Ivana Buchdrucker

Ivana Sarto Buchdrucker (1931-2004)

***Important note: In 1980 Ivana Buchdrucker had recieved a negative decision from the local bishop, the details of which are provided below. This article is for informational and documentation purposes only, and is not intended to promote Ivana Buchdrucker in any way.


One person that over the years I have received numerous emails about is Ivana Buchdrucker from Cleveland, Ohio whose life was reportedly full of extraordinary mystical gifts, most particularly she reportedly experienced the stigmata on her hands, feet and forehead on the first Friday of each month, along with mystical visions.

The file I now have on her from numerous persons is quite extensive, and it is full of very positive testimonials. Without a doubt there was a good deal of very remarkable events which occurred throughout her life. When I sought to research information about her, I found practically nothing on the internet, which I found very strange considering her relatively long period in which she was said to be a mystic and stigmatic (26 years). 

When I contacted the Cleveland Archdiocese to see if they had any information about Ivana, I soon discovered the reason why there is practically no information about her on the internet--that being the fact that in 1980, the local Bishop in the Cleveland Diocese issued an unfavorable decision concerning her, which for the historical record I am posting below.

As most of you reading this know, the Catholic Church gives authority to the local Bishops to make decisions concerning alleged mystics and visionaries in their local diocese. In such cases, a formal investigation is usually performed under the request and guidance of the local Bishop, and over a period of time the authenticity of the alleged mystic or visionary is determined through a variety of tests passed down over the centuries which serves as a means of discernement used by the Church. 

In most cases, the decision of the local Bishop is usually a negative decision, which is not surprising as it corresponds to the wisdom of St Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Passionist Order and himself a great mystic, who once stated that 9 out of 10 alleged mystics and visionaries are not authentic, meaning at best they are self- deluded, and at worst they are being inspired by the Evil One. 

I will add here that my personal experience and contention when it comes to purported mystics and visionaries is that the majority of such persons are simply mistaken in their interpretations of daily events in their lives, wherein they attribute extraordinary Supernatural events to what actually falls into the spehere of ordinary events of the human condition. In other words, I believe most such persons are simply mistaken in their interpretation of personal events, and they are not actually being willfully deceptive- although in the study of mystics one does occasionally come across individuals who are actually being deceptive and/or are being decieved by evil. And as far as I can tell, the latter was not the case with Ivana Buchdrucker, as all reports I have come across attest to her sincerity. As to whether she was sincerely deluded, that is another question.

But going back to the events surrounding the life of Ivana, here is what one person who was very close to her the last decade or so of Ivana's life wrote concerning her:

 SHE WAS A MOST HUMBLE SERVANT OF GOD. A mystic, stigmatic and victim soul. (1931-2004)

Ivana Sarto Buchdrucker was born on December 8th, 1931 in a small village near Venice, Italy. She was raised in a very poor family having dirt floors in the home. Ivana loved Our Lord at a very young age and always wanted to go to church to pray. As a child she would pushed a cart throughout the village hoping to find food where she could help with feeding the family. 

  In the late 1960's she emigrated to America, making her home in Cleveland, Ohio. 

  In 1973, Ivana had suffered an industrial accident while working in a factory. She had limited mobility in her right hand and leg, the limbs being in a semi-paralyzed state. Dr. Satayathum, a bone specialist and Ivana's personal physician, said that x-rays and numerous tests over the past 4 years revealed, back, neck and arm problems. "She could hardly use her right arm," the doctor related. "She couldn't walk without a walker because her right leg could not hold her up - it was too weak. She was miserable from the pain and was in and out of the hospital many times." Dr. Satayathum, a Catholic, said that when he seemed to reach a dead-end in finding a way to alleviate the woman's physical problems, he suggested she visit a psychiatrist and psychologist. They too, could not find any psychological reason to explain Mrs. Buchdrucker's pain.

  Around 2:30 p.m. on April 7th, 1978, Ivana was in her home praying the rosary with 6 of her lady-friends. Suddenly she began staring heavenward. She startled her friends by attempting to struggle to her feet and fell against a table. As the women watched in amazement, Ivana then stood up and walked across the room to her statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  


In hesitating English, interspersed with Italian words, Ivana told the reporter of the Catholic Universe Bulletin 4/14/78, that later that afternoon she felt she was alone in the room. "I saw nobody but the Blessed Virgin", she said..."She stood in front of me in a light blue dress, one rose at her feet." She said to me, "Come to me," once. I thought I can't. She said it again, I tried but fell. Then she said one last time, "Come to me," and I got up and walked.

Ivana was due to enter the hospital that same week for a series of operations, one to replace her hip joint. When she called her doctor to tell him she would not need a bed, nor any operations, she said he didn't believe her. On the following Tuesday morning, she had a complete check-up. "Whatever it was that happened to her, said Dr. Satayathum, "it was truly remarkable." Pressed further, the doctor said, "I can't explain how it happened, but it did, and that's good enough for me. I think it's a miracle."

  With the Bishop's permission, Mass could be held in the home.


Fr. John R. Hogan
The late Reverend John R. Hogan, then pastor of St. Edward's Catholic Church in Port Huron, Mi. was Ivana's spiritual director. He said of Ivana in his book, 'Man With a Mission'

  "There is a fragrance which lingers in the presence of the stigmatic wounds of Ivana Buchdrucker, a grand niece of St. Pius X. She had the first apparition at St. Edward's and Our Lady of Fatima has appeared to her. In Cleveland, where she lives, she has been the subject of many newspaper stories. She has been interviewed in her home and photographed in the various stages of the stigmata. She bleeds profusely every first Friday of the month from the hands, feet and forehead. Her back shows the whip marks that Christ suffered during and up to his Crucifixion.

  Some of Ivana's visitors have been Padre Pio,  St. Rita, St. Martha. St. Peter, St. Paul, St Therese and others. There have been many cures and favors received for others, by her prayers and sufferings. Ivana, pray for us."

Some reports this writer has recieved concerning Ivana are the following:

"One day, there were three priests that came to visit with Ivana. One of the priest did not have his collar or clerical garb on. After the time spent with her, they proceeded to leave, and Ivana looked at the one without the collar, and said to him, "Father, if you should ever return, you need to put your collar on."

Elsewhere this same person related to me how Ivana's alleged stigmata (open wounds) would literally heal "within 2-3 days with only scars being present", as she herself pesonally witnessed and attested to.

As stated earlier, there is almost no information on the Internet concerning Ivana, however there is one short report online here which states the following:

"...In April 1978, Ivana (Sarto) Buchdrucker saw a vision of the Virgin Mary on her bedroom wall in Cleveland, witnessed by her daughter Christine and friend Anna May Dumbrowski. Mary promised to heal Ivana, and five days later, she could walk again for the first time in five years. The story made the local news. Her orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Pradist Satayathum, was unable to explain her recovery as anything but a miracle.

In the following weeks, more mystical events happened. Statues moved. The statue of the Virgin Mary reportedly wept, smiled, bowed, walked, and could become less heavy. Buchdrucker received visions of Padre Pio, St. Rita, St. Martha, St. Elizabeth, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, and about every two weeks, the Virgin Mary. She also reported many visits from Satan, who would torment her until she drove him away with holy water. Buchdrucker claimed to experience ecstasies, the gift of
bilocation– where she was physically in two places at the same time, and the scent of roses where there were none, typically associated with the presence of the Virgin Mary.

Ivana Buchdruckers alleged stigmata

Buchdrucker also endured stigmatic wounds on her hands, side, and feet, and a wound in the shape of a cross on her forehead. Since her miraculous healing, she did not sleep, instead praying every night from midnight to six in the morning, without any ill effects.
For one 60-day period, Buchdrucker lived on only the Eucharist and water.

An immigrant from Venice, Italy, Buchdrucker attended St. Rocco’s Church,
“...one of the strongest Italian communities in the Cleveland area... especially with regard to the perpetuation of Italian customs and traditions,” according to historian Charles Ferroni.

She was a devout Catholic, a member of the Blue Army of Mary and a prayer group to Padre Pio, and a relative of Pope Pius X. However, diocesan authorities developed strong reservations about Buchdrucker’s claims. 

In February 1980, Chancellor Edward F. Weist concluded that Buchdrucker’s experiences were not authentic but the result of self-delusions. Bishop James Hickey told her to stop having public prayer meetings at her home and wearing distinctive clothing. Bishop Anthony Pilla later reaffirmed this position. Buchdrucker was unhappy with her spiritual directors. A report that she claimed Padre Pio blessed her faucet so it poured holy water was later explained as a result of a language barrier between her and her spiritual director. In 1984-85, she claimed to experience the pains of childbirth many times throughout the day, representing children being aborted.

By 1991, Chancellor Ralph Wiatrowski (of the Archdiocese) reported that Buchdrucker still had a small following within the diocese, but she was not taken seriously, yet her influence outside the diocese persisted. She passed away in August 2004."


In reply to the report above, a person devoted to Ivana wrote the following:

"It was not true that Ivana was unhappy with her Spiritual Directors. She was very close to Fr. John Hogan and he witnessed all of her wounds & definitely approved & believed in her authenticity. Unfortunately, I did not know Fr. Louis, only heard that he was a believer as well as Fr. Hogan. 
There was no way that the fragrance that was present could be phoney. The first time we had her at Assumption Grotto Church in Detroit & we never told Msgr Sawher that we had Ivana inside the church, as she was attending a Mass that Msgr was going to celebrate.
I will never forget what Msgr told me personally. He said that he had stepped out of the side door of the rectory to walk to the side entrance of the church, which was at least 35 feet or so from the church entrance door & Msgr. Sawher said as soon as he took his first step outside the rectory door, he smelled a fragrance so strong & beautiful that he knew he had a Mystic inside his church. That fragrance was all around the area of where she was, not just on her person, but everywhere she had been. Outside & inside no matter where she was, the smell lingered.  I personally witnessed the wound on her forehead as it had bled & the blood was dripping from her head cloth that covered her wound on the forehead. She had her wounds covered & she had permission from her local Bishop to wear clothing to cover her wounds, which was clothing that looked like a Nun's habit.
During WW II she met an American Soldier & they fell in love & married in Italy & he brought her to the U.S. It was a sad story, because once in the U S., she became pregnant & her husband up and left her with no money or anything & she did not even know the English Language. She had to get a job in a factory & was befriended by a Filipino woman who did her best to help her. A very long story and during this time, ended up bedridden with a back injury and being help by this Filipino friend. A Miraculous incident happened with our Blessed Mother's Silhouette appeared on her bedroom wall for many days & it was the Filipino woman who called the church in the area to get a priest to witness this silhouette & after he looked at it he called his Bishop & they both witnessed this and they thought possibly it was from the sunlight coming from the window in the room, so they came to the house after the sun went down and it was still present and they could find no explanation for this silhouette to have been on this wall in her bedroom. It was after this incident that her locutions & manifestations began. 
It was difficult for the church officials to really investigate this properly, because Ivana could not speak the English Language very well, so the officials dismissed everything that happened. Ivana never really received the proper investigation from the church, it was a difficult time for her, because she could defend anything in the proper way.
I do believe that under the circumstances, the Bishop did not approve her, but as far as I am aware there was never a proper investigation done on Ivana. In my opinion, Ivana Buchdrucker, was authentic in every way & everything I witnessed during the years I knew her, there was no fraud involved & I will swear to her authenticity. She had thousands of followers & many people are still alive who went on Pilgrimages to her home in Ohio.
I also witnessed many things, including healings that took place.
I witnessed the Miraculous pregnancies, etc.
Ivana was authentic and suffered the stigmata with the 5 wounds of Christ....
...I also understand that Ivana's house has never been sold & is still owned by her daughter."

Ivana Buchdrucker with Mother Angelica

In conclusion, below is the documentation that I recieved from the Diocese of Cleveland:







10 July 1991


To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is in response to your recent inquiry to the Cleveland

Diocesan Chancery Office concerning Ms. Ivana Buckdrucker.

Ms. Buckdrucker was advised that the Bishop has no objections to her praying the rosary with family or a few friends or neighbors. However, she is to discourage large numbers from coming to her home. Large groups can easily make arrangements to pray the rosary in their own parish churches. Further, she was advised that in no sense does she have the Bishop's approval for making her home into a shrine, chapel, or oratory. She was also asked to refrain from wearing distinctive garb, which may be drawing more attention to herself than to the Lord and His Blessed Mother.

In 1980, a formal statement was issued on behalf of Bishop James A. Hickey concerning Ms. Buckdrucker. Since the appointment of the Most Reverend Anthony M. Pilla as Bishop of Cleveland, her claims have been carefully re-investigated. The Bishop's conclusion is that there is no reason to modify the statement of 1980. I now quote from that statement, which Bishop Pilla has formally adopted as his own:

"Our investigation of the alleged experiences of Ivana Buckdrucker have led us to the conclusion that they are not authentic. Her statements are not to be believed in these matters. All faithful Catholics are urged not to attend the prayer meetings at Ivana's home.

We do not wish to hurt Ivana in any way. We believe she is suffering from self-delusion.

This has come to affect the faith of a significant mumber of people. A bishop cannot be silent when the faith and understanding of his people is threatened.

May the Holy Spirit enlighten and guide all of us in this matter and bless the Church of the Diocese of Cleveland."

Ivana had asked if she could pray the rosary with her friends. Of course, Bishop Pilla agreed to this, but with the understanding that Ivana would stop encouraging people to come to her house

Ivana Buckdrucker
Page 2

and refrain from making statement about the alleged messages she had received from Mary. Unfortunately, Ivana has not complied with the wishes of the Bishop. As the chief shepherd of the Church of Cleveland, Bishop Pilla has discerned that Ivana Buckdrucker is not to be believed in this matter. Faithful Catholics should not give credence to her statement. He further urges Ivana to stop the public prayer meetings she has been convening at her home.

Although the cult of an individual is discouraged, certainly the recitation of the rosary is most highly encouraged, whether in private or in public. May we also heed Our Lady of Fatima and offer the rosary daily for world peace.

I trust this information will be of help to you and answer your questions.

Sincerely in Christ,

Reverend Ralph E. Wiatrowski Chancellor



Here is a link to the document above.

In closing, I asked several people about the investigation of the Cleveland diocese that took place in the late 1970's just prior to the bishops statement in 1980, and the response I repeatedly recived was that Ivana's English was not very good at that time, and that miscommunications and misunderstandings took place. I personally could very easily imagine that happening, and I will add that American bishops both then and now are generally not very favorably disposed to alleged mystics in their dioceses, however the conclusion of the local bishop is what it is, and should be respected as authoritative.

Ivana Buchdrucker passed from this life on August 17, 2004 from Pulmonary Edema.


Anonymous said...

When I heard about Ivana Buchdrucker, I decided to go and pray at her home. As time went on, I felt drawn to continue going there to pray the rosary with others there. It felt as though something very special was there. One time there was a priest there visiting whom I was told that Ivana helped put through seminary.
It is quite understandable that her lack of the English language could have created a barrier or misunderstanding of who she really was. I did meet her and came to know and hear many wonderful things about her. She was so in love with Our Lord and the Blessed Mother. I have also seen pictures of her stigmata; head, hands, feet and side. How she suffered! I pray God that all truth be known about this special suffering servant.

Ann said...

I can remember Bishop Hickey, and I want say that I was not surprised at his judgement in a 2020 Vatican Report, stating that Bishop Hickey failed to act on Credible accusations of sexual abuse against then - Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and continued to offer his support and endorsement to McCarrick. That surely gives little credence for his decision making as far as I'm concerned.