Thursday, 12 February 2009



Lilian converted to Catholicism in 1989. She had previously been a nursing-home employee. The Archdiocese of Ottawa, Ontario, where she then lived, established a commission to investigate her claims of stigmatism. The Roman Catholic Church often resists publicity regarding supernatural claims, notes the Reverend Thomas Reese (a Jesuit priest who edits the weekly Catholic magazine America). Lilian first exhibited stigmata during Easter 1992, the year my mother died, having previously received visions of Jesus. According to one of her two booklets, published in 1999, Jesus appears frequently to her, addressing her as "My suffering soul," "My sweet petal," and "My child." When asked about cross-shaped wounds (she has an apparent cruciform scar on her right jaw near the ear), she stated in 2002 that such stigmata were of the Devil, that before her genuine stigmata came she had periods of possession. Her wounds are to the backs of the hands and tops of the feet, in addition to small wounds on the scalp representing a crown of thorns (John 19: 2). When attempting this challenging portrait I also drew inspiration from the German stigmatic Theresa Neumann (1898-1962) who allegedly lived solely on the Holy Eucharist from 1925 and bled from both her eyes and bore a big stain on her right shoulder where the Cross would have been carried by Our Lord. A case for the beatification of Theresa Neumann was introduced on 13 February 2005 by Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Bishop of Regensburg, Germany. Ana Luz Hernández, another inspiration for my canvas, is a stigmatic marked with wounds on the forehead. Reported cases of stigmata take various forms. Many show some or all of the five Holy Wounds that were, according to the Bible, inflicted on Jesus during His crucifixion: wounds in the hands and feet, from nails, and in the side, from a lance. Some stigmatics display wounds to the forehead similar to those caused by the crown of thorns. Other reported forms include tears of blood or sweating blood, wounds to the back as from scourging, or wounds to the shoulder as from bearing the Cross.


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