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What is stigmata?

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Quick Answer

Stigmata is the appearance of wounds that parallel injuries Christ received during crucifixion. The marks appear spontaneously and may include nail marks on his hands and feet; the spear wound on his side; the thorns piercing his forehead and the marks of the scourging all over his body.

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Full Answer

The person who experiences stigmata may exhibit one or all of the marks, which may or may not be visible. The signs of stigmata may be temporary or permanent. Sometimes, the stigmata appears periodically. The Catholic Church defines specific circumstances that occur with genuine stigmata. For example, the stigmatic lives a life of virtue and suffering and must receive the stigmata by surprise.

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