Topic: The role of medicine in investigating stigmata, the (re)appearance of Christ’s Holy Wounds on various bodies, in the context of Catholic canonization procedures.
Overview: Stigmata are the focus of this research as they are constantly being interpreted and reinterpreted by various groups, going all the way back to St. Francis. I am focused on 20th century stigmatics, as their lives coincide with the rise of professionalized medical organizations, as well as significant global events related to religion, secularity, and secularism (e.g. WWI & WWII, the Cold War, Vatican II reforms, etc.). Despite popular tendencies to see Catholicism and scientific, empirical inquiry as oppositional, this project shows that clinical medicine and the Catholic hierarchy cooperate and overlap in investigative approaches and how they expect stigmatic-patients to present themselves to inquiry.