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Stigmata are bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus, such as the hands & feet. In some cases, rope marks on the wrists have accompanied the wounds on the hands. The term originates from the line at the end of Saint Paul's Letter to the Galatians where he says, "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." Stigmata is the plural of the Greek word stigma, meaning a mark or brand such as might have been used for identification of an animal or slave. An individual bearing stigmata is referred to as a stigmatic or a stigmatist.

Stigmata are primarily associated with the Roman Catholic faith. Many reported stigmatics are members of Catholic religious orders.[1] A high percentage (perhaps over 80%) of all stigmatics are women.[2]



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 wrists 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.[2] Stigmata as crown of thorns appearing in the 20th century, e.g. on Marie Rose Ferron have been repeatedly photographed.[3][4][5] Other reported forms include tears of blood or sweating blood, and wounds to the back as from scourging.

Many stigmata show recurring bleeding that stops and then starts, at times after receiving Holy Communion and a large percentage of stigmatics have shown a high desire to frequently receive Holy Communion.[2] A relatively high percentage of stigmatics also exhibit Inedia, living with minimal (or no) food or water for long periods of time, except for the Holy Eucharist, and some exhibit loss of weight.[2]

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