back to top

Top 10 Incorruptible Saints

Incorruptible saints are Catholic saints whose bodies have never decayed, or have decayed very little. Their bodies are often on display for veneration and admiration by Catholics around the world. Some of them do have wax masks, however, as some of their faces have shrunk or darkened over time (but after hundreds of years, that's nothing!). They were so holy that death could not touch them. Amazing, right?

Posted on

1. St. John Vianney


St. John (aka Jean Marie) Vianney was a French priest in the 19th century. He was known for his love of the priesthood, Mary, and for his devotion to confession. He died in 1859 and his body was exhumed in 1904, when it was shown to be incorrupt.

2. St. Clare of Assisi


St. Clare (Chiara) of Assisi co-founded the Poor Clares, a monastic order. Like St. Francis of Assisi, she eschewed worldly affairs and riches to give her life in service to Christ. She died in 1253 and her body was exhumed 600 years later in 1850. While her flesh and clothes had decayed, her skeleton was in perfect condition. Her body is on display today in Assisi.

3. St. Catherine Laboure


St. Catherine is well-known for the revelation on the miraculous medal - a special medal that Our Lady revealed to her and promised great graces for the wearers. She had a special bond with St. Vincent de Paul, as she had many visions from him throughout her life. (He too is incorruptible and pictured below!) She died in 1876 and her body was exhumed in 1933. It was found to be perfectly preserved, and her skin was still supple.

4. St. Vincent de Paul


St. Vincent de Paul was a French priest in the 17th century. He was captured and enslaved but following his release dedicated his life to serving the poor and caring for the lowest of society. He died in 1660; 53 years after his death, he was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. Due to water damage following the exhuming, his body did compose a little more, but most of his body, bones, and especially his heart, are perfectly preserved.

5. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini


Mother Cabrini, as she is often called, is one of the few American saints. While she was born in Italy, she had the heart of a missionary and indeed founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. She had her hopes set on China but was instead sent to be a missionary to Italian-Americans in the United States. She died in 1917, and was exhumed in 1931; like the other saints, her body had been preserved from death and (most of) it is now on display in New York City.

6. St. Bernadette Soubirous


St. Bernadette is best-known for the Marian apparition at Lourdes, France. When she was 14 years old, Mary appeared to Bernadette and announced herself as the Immaculate Conception. She had Bernadette dig to uncover a spring of water; these waters today still heal pilgrims from around the world physically and spiritually. She died in 1879 and her body was exhumed in 1909. It was found untouched by death.

7. St. Zita


St. Zita lived in the early 13th century as a servant. Though she was treated cruelly, she persisted with peace, humility, and faith. She often gave her own food or food of her master to the poor, and an anecdote states that when her master's family found out, they went to the kitchen to find angels baking bread for her. She died in 1272 and was exhumed in 1580. While parts of her flesh have deteriorated, her body has remained in excellent condition after nearly 800 years.

8. St. John Bosco


St. John Bosco (also called Don Bosco) was a priest who founded the order of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The Salesians focus on the youth, particularly troubled youth. You can find Salesians - both brothers and sisters - in schools and parishes all across the country. Don Bosco died in 1888 and was exhumed in 1929, and was found to be incorrupt.

9. St. Silvan


Not much is known about St. Silvan's life. He lived in the fourth century and was martyred for the faith; his body did not decay, although a large scar on his neck can be noticed, which may explain how he was martyred. His body is on display in Croatia.

10. St. Catherine of Bologna


St. Catherine was a 15th century Poor Clare who experienced visions about God and Satan; while she could have lived a noble life, she chose instead to live a life of austerity and faith. She died in 1463 and was buried without a coffin. Because of miracles and the sweet scent coming from her grave, she was exhumed 18 days later and her body had been perfectly kept. She was canonized a saint in 1712.

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!