According to this 2019 article in the National Catholic Register, The Marvelous Preservation of St. Bernadette, the body of Saint Bernadette had limited decay, despite:

given the close examinations, damp conditions, and normal decomposition observed of other sister buried in the same place.

The rosary she was holding rusted and her hand was not damaged until after her first wash by nuns in the chapel.

Was St Bernadette's body much less decayed than would be predicted?

  • 1
    "…than would be predicted" by what or whom?
    – Geremia
    Sep 7, 2023 at 23:58
  • The photos make it look like she's been 100% preserved, but you're really seeing a layer of wax that's been added to her hands and face like a mask, which is even mentioned in the Catholic Register. (Not an answer since that's only skin deep, but worth keeping in mind.)
    – Laurel
    Sep 8, 2023 at 11:16
  • 1
    @Geremia: I intended "than by science." It is clear that the claim is not "The body was perfectly preserved" but that the body was miraculously preserved in a way inconsistent with natural processes. We cannot (using only scientific skepticism as our tools) confirm that supernatural forces were at play, but we might be able to confirm that the preservation defies our understanding of the science of taphonomy.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 8, 2023 at 16:25
  • 1
    @Geremia: Agreed. I think your "not explainable by known natural processes" is equivalent to my "defies our understanding of the science". Neither suggests "Therefore God".
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 9, 2023 at 4:19
  • 3
    @Geremia: That's fine, but you aren't going to be happy with the answers here, which need to stick to empirical evidence. If loaves and fishes fell from the sky, you are not going to get answers here confirming it was a supernatural miracle from God.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 10, 2023 at 1:55


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