Stigmata discrepancies


My church’s crucifix shows the nails going through the wrist.
The Shroud of Turin appears to show the nails in the wrist.
Many scholars have argued that nails would have needed to be in the wrists to support His weight.

Then why do so many instances of Stigmata show up as wounds in the palms?


Am I being too picky?
I’ve wondered about this a lot…


I think it’s a fair question, I’ve wondered this too.

From a ‘practical’ point of view a wound in the wrist couldn’t be too deep before it affected the veins whereas in the palm they could be deeper without causing great losses of blood.

On St Pio the wounds were in the palms but he had other wounds in the same places we are told Jesus had.


Maybe for the same reason Mary looks different in all her aparitions?

To me, this is a “small stuff” that I don’t sweat.

OTOH, there is a theory I’ve heard floated that if you were to crucify somebody’s upper extremity, at a very steep angle, you could have the entrance wound be through the hand and the exit wound through the wrist.
Basically along the carpal tunnel.


artists’ interpretations


There have been about 500 reported cases of stigmata, but you are aware that pretty much every stigmatic has been unique in one way or another, right? So should we not believe in stigmatics because this person’s manifestation of stigmata doesn’t match that person’s stigmata?

But to be honest, the one stigmatic that I’ve ever heard having nails-in-the-wrists was Brother Gino, who I suspect wasn’t genuine. Everyone else who had wounded hands had wounded palms.

  • St. Francis never bled from his hands and feet; only his side. He was the only stigmatic to have nails appear in his wounds, but they were nails made of his flesh.

  • Juana of the Cross’ wounds gave forth the smell of perfume

  • St. Christina of Stommeln had wounds in her hand, feet, forehead, and side. They bled ever Easter.

  • Maria Domenica Lazzeri would receive the stigmata every Thursday evening to Friday afternoon, but would recover completely by Friday evening.

  • Catherine of Siena had hers, but prayed that they become invisible. They later became visible once again upon her deathbed.

  • Rita of Cascia had a forehead wound. People would sometimes observe a light coming from it.

  • Bl. Osanna of Mantua received her stigmata, but they were very faint during her life. They became very distinct after her death.

  • Padre Pio’s stigmata disappeared without a scar in the last few days of his death.

  • Teresa of Avila had a transverberation, which is a stigmata of the heart, like a puncture.

  • St. Catherine d’Ricci had the stigmata all the time, but relived the Passion every Thursday/Friday.

  • Ven. Catherine Anne Emmerich had an external wound over her heart, and an internal 3-inch wound upon her heart in the shape of a cross.

  • Marie-Rose Ferron had stigmata, including the shoulder stigmata, which manifested as a red blotch, whereas the others were more like scars.

  • Therese Neumann had 45 distinguishable marks from the Passion, and suffered the Passion an estimated 750 times during her life.

  • Passitea of Siena had the usual stigmata, and then received an invisible heart stigmata. She said that her heart had been removed during the course of this mystical union. 23 years later, after her death, her critical bishop asked for an autopsy. Her heart had the outer wall, but the inner bits were only a bit of dried muscle.


Shroud of Turin is not art though…


The nails went through the hands at an angle that pierced through the palm and into the wrist.


you are right , it’s not!


In the 1990s, research by Dr. Frederick Zugibe of Columbia University came to a different conclusion. He theorized that the nails could have been driven into the palms at an angle, exiting at the wrists. This, he said, would have supported the body’s weight and would be consistent with the location where most of the stigmatics had displayed their wounds and with how artists had depicted the Crucifixion throughout the centuries.

The Shroud of Turin, considered by many to be the actual burial shroud of Christ, shows a blood print in the location of the bones of the wrist. But it should be noted that the imprint on the shroud is from the back of the hand and could depict only the exit area of the nail and not its entrance.


Thank you, very informative!


Another useful thing to keep in mind----

I once looked up the word “wrist” in my Cassell’s. It says “prima palmae pars (Cels.)”.

I’ve read that during the time the Gospels were composed (1st c., around 70-80-90) that they didn’t actually have a word for “wrist” in Latin/Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic. The word “hand” (“manus”) covered pretty much everything that a cubit measured-- from the forefinger to the elbow. (They did have a distinction between fingers and thumbs, though.)

The Latin “carpus” comes from the Greek “karpos”, which seems to usually mean “fruit” during our period, but may possibly have come from the Indo-European base “kwerp-” which means “to turn”. But according to the etymology I’m reading, you don’t get “carpus” as “wrist” until the 17th century. So it took about 1500 years between Celsus identifying the wrist as “prima palmae pars” and modern anatomists to say, “Hey, let’s call this a carpus.”

But, to recap, “manus” covers “elbow-to-fingertip” and there are specific words for palm, finger, and thumb, but I’m not seeing any evidence of a word to designate the wrist joint specifically.

That’s not to say that there was no anatomical reality, even if they didn’t have the words to accurately describe it! Jesus was crucified somewhere, and his wounds are memorialized in the stigmata, as various mystics unite their suffering to his. And that’s the important part, the spiritual aspect, rather than the physical reality. :slight_smile: But it never occurred to me that first-century authors didn’t really have the same nuance of anatomical vocabulary that you and I have with 21st-c. English, because we do have a fondness for accuracy! :slight_smile:


I’ve wondered about the same thing.


You might be exactly right.


Because that’s how people were conditioned to see them over the centuries. I think stigmata are a pure mind body reaction brought about by intense fervent religious feelings. The same for levitation, etc. I have seen hypnotists raise blisters on the arm of the subject by telling them the pencil he touched them with was a red hot iron. The power of strong belief is amazing.


or… and i’m going to be that guy… they’re lying. they saw a big payday and a shot at fame if they gave themselves wounds and said they were a miracle of god. for people who don’t have a lot going for them, or really crave the limelight, a quick injury is a small price to pay.


Possible yes,
I just don’t see it as very likely given the scrutiny the church puts on any purported miracle.


In all the accounts of stigmata which I’ve read the victims if you like also had other graces which were unusual, such as being able to read souls or knowing the hearts of others etc.

I don’t think I’ve read of any who sounded fake at all.

As I said before. A wound in the wrist is less practical than one on the palm, just look at your own wrist.


This question you need to ask to God. Why does He give signs in palms and not wrists? No pun intended but maybe you will get an answer as a personal revelation.
My guess is - no reason. Did the palms touched by stigmata perform miracles? Yes, then why not the palms?
One other guess may be that even through stigmata we cannot, never can, actually joining Christ on the Cross. It simple isn’t a humanly possible thing. Only Jesus could. So thus stigmata is just a sign not the actual crufixion next to God which cannot be done by people.


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