, no transport of joy, no act of adoration; she remained absolutely insensible and immovable.

Thus it is demonstrated that the fact of August 13, attested by the Bishop of British Columbia and his fellow eyewitnesses, was no phenomenon of somnambular or hypnotic clairvoyance, or of any other nervous affection whatever. This conclusion is most strictly logical, and it is out my province to draw any other conclusion from the fact I have narrated; that must be left to theologians, who will study the same phenomena from another point of view.”
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The Servant of God Anne-Louise Lateau died on August 25, 1883 at age 33 -the same age as her beloved Jesus. In 1991, the Cause for her Beatification was officially opened in Rome.

The above information was taken from the book “Louise Lateau of Bois D’Haine, Her Life, Her Ecstasies and Her Stigmata”, by Dr. Ferdinand J.M. Lefebvre, published by London, Burns and Oats, 1873 and available in its entirety on the Internet thru Google Books, located here: “Louise Lateau of Bois D’Haine, Her Life, Her Ecstasies and Her Stigmata”

Click here for more information of the life of the Servant of God Anne Louise Lateau

“The Bois D’Haine event is an extraordinary one. You can affirm, on my behalf, that medical science will never be able to explain such a fact.” -Statement of Pope Leo XII on April 23, 1873

Anne Louise Lateau


Servant of God Anne Louise Lateau –Stigmatic, Mystic and Victim soul (1850-1883)

Note- Anne Louise Lateau has been officially declared a “Servant of God” and her cause for Beatification was opened in Rome in 1991. –Editor.

“The Bois D’Haine event is an extraordinary one. You can affirm, on my behalf, that medical science will never be able to explain such a fact.” -Statement of Pope Leo XII on April 23, 1873

Her early life
Anne Louise Lateau was born at Bois d'Haine, Belgium on 13 January, 1850. Her father, Gregory was then 28 years old, was a simple metal worker, employed at a neighbouring foundry. Sadly, he contracted smallpox and died on April 17, 1850, three months after the birth of Louise, leaving the mother Adele (Pissens) Lateau to care for her, and her two young sisters.

The eldest daughter, Vosine, was just three years old; the second, Adeline, a little more than two; and the third, Louise, was just under three months. At the time of their fathers death, nothing could he imagined more helpless and desolate than the condition of this little household. The poor mother, who had almost died in giving birth to Louise, was still quite ill and not yet able to leave her bed; Louise herself was suffering from the malignant disease [smallpox] which had carried her father to the grave ; and, to crown their misery, friends and neighbors all shrunk away, in terror, from the infected dwelling.

Little Vosine, age 3, did all that a little child could do. Passing back and forth between the sick bed of her mother and the cradle of her infant sister Louise, she managed to bring to them, with her tiny hands, the absolute necessaries of life. Days passed by and the scanty resources of the poor cottage were soon exhausted, and hunger began to be felt.

In this extremity, help finally came from the hands of a good peasant, named Francis Delalieu. This most worthy man, suspecting how matters must be, made his way into the house, twelve days after the father's death. He found Louise close to dying, while the rest of the family were reduced to last extremes. He sent at once for provisions, and relieved their most pressing necessities: nor did he cease, from that day onwards, to watch over and assist them, until they were all restored to health and strength. May the name of this simple peasant, Francis Delalieu, and his extraordinary charity be always remembered!

The mother's illness was serious and protracted, and finally after two and a half years she regained her former health, however she found herself and her family with barely any means of support, except the little piece of ground on which the cottage stood, and which, in happier days, had been her own marriage portion. But she accepted her hard lot with a bold and courageous spirit. She resolved to struggle against poverty, and to keep herself independent. Morning and night she devoted herself to the care of her children, and all day long she toiled for their daily bread. While she was away at her work, she had to leave them at home by themselves, putting the two younger children under the care of the oldest. Poor little children, they had many privations to endure! -They had to bear the cold of winter often without a fire, and we are told that their food was extremely frugal. Nevertheless, thanks be to God they grew up strong and healthy, and the time soon came when they were able to help their mother and share in the daily labors.

At the age of eight, Louise was placed, for a short time, with a feeble old woman of the neighborhood, who required assistance while her son was absent at work. Later on, she was sent to school for five months. There she manifested good dispositions, learned her catechism, and made some progress in reading and writing. This was all the schooling she ever received. At age eleven, she made her First Holy Communion ; and then went to live with an aunt on her father’s side who lived at Manage. This good woman was seventy-eight years of age, and very infirm; she died two years afterwards, and Louise, who had served her during that time with remarkable zeal and devotion, went next into the service of a lady in Brussels.

Here she became ill and was obliged to leave after seven months. But afterwards this woman never ceased to regard Louise with much admiration and affection, and came to see her from time to time at Louises’ home in Bois d'Haine. Within a few weeks of arriving home, Louise was well again, and once more at work; having found a new engagement in the family of a small farmer at Manage. From this place she was, soon after, called back home by her mother; and from this point on she remained at home for the rest of her life, devoting herself entirely to needlework (sewing) and household duties.

Her extraordinary charity at age 16 in the face of death –The Cholera plague
Another striking feature of her nature is her charity. Poor herself, she has always had a passion for helping the poor. When as a child, we see in the facts already given above that she devoted herself to the care of the sick, with a remarkable forgetfulness of self and unusual tact, according to those involved. After she moved back home, for many years, when someone died in the town, it was almost always Louise who helped the grieving family and prepared the body for burial.

(Photo left- House of Louise Lateau) In 1866, the horrible and deadly disease cholera became prevalent in Belgium, and broke out at Bois d'Haine. It cannot be said to have made great ravages there, but, as in many other places, it created a panic and gave occasion to certain acts of cowardice, which one can easily understand, perhaps even excuse, and out of respect for human weakness, one would prefer to leave untold, if it were not important to reveal in this narrative.

At this time, the cholera plague struck first a working man's family, composed of seven persons. The four sons, yielding to panic of the contagious disease, abandoned the house, leaving their father, mother, and sister struck down by its ravages. Knowing of Louise’s holiness and charity, the parish priest, whose assistance was needed also by others, sent for Louise. She took up her abode in the abandoned house, and alone attended upon the father and mother up to their last hour—they died both on the same day; and she continued her kind care to their daughter until the sons, feeling doubtless some remorse, returned to the cottage for an instant, just to carry their sister away to another house. Thus left alone, Louise laid out the two dead bodies; then, with the assistance of her sister Adeline, placed them in a coffin and managed to carry them out of the infected house.

Some men, encouraged by the heroic example of these young girls, then took the bodies to the cemetery. Louise, with the doctor and the priest, continued this work during the whole time that the epidemic lasted. She never left the houses into which the plague had manifested. Of course, she could not be everywhere at once; but she nursed six cholera patients in the month, continually laid out the dead, and even carried several of them to the cemetery. And she did all this when she was a mere child of sixteen. When the pestilence finally abated, she retired again into obscurity.

Because of her past reputation of universal charity for the sick, for years afterwards, when someone in town was sick and had no one to care for them, Louise was called for, and she immediately went to the sick person, regardless of the type of illness, be it contagious or not, and cared for them with an remarkable zeal, sincere charity and concern, and would stay and care for them as much as was possible.

Her personality and moral character
Louise Lateau is described as a person of simple upright character, and of a cheerful, kindly, unselfish disposition. She is intelligent, but not exceedingly so, quite simple and not at all prone to exaggeration or imagination. Kindness and good common sense seems to be her distinguishing characteristics. Her piety, too, is practical and unobtrusive. Entirely free from exaggeration, she follows the beaten paths; but she follows them with fidelity. She loves solitude and retirement ; and, except in obedience to her ecclesiastical superiors, she never speaks about the extraordinary phenomena of which she is the subject.

On this last point Doctor Lefebvre made very minute inquiries ; and he assures us that, though she has some female friends of her own age, to whom she has been affectionately attached from her childhood, the question of her ecstasies and her stigmata is never spoken of between them. In fact, she maintains the same reserve even with her mother and her sisters, and they, on their part, never introduce the subject in her presence. Thus we can see her extreme reserve in regards to the extraordinary mystical graces that she has been given by God.

Louise is given the Stigmata
On Friday, April 24, 1868, the first trace of the Stigmata appeared. She noticed that some blood flowed, on that day, from her left side. With her usual reserve she made no mention of it to any one, not even to her mother or sisters.

On the next Friday, blood came again, from the same spot, and also from the upper surface of both feet. She now confided the matter to her spiritual director, the “Cure” or Parish priest of Bois d'Haine. The priest, though greatly struck by so extraordinary a phenomenon, wisely and prudently downplayed the event. He tried to restore her peace and tranquility, and told her to say nothing about it.

On the third Friday, May 8, blood flowed, during the night, from her left side, and her feet; and towards nine o'clock in the morning, it came also abundantly from the palms and backs of her hands. She passed for the first time, into an Ecstasy, on Friday July 17, in the same year: and two months later, on Friday, September 25, the coronet or crown of bleeding points appeared around her head. All these phenomena, from the time of their first appearance, were repeated on each successive Friday, with little or no interruption: the only exceptions being, that the bleeding coronet was occasionally absent during the first year, and that the other Stigmas failed to bleed on two occasions.

From the time that blood began to issue from her hands, the extraordinary condition of Louise could no longer remain a secret. The news spread abroad. Crowds assembled weekly round her mother's house; and the excitement soon became so great that the ecclesiastical authorities felt it their duty to take some action in the matter. It was then that they asked Doctor Lefebvre to institute a thorough scrutiny of the whole case, from a medical point of view. His study commenced on August 13, 1868, and continued for one and a half years.

With a view to investigate its character still more closely, Doctor Lefebvre, as he tells us, "installed a microscope" in the cottage of Louise, and examined the blood, at the moment of its escape from the body. In this examination he was assisted by two of his medical colleagues, who were both skilled in microscopical researches, Dr Hairion, Professor of Hygiene, and Dr. Van Kempen, Professor of Anatomy.

After a careful scrutiny, they were all fully satisfied that the stigmatic blood of Louise presents no peculiarity of structure or appearance. The red and white corpuscles are quite of a normal character, and are mixed in the ordinary proportion. The plasma, or liquid in which they are suspended, is colorless, as is usual, and perfectly transparent. In a word, the red fluid of the Stigmas, whether taken as a whole or examined in its constituent elements, is simply an average specimen of healthy human blood.

The glove tests on the Stigmata
The stigmata appeared every week around midnight on Thursday evening, and remain until late Friday afternoon, usually around 5:00pm. In his effort to be absolutely thorough in his investigation, on two separate occasions, Dr Lefebvre with one other Physician placed specially fitted gloves on Louise, affixing them with a special cord and wax seal that made it impossible to tamper with without detection. The end result was that the stigmata appeared on Thursday evening, as usual, with the sealed gloves on, giving the attending Physicians sufficient proof of the supernatural origin of the Stigmata.

There can be little doubt that the bleeding of the Stigmata is a source of pain, though Louise never spoke of it. During the Ecstasy, indeed, she was probably unconscious of pain, as she was of every other bodily sensation. But before the Ecstasy has set in, and after it has ceased, Doctor Lefebvre was convinced that she suffered acutely; judging as well from pathological considerations, as from the expression and movements of her countenance, and her obvious sensitivity in those areas.

Towards evening on Friday, the bleeding usually stops; but not always at the same hour. On the next day, the Stigmata are dry and somewhat glossy. Here and there may be observed some scales of dried blood, but they are soon cast off; and a new epidermis is furnished by Nature instead of that which was destroyed. Thus, early on Saturday morning, Louise is back at her ordinary work. She only interrupts her work to go to Mass to receive Holy Communion at the Parish Church.
Her Ecstasies

Louise's ecstasies normally began between 9:00-10:00am on Friday morning, and normally lasted until about five in the afternoon that same day. Louise, being unfit for work on Friday on account of the bleeding Stigmata, is generally at her prayers when the ecstasy comes on. Nevertheless, the ecstasy comes on all the same, even though she be engaged in distracting conversation. Doctor Lefebvre has been present on many an occasion of this kind : and of one, in particular, he has given us a very exact record.

"It is half-past seven in the morning. I open a conversation with the girl, and I make it a point to engage her attention with things the most indifferent. I ask her about her occupations, her education, her health. She answers my questions simply, exactly, briefly. During the course of this conversation, her look is calm, the expression of her face is natural, and it wears its accustomed colour. Her skin is cool: her pulse beats seventy-two in the minute. After some time the conversation languishes, and there is a pause of a few moments. I wish to begin again, but I perceive that Louise is motionless, with her eyes raised up and fixed in contemplation. She is rapt in Ecstasy."

An account very similar to this, and written, like it, on the spot, is given to us by Doctor Imbert Gourbeyre, professor in the medical school of Clermont, in Auvergne. " I had been examining and questioning Louise," he says, " for an hour and a quarter. My last question was about the cholera patients whom she had attended. She told me she had seen nine or ten of them die. I ask her if she was afraid. She answers that she was not. ' Are you fond then of nursing the sick ?' I say; and I go on writing this question, with my eyes fixed on the paper. Louise gives no answer. I look up at her, and see that she is already in her Ecstasy." In the summer of 1869, Louise was directed by her spiritual superiors, to resist the Ecstasy, as far as lay in her power. This course was considered desirable for the purpose of a strict investigation of her case from a Theological point of view. It was even prescribed that, on Friday mornings, she was to remain at her ordinary work, whatever difficulty or pain she might experience in doing so. About this time, the Bishop of British Columbia, Doctor d'Herbomez, obtained permission from the ecclesiastical authorities to see the Ecstatica: and he presented himself at the house, attended by the Abbe Mortier, on Friday, 13 August, 1869, about 8:00am.

When he entered, Louise was at work with the sewing machine. Her hands and feet were bleeding profusely. On her forehead, too, and round her head, in a complete circle, blood was flowing copiously, and it was streaming down over her face and neck. The sewing machine was covered with it; and only by the most painful exertions, was the poor girl able to continue her work.

The Bishop entered into conversation with her, and asked her some questions. She answered with her usual quietness of manner, and with perfect intelligence, going on meanwhile with her task, according to the instructions she had received. All at once, the machine stopped short: her hands were still: her body motionless. The work had ceased, the Ecstasy begun.

The attitude as well as the countenance of the Ecstatica undergoes many and frequent changes. Now her body moves slowly round, as on a pivot, and her eyes seem to follow the progress of some invisible procession : anon she rises from her seat, advances a few steps, and raises up her hands in prayer. At one moment, her features expand, and a smile of delight plays across her face: at another, her eyelids fall, her features contract, and tears roll down her cheeks; again, she trembles and grows pale ; an expression of terror is depicted on her countenance ; and a stifled cry escapes from her lips. She often lays prostrate on the floor, arms extended in the form of a cross.

Most startling and solemn of all is the closing scene of the ecstasy. The Ecstatic girl quickly rises from the floor, on which she has lain so long prostrate. Her pulse, which in the early stages was healthy and regular, beating seventy-five strokes a minute, has gradually become extremely rapid, and at the same time feeble. It is now hardly perceptible, and, when distinct enough to be counted, is found to be going at the rate of a hundred and twenty to the minute. Her breathing, too, has got fainter and fainter, and often cannot be recognized at all, except by having recourse to artificial means of observation. Death at length seems to be approaching. The body is cold: the eyes are closed: the head falls down on the chest. A. deadly pallor overspreads the face, and a cold sweat breaks cut through the skin ; even the rattle comes in her throat.

This condition lasts about ten minutes; and then the current of life flows back. The body gets warm: the pulse revives: the cheeks resume their wonted color: the contracted face expands again. Then the reanimated girl looks gently round; her eyes fall softly first on one, then on another of the familiar objects around; and the ecstasy is over.

Her mystical recognition of Blessed objects and the Holy Eucharist
Louise carries back from her Ecstasy a lively recollection of the scenes she has witnessed, She does not, indeed, talk of them freely : but, under the command of her Bishop, she answers Doctor Lefebvre with precision and simplicity, whenever he examines her about them.

Her account is, that as soon as the Ecstasy comes on, she finds herself plunged in a sea of light: then figures begin to appear; and the various scenes of the Passion are enacted before her eyes. Not a word is spoken that she can hear : but the processions move sadly along, as if in living reality. The Apostles are there, and the Jews, the Roman soldiers, the holy women. She sees the Saviour, too, and can describe minutely his appearance, His clothes, His wounds, the crown of thorns, the cross.

But it would seem that Louise is favored, in her Ecstasy, with a still higher degree of illumination, akin to the spirit of prophecy. While she remains insensible to every other voice, she recognises at once, and obeys, the voice of one who has spiritual jurisdiction over her;—whether it be her Bishop, her parish priest, or any other priest to whom, for the occasion, jurisdiction has been given, unknown to her.
In like manner, sacred objects of any kind, presented to her lips,—blessed beads, or medals, or crosses,—are sure to bring a smile of joy over her face: while the very same material things, if not blessed, produced no effect whatsoever. This prophetic instinct, as it may be called, has been often tested, and never known to fail. On one remarkable occasion, it was manifested in a very wonderful way indeed.

The reader will remember that Louise was visited, one Friday in August, by Doctor d'Herbomez, Bishop of British Columbia, attended by the Abbe Mortier; and that she passed into her Ecstasy, on that day, whilst at work with her sewing machine. Her distinguished visitors, having seen the Ecstasy thus wonderfully begin, resolved to remain throughout the day, and to watch its progress. About ten o'clock the Cure of the parish came in. He had been attending a sick woman in the neighborhood; and had with him, enclosed in a silk bag, a small silver case, called a Pyx, in which he had carried the Blessed Sacrament [Holy Eucharist] to her house. In the same bag was another silver case, which contained the Holy Oil used for the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.

As the Cure had taken but a single consecrated host from the Church, and had given that to the sick woman, he of course believed that the Pyx was now empty: and it occurred to him that he might, without irreverence, employ the silk bag, with the two sacred vessels it contained, as a test for Louise. Accordingly, he took it out, just as it was, and gave it to the Abbe Mortier, who wished to make the experiment.
The result was far more striking than had been expected. Before the Abbe Mortier had come within two yards of the chair on which Louise in ecstasy was seated, she rose up, as in a transport of joy, and fell on her knees in adoration. The Abbe retired a little: she followed him. He retired further: she followed still. And so he drew her round the room.

Her attitude, during this scene, was very peculiar. She was partly kneeling, but her knees did not touch, the ground: her body leaned forward : her hands were joined as in prayer. She did not walk, but rather glided over the floor: and wherever the bag with the sacred vessels was carried, there she followed, as a needle follows the loadstone. At length, the silk bag, with its contents, was put aside. She then resumed her seat, and subsided into her state of motionless contemplation.

This extraordinary scene was repeated several times that day; the sacred vessels being presented sometimes by the Bishop, sometimes by the Abbe Mortier. At first, the only witnesses present, besides the mother and sisters of Louise, were the three ecclesiastics ; and it was wisely judged expedient to secure, if possible, the presence of some distinguished layman. A message was accordingly sent to an eminent statesman, who happened, just then, to be staying at his country house, not far off. He came at once to the house of Louise; and along with the others, witnessed, again and again, the strange phenomena described above.

The Bishop conjectured that, by some chance, a consecrated host, or possibly a part of one, had remained in the Pyx, without the knowledge of the Cure: and that this was the cause of all the emotions, and the movements of adoration on the part of Louise. He proposed, therefore, to separate the sacred vessels, and to test the effect of each of them individually, separately.

First he took the case containing the Holy Oil, and presented it to the Ecstatica. No effect was produced until it touched her lips; and then she smiled, as she is accustomed to do, at the contact of things that are blessed. The Pyx was next presented. When it was jet two yards off, the transport of joy returned: she fell upon her knees, in adoration, as before, and followed the sacred vessel whithersoever it was carried.

It was five o'clock in the afternoon, when the Bishop and his three fellow-witnesses left the cottage. They went at once together to the Parish Church. There, in the presence of all four, the Pyx was opened, and it was found to contain a pretty considerable fragment of a consecrated Eucharist.

The statesman, who had been so unexpectedly called from his home in the morning, and had passed the greater part of the day in the house of Louise, went home deeply impressed and edified with the scenes he had witnessed, and drew up, at his leisure, a careful report of the facts. This report was subsequently confirmed, even to the smallest details, by the ecclesiastical witnesses; and from it has been mainly derived the account which has here been set forth.

The events of this memorable day were soon brought to the knowledge of Doctor Lefebvre. He recognized, at once, that the facts were established by evidence which few would call in question. But he fancied that some might be found who would attempt to account for these facts by natural means, and would refer them, perhaps, to those mysterious powers, supposed by some philosophers to be developed in certain peculiar states of the mind, and known under the name of Clairvoyance. They would say, that the girl, in her trance, enjoyed an exceptional keenness of intellectual vision, by virtue of which her mind was enabled to pierce through the silk bag and the two silver cases ; and thus she became conscious that the one contained only the Holy Oil, the other, a consecrated host. To meet this explanation, a new and ingenious test was devised by Doctor Lefebvre.

On Friday, 19 November, in the same year, the Cure of Bois d'Haine came to the house of Louise, accompanied by an eminent professor from Tournay, the Reverend Canon Hallez. It was 9:00am, when they arrived, and Louise was already in her Ecstasy. They had brought with them a Pyx, exactly resembling the one that had produced such wonderful effects on the thirteenth of August; and it was enveloped in the same silk bag that had been used on that occasion. In the Pyx they placed a small host, not consecrated.

Here, then, all the material conditions were exactly the same as before. Yet when the silk bag, with the Pyx in it, was presented to Louise, and even pressed against her lips, there was no change, no act of adoration, not even a faint movement of the features: she remained fixed in contemplation, insensible, motionless.

It was plain, therefore, so far as these experiments went, that the suggested theory of Clairvoyance, even if admitted to be true, would not be sufficient to account for the facts. Louise was vehemently affected by the presence of a consecrated host, while she was insensible to the presence of a host that was not consecrated. Consequently she possessed, for the time being, not only the extraordinary power of penetrating, with her mental vision, through the silk bag and the silver case, but the still more extraordinary power of discerning a Eucharistic host that was consecrated from one that was not: and such a faculty of discrimination as this, has never yet bean ascribed, even by the wildest visionary, to the powers of Clairvoyance.

Her mystical recognition of Priests and holy relics
The section below is taken from the book "As the Bishop saw it- From America to Rome" By Caspar Henry Borgess. Edited by Very Rev. Frank A. O'Brien.
The book is based on the memoirs of RIGHT REV. CW BORGESS, D. D., the late Bishop Of Detroit. Bishop Borgess gives his eyewitness testimony of his visit to Anne Louise Lateau on Friday morning, July 20, 1877:
[Louise was in ecstasy at the time of the visit] "....The first of our party to step forward and bless her was Rev. A., and, in response, Louise smiled. This so-called "Smile" is not really a smile, in the natural order, but a peculiar lighting up of her countenance, her lips opening enough to see the teeth. As a test of her mystical recognition, Rev. S. was dressed as a farmer and normally wears a slight beard on his chin, and on this day, not having shaved, and wearing his duster (which ought to have been white), he had anything but a clerical appearance. He stepped forward to the foot of the bed and blessed her. As she responded, by the peculiar smile, a prolonged "Oh!" was heard all over the room, in the supposition that Rev. S. was what he appeared—a dutch farmer. M. Cure and the newspaper man simultaneously exclaimed: "Monsigneur, is that gentleman a priest?" and having answered in the affirmative, a joyous "Oh!" re-echoed once again through the room.
Now, Mr. M., as you remember, was mistaken for a priest in Chicago; and, several times on our European trip, he was believed to be my reverend companion. He advanced to bless her and did it in a very patriarchal manner, forming a large cross in a very solemn way, but Louise did not smile. This so forcibly struck the old gentleman, that he turned away and wept bitterly.

Next, the Benedictine Father from England, went around, stood behind the headboard of the bed, and, from there, blessed Louise, which she again acknowledged by the beautiful "Smile." All these experiments were made in solemn silence, all eyes being fixed on the Ecstatic, and the hearts throbbing in admiration of the marvels witnessed.

Yesterday, Monsigneur Dumond, speaking to me of the Ecstatic, said: "I do not know, and wished not to be informed, whether your pectoral cross has a 'Relic of the Holy Cross' enclosed in it. But if it has that relic in it, I will now state how Louise Lateau will act when you present it to her: She will rise in her bed in a sitting posture, and hold the cross in her folded hands; her countenance will beam with joy, and she will thus remain till you take it away. And, Monsigneur, I do hereby give you all the authority which I have in her regard."
Of course, I was anxious to verify this statement, made one day before our arrival at Bois d'Haine.

Therefore at the right moment, I took off my pectoral cross and held it by the chain over the breast of the Ecstatic. Like a flash she arose, bent over in a complete semi-circle, holding my cross in her tightly-clasped hands, her eyes raised to Heaven, and her countenance beaming with joy, as if lit up by a Divine ray. I again took hold of the chain, without intending to take the cross away from her, and began to pull upwards, when I discovered, to my greatest amazement, that I could lift the Ecstatic at will, as if she weighed but a pound. But my amazement increased to awe, when, in obedience to my thought, the Ecstatic promptly relaxed her hold of my cross and dropped, as if dead, on the bed. She had firmly clasped the cross with both hands all bloody—the precious streams flowing down the wrists for several minutes. But my cross had not a stain of blood on it — yes, it looked as if it had just been polished. A new revelation had been made, and for the confirmation of it, I commanded her, in thought, to consciousness. At once she obeyed, turned her head towards me, and looked inquiringly at me.

In thought again I said [only in thought, not aloud], "That is enough," and her head that moment dropped back, her eyes were fixed, and, as before, she ceased to breathe, at least as far as I could notice. It is said that Louise understands and speaks only the French language, but I am convinced, by the experiment made by me, that in her ecstacy she understands equally well English, German and Latin."
(cf. "As the Bishop saw it" pgs. 160-167)

Other extraordinary graces that were given to Louise
Beginning on March 26, 1871 and continuing until her death in 1883, that is for 12 years, she ate no food whatsoever, and lived entirely on the Holy Eucharist. She drank only an average of 3 to 4 glasses of water per week. This extraordinary grace brought her some additional unwanted attention from the popular press, at least one of whom dubbed her as the “Belgian fasting girl”. Additionally for this same period of 12 years, she did not require any sleep at all, and normally passed her nights in contemplation and prayer, often kneeling at the foot of her bed.

A summary of the medical commissions findings concerning Louise: 
As stated earlier, Louise was intensely examined over many years; in fact, along with Padre Pio and Therese Neumann she may be the most thoroughly investigated stigmatist of all time. The distinguished commission that was ordered to investigate her case including the following: Cardinal Deschamps, Archbishop ofMalines; Monsignor Labis, Bishop of Tournai; and Dr. Lefebvre, professor at Louvain University and a member of the Belgian Academy of Science. In addition to this original inquiry, Dr. Lefebvre set up another inquiry on Louise Lateau for further examination, 1874-76. His reports, taken from Dr. Bourneville's pamphlet, "Louise Lateau ou la stigmatisee belgs" (Progress Medical, Paris, 1875), are thoroughly documented. Here is only a few of the major conclusions of these highly qualified investigative teams:
1. After Louise showed the first signs of bleeding on April 24, 1868, she continued to bleed every week until her death on August 25, 1883. All-in-all, the total number of bleedings was approximately 800.
2. Louise first felt the burning pains of the stigmata on Tuesdays, and this continued through Thursdays. Come Thursday, these pains turned into blisters which would form over the stigmata, especially evident on the back of her hands. 3. The wounds that formed on her hands and feet were of a dark red color that was circular in fashion.
4. Intense bleeding usually occurred from Thursday or Friday nights through Saturday. The beginning of the bleeding normally started between midnight and one in the morning.
5. About 250 grams of blood was lost during each Passion ecstasy.
6. The wound on Louise's side was located between the fifth and sixth ribs, a little below the left breast.
7. The foot wounds were located between the third and fourth metatarsals. Both feet (as well as the hands) were marked with the same identical wounds.
8. The crown of thorn wounds was seen as a circular pattern of some twelve to fifteen points that formed around the forehead. This area was painful and swollen.
9. The scalp showed evidence of hemmorhaging as well.
10. A fresh lesion was observed on the right shoulder, a reminder of the Cross that Christ carried on His way to Calvary. 

Her holy Death
After an extraordinary life of love for God and of suffering in union with Jesus for the conversion of sinners, Anne-Louise Lateau died on August 25, 1883 at age 33 -the same age as her beloved Jesus. In 1991, the Cause for her Beatification was officially opened.

~Anne-Louise Lateau, pray for us!

Source for this article is the book “A Visit to Louise Lateau” by Rev Father Gerald Malloy D.D., Published by London Burns, Oats and Co, 1873, and available from Google Books for free viewing or downloading in its entirety here: "A Visit to Louise Lateau"

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