Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, an African American nun from rural Missouri, became the center of attention after the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles exhumed her body and found it surprisingly preserved.

Catholic News Agency shed light on the life and legacy of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster in a recent article.

Below are 10 things to know and share about this incredible nun who recently made headlines.

Who is Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster?

Who is Sister Wilhelmina?
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

1. Mary Elizabeth Lancaster was born in St. Louis on Palm Sunday, April 13, 1924.

2. Raised in a deeply pious home.

3. She had a mystical experience at her first Communion at age 9, when Jesus invited her to be His.

4. She graduated as valedictorian of St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, the school her parents helped found during segregation.

Sister Wilhelmina Facts
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

5. She entered the Oblate Sisters of Providence, one of only two religious orders for Black or Hispanic women.

6. She took the name Wilhelmina when she made her vows.

7. She was foundress of the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.

Facts about Sister Wilhelmina
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

8. She is remembered for her love of Our Lady.

9. Sister Wilhelmina’s last conscious words were “O Maria,” sung two days before her death as part of the hymn “O Sanctissima.”

10. Four years after her death and burial in a simple wooden coffin, her body appeared remarkably well-preserved.

Let us pray for the soul of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster!

A Prayer for the Deceased by St. Alphonsus Liguori:

My God! I recommend to Thee

the souls of my relations, my benefactors,

my friends and my enemies, and of those

who are in Purgatory on my account.

I recommend to Thee the souls of

evangelical laborers, of Religious and priests,

and especially of those who had charge of my soul.

I recommend to Thee the souls of those who

were most devout to the passion of Our Lord,

to the Blessed Sacrament,

to the Blessed Virgin Mary,

the souls who are most abandoned,

those who suffer most, and those who are

nearest to the entrance into paradise.


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