In 1705, nine-year-old Anne-Madeleine Remuzat asked permission to enter a Catholic convent in southern France. Four years later, her parents withdrew her. Two years after that, she re-entered, this time to stay.
Remuzat devoted her life to the Catholic Church. During the Great Plague of Marseille in 1720 (the last European plague), she spread the practice of the Sacred Heart throughout Europe, advocating compassion toward humanity. Despite her devotion, Remuzat suffered intense physical pain. She responded with self-mortification to demonstrate her austerity. She prayed for divine mortification, went into a painful decline, and died in 1730 at the age of 33.
Centuries later, the Catholic Church has opened an investigation into the possible canonization of the Blessed Anne-Madeleine Remuzat. Part of this process included exhuming Remuzat’s heart, which resides in a reliquary in Marseilles. French researchers performed a comprehensive analysis of the mummified organ. Their equipment included an Agilent GC/MS.
The scientists compared DNA from the heart with known hair samples, confirming that it was indeed Rezumat’s heart. They determined that the organ was not preserved as the result of a “conservative miracle.” Instead, it had been mummified using honey, odoriferous plants and mineral substances.
The scientists also discovered dilation in the right ventricle, a possible indication of tuberculosis. This may explain Rezumat’s chronic pain and eventual cause of death.
The canonization inquiry has been closed and all documents submitted to the Vatican for evaluation, a process that may take several more years. A positive outcome would result in the Blessed Ann-Madeleine Remuzat being declared a saint.
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