Caretaker for house of stigmatic says scent of roses and healings still occur
[See here] Portrait of Jesus as mystic and stigmatist Rhoda Wise saw Him.
January 13, 2004 - Reported in [Spirit Daily.com] online newspaper. Did an Ohio woman bleed from supernatural wounds? And does phenomena still occur at her former home?
We asked the same thing recently about the famed German stigmatic, Therese Neumann, who exhibited a mind-boggling array of phenomena. At first, we kept a distance -- concerned that the flow of blood was a bit too gruesome. But then we read a rare little booklet called Mary Crushes the Serpent in which an exorcist cited specifically such gruesome afflictions -- in some cases caused by evil spirits -- as another trial certain mystics endure.
Last year we carried an article about how folks still crowd into the small house once owned in Canton, Ohio, by an alleged stigmatic and healer named Rhoda Wise -- who bore wounds and a flow of blood (at times covering her face) that were almost identical to those of Neumann. Naturally, we can't vouch for every manifestation. We don't know how to discern this in its entirety. The diocese of Youngstown, which has jurisdiction over the case, never ruled.
There were controversies. There were questions. But there were also remarkable events that seemed very holy.
And, reportedly, still do. When we called the caretaker, Karen E. Sigler, she said that healings continue even though Rhoda has been dead now for 55 years.
"We've had some remarkable testimonies," says Sigler, citing three that came to mind immediately. One was an adopted girl who had severe, "terminal" muscular dystrophy -- who needed braces to walk and a feeding tube due to seizures -- but who regained her ability to walk.
"I thought her mother was coming here to pray to accept the child's death," says Karen, "but a year later she brought in the child's braces."
Another involved a woman who had arthritis so bad she couldn't bend her knees. The morning after she visited the house, says Sigler, she was able to walk again normally.
Then there's the lay Carmelite who had been suffering from serious athletic injuries and woke the day after her visit to the scent of roses and the sudden liberation from what had been years of excruciating pain.
Sigler says she has detected the flowery aroma known as the odor of sanctity on many occasions and welcomes visitors to the home in Canton -- where for nine years Wise allegedly received visits from Jesus and St. Therese the Little Flower. According to the Canton Repository [See here], "On the first Friday of every month, she would bleed from her palms and forehead wounds resembling those Christ received on the cross. Word got around, and the line to see Wise could stretch around the block on those days, or at other times. Even after she died in 1948, the faithful would come to visit her daughter, Anna Mae Wise, and pray."
The house is now owned by Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Alabama, home to the well-known nun, Mother Angelica, who credits a novena Wise gave her for healing a stomach malady when she was a teenager (a miracle that she says led to her life-long commitment to God and eventually to becoming a religious).
Wise was a convert from Protestantism who experienced an apparition of Jesus soon after she joined the Church and was healed herself in 1939 of terminal cancer. She believed the intercession likewise had come through St. Therese. "I've smelled roses many times when there were none here and many times others have too," says Sigler. A statue that exuded while Wise was alive is also in the small house. The visitors don't flood in great numbers come, but there are regular prayer groups and it doesn't take many to fill the house.
As for the healings: "It's not like it happens all the time, and not everyone gets one," says Sigler. "They get the graces they need. Some of the people who come here and are very sick end up dying, but their families come back and say this place really prepared them, really made a difference."
As always, we urge prayerful discernment and at the same time, an open-mindedness toward such phenomena. Only after fasting and prayer should such situations be approached -- especially with live mystics who lay on their hands. In the case of Wise, the discernment centers on those wounds that were similar to those of Neumann. Real? Unreal? Something very unusual obviously occurred in that little home that still stands like a chapel.
[Read/view] Biography on Rhoda Wise.