10 Lesser-Known Wartime Nurses Who Displayed Amazing Heroism

10 Lesser-Known Wartime Nurses Who Displayed Amazing Heroism



When people think of wartime nurses, names like Florence Nightingale spring to mind. But countless lesser-known nurses also made valuable contributions. Unfortunately, history’s memory bank is a lot like a financial bank: when making a large withdrawal, requesting large units of currency often makes the most sense. If asking a teller for $1,000, we would rather request ten $100 bills than 100,000 pennies.

Similarly, when learning about an enormous conflict, we prefer not to study every individual involved in it. Rather, we focus on bigger figures like Florence Nightingale, the $100 bills of history. But sometimes, the pennies of history are actually priceless gems. The following lesser-known nurses saved lives while showing otherworldly courage and toughness.

10Augusta Chiwy

Photo credit: Task & Purpose

On Christmas Eve 1944, volunteer nurse Augusta Chiwy nearly became a human Yule log. A bomb decimated her aid station in Bastogne, Belgium, killing 30 people. Remarking on her brush with oblivion, Chiwy reportedly quipped, “A black face in all that white snow was a pretty easy target. Those Germans must be terrible marksmen.”

Chiwy was just that tough. Born to an African mother and Belgian father, she was visiting her father for the holidays when the Battle of the Bulge began. Chiwy was a trained nurse and offered her services to an American physician whose assistants had been killed.[1] Of her own volition, Chiwy withstood a blizzard of bombs and subfreezing cold. She was undernourished, overworked, and sometimes the subject of racism from the soldiers she treated.

Chiwy helped hundreds of American soldiers, even bathing them with boiled snow. But for roughly 70 years, she went unacknowledged. In 2011, the king of Belgium awarded Chiwy the Order of the Crown, and the US government honored her with the Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service.

9Elsie Knocker And Mairi Chisholm

Photo credit: Imperial War Museum

People called them “the mad Englishwomen,” but one of them was Scottish, and both were just insanely brave. Elizabeth “Elsie” Knocker and Mairi Chisholm (the Scot) traveled to Belgium at the outset of World War I to work as ambulance drivers. The women shared a love of motorcycles and soon shared an idea that made them legends.

While transporting troops, Knocker noticed a serious problem. Because of the distance she had to travel, soldiers often died of shock before reaching the hospital. She proposed treating wounded soldiers near the front lines but was roundly rejected. Women weren’t allowed within 5 kilometers (3 mi) of all that bloodshed. Ignoring orders, she and Chisholm established a makeshift medical facility 4.6 meters (15 ft) from a trench.[2]

Working from the cellar of a dilapidated house, the duo dispensed aid to an estimated 23,000 casualties over four years. They also attracted attention from prominent people like Marie Curie (who discovered radium) and the king of Belgium. Their efforts earned them medals in 1915 from the king himself. The women soldiered on until 1918, when a gas attack incapacitated them.

8Vivian Bullwinkel

Photo credit: The Telegraph

During World War II, Vivian Bullwinkel (who later went by her married name Vivian Statham) wanted to join the Australian Air Force, but her flat feet disqualified her. Undeterred from serving, she became an Australian Army Nurse in 1941. The following year, she served in Singapore but was forced to flee alongside 64 other nurses. Unfortunately, Japanese torpedoes intercepted their ship.

Only 22 nurses made it off the ship alive. Bullwinkel latched onto a lifeboat and floated for hours until she and the remaining nurses reached the island of Bangka. One day later, Japanese forces rounded up all the women, marched them to the sea, and shot them. Only Bullwinkel survived.[3] A bullet pierced her abdomen but missed all her vital organs. Bullwinkel feigned death until the coast was clear and then spent 12 days treating injured British soldiers on the island.

Soon, they surrendered to the Japanese. To avoid being shot again, Bullwinkel hid her nurse’s uniform. She lived as a POW for three years, secretly documenting the torture she endured on Bible pages. Her weight dropped to a skeletal 25 kilograms (56 lb), but all the while, she continued caring for the sick and wounded. After the war, Bullwinkel became Australia’s most decorated nurse.

7Regina Aune

Photo credit: Aryn Lockhart

During the last month of the Vietnam War, President Gerald Ford launched Operation Babylift, a program that transported South Vietnamese orphans to the Philippines and the United States. The first flight literally crashed and burned. An explosion caused the plane to slide across a rice paddy, go airborne for 0.8 kilometers (0.5 mi), and then slam into an irrigation ditch, where it split into four sections.

Aboard the aircraft were 250 orphans, dozens of crew members, and Nurse Regina Aune. The crash sent Aune flying across the plane’s upper deck. The accident fractured one of her feet, one of her legs, and one of her vertebrae.[4]But it didn’t break her will to save lives. Aune carried 80 children to safety. Once she exhausted all of her strength, she asked to be relieved from her duties and then lost consciousness.

Because of her heroism, Aune became to first woman to receive the Cheney Award for valor by an airman.

6Eleanor Thompson And Meta Hodge

Generally speaking, hospitals are where people are cured, not killed. But warsometimes blurs that distinction. In World War I, hospitals turned into targets thanks to the advent of air raids. In 1918, the Germans attacked a series of medical facilities in France. Among them was Canadian Stationary Hospital Number 3, located in Doullens. A bomb hit in the middle of an operation, instantly killing three people.

The blast also buried nurses Eleanor Thompson and Meta Hodge under rubble. Rather than running for their lives once they resurfaced, the die-hard duo started putting out fires and turning over coal heaters to prevent patients’ beds from bursting into flames. They then oversaw the evacuation of the patients, ignoring their own injuries until everyone else was safe.[5]They were among the first Canadian women ever to be awarded for valor.

5The Angels Of Bataan And Corregidor

Photo credit: History.com

Before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, many American nurses traveled to the Philippines in search of sunshine and adventure. But in December 1941, the sky was darkened by incoming fighter pilots. After wreaking havoc in Hawaii, the Japanese took aim at Manila.

The nurses sought refuge in the muggy jungles of Bataan, where they looked after 6,000 patients and battled malaria, diminishing food supplies, and constant bombing by the Japanese. As conditions worsened, American forces escaped to the island of Corregidor. There, nurses operated in an underground hospital.[6] Eventually, the GIs reached their breaking point, and the nurses reached a crossroads.

The nurses could either retreat or remain with the POWs. Many chose to stay, forsaking freedom for the sake of helping sick and wounded troops. When the Japanese restricted the prisoners’ daily nourishment to 700 calories, the nurses supposedly fed the men roots, flowers, and even weeds cooked in cream. After more than two years of brutal captivity, they were freed. The nurses were hailed not only as heroes but as angels.

4Mary Fleming And Aileen Turner

Photo credit: H. Mason

Mary Fleming and Aileen Turner were Irish nurses assigned to the tuberculosis ward at Grove Park Hospital in London. Unfortunately, patients weren’t the sickest thing they saw. In 1940, Germany rained bombs on London, striking the hospital in the process. Seventeen TB patients were trapped until Fleming and Turner guided them to safety.

Even reaching the patients required a heroic effort. Tuner and Fleming had to climb through a window and crawl along a floor on the verge of collapsing. Then they had to shepherd a procession of sick people past burst pipes that spewed burning steam.[7] They succeeded just in the nick of time. Moments after the evacuation, the floor of the TB ward gave way. Afterward, they were awarded the George Medal.

3Ellen Savage

Singing with a fractured jaw sounds extremely difficult. Sister Ellen Savage managed to sing with a broken jaw, broken ribs, and broken people who needed her help. An Australian Army nurse during World War II, Savage sustained severe injuries when the Japanese destroyed her hospital ship, the Centaur.[8] But as the only surviving nurse, she took it upon herself to help the other survivors.

Savage hid her injuries and tended to other hurt passengers. When everyone’s mood sank like a ship, she tried to keep their spirits afloat by leading a sing-along. The group must have sung a long time. Trapped on a raft, they watched helplessly as ships and planes passed without noticing them. And while Savage had to deal with a broken jaw, all the survivors worried about the jaws of the sharks that circled them.

Savage steered the group through those discouraging moments without hinting at the agony she must have felt. She was later honored with the George Medal for her courageous conduct.

2James Gennari

In 2012, helicopter flight nurse James Gennari was stationed in Afghanistan when he was as told a three-year-old who’d been shot was headed his way. But when the patient’s flight arrived, there was no child in sight. Instead, Gennari was greeted by a grown man with an explosive lodged in his left thigh.[9]

A 20-year-old Marine had been shot with a 36-centimeter-long (14 in) rocket-propelled grenade intended for tanks. Luckily, the grenade did not detonate; unluckily, a wrong move could have easily changed that fact. Clearly, a scalpel wouldn’t cut it in this situation. However, there was a bombexpert on hand. Gennari was given the option to vacate the area, but he stayed and helped the expert dislodge the grenade.

The ordeal did not end there. Blood came rushing from the Marine’s leg, and Gennari had to stem the hemorrhaging while keeping his patient’s airways open. He then had to help the Marine breathe manually because the ventilator malfunctioned. Gennari’s noble efforts earned him a Bronze Star.

1Beatrice MacDonald

World War I nurses commonly faced finger infections, pathogens, and physical exhaustion from assisting patients nonstop. Those who worked near the front line also confronted enemy fire. Beatrice MacDonald witnessed that danger firsthand in 1917. While working at a casualty cleaning station, she became a casualty of an air raid. Shrapnel slashed one of her eyes, which had to be removed.[10]

Despite losing an eye, MacDonald insisted on seeing the war through to the end. When ordered to return home, she replied, “I have just started doing my bit.” She continued aiding soldiers until the armistice. For the incredible bit of work she did, MacDonald earned the Distinguished Service Cross.

10 Infamous Cases Of Stigmata

10 Infamous Cases Of Stigmata



Christianity thrives around the world. People devote their entire lives to a being they cannot see, touch, or feel. They run purely on faith. There are some faithful servants, however, who endure the ultimate mark of their religion. Seen as blessed, these people bear the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion—the stigmata.

Many believe stigmata to be a blessing to the holiest of servants, those saints among men who’ve been touched by Christ. Skeptics, on the other hand, believe that it is merely a medical problem, self-harm, or other explainable malady. The world may never truly know how stigmata appears on the bodies of those chosen, but each case is a parable of interest.

10St. Catherine De Ricci

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

St. Catherine de Ricci (baptized as Alexandrina) was born in Florence, Italy, in 1522. Long before her time as a saint, Catherine showed great dedication to the Catholic religion. As a small child, she showed a great interest in prayer, and at a mere six years of age, her father placed Catherine in a convent with her aunt, Louisa De Ricci. At 14, she was chosen as mistress of novices and then as perpetual prioress at 25.

That all seems pretty normal for the life of a saint, but things took a turn when St. Catherine started up with her ecstasies of passion. From 1542 to 1554, every Thursday and Friday, Catherine would go into a trance in which she would experience the events of Christ’s passion and would “act out” those events. During this time, St. Catherine also experienced the stigmata. She would show bloody wounds on her hands, feet, and head, depicting the crucifixion. With the power of the stigmata and the intensity of St. Catherine’s passions of Christ, she passed into a mystical marriage with Jesus, and in 1542, she was given a ring to symbolize that she was a bride of Christ.

As her “mystical marriage” and stigmata continued, revelers would come from far and wide to see St. Catherine during her passionate moments, but people were so disturbed by her stigmatic wounds and her behaviors during her flights of ecstatic passion that they finally quit coming to see her.[1]Wouldn’t you know it, when the crowds stopped coming, so did the stigmata and the passions. Apparently being blessed with the stigmata only comes when the crowds are big and devout!

9Father James Bruse

There have only been three known stigmatic priests in the 20th century, and Father James Bruse is one of them. Bruse’s journey into the world of stigmatics began in November 1991, when while at his parents’ home, he realized that their religious statues would weep water from their eyes when he entered the room. It began with just one statue, Our Lady of Grace, and then any religious statue he was around would begin to weep; it is thought by Bruse and his followers that thousands of statues wept in his presence.

The day after Christmas of the same year, however, Bruse knew something was changing in his spiritual life. He began to complain of sharp pains in his wrists. Shortly after he experienced this pain, blood began to seep from the unbroken skin on his wrists, feet, and his right side. Bruse had been “blessed” with the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. Along with his newfound stigmatic marks, Bruse also claimed to be able to heal, both spiritual and physically. The stigmata brought him the power to patch up the people in his congregation, but more importantly to Bruse, the influence of the stigmata brought him the power to bring more people back to the church.

Though the stigmata, for Bruse, had great power and allowed him to be on a higher level spiritually, the Diocesan Chancery in Virginia did not make any claims about the authenticity of the stigmata, and because there wasn’t an obvious religious message attached to Bruse receiving the stigmata, they were not willing to put out any ecclesiastical declarations about the situation.[2] Was it an elaborate hoax to bring in believers, or was it a real case of stigmata? If the Diocese can’t make a claim to its authenticity, neither can the average Joe.

8Natuzza Evolo

Photo credit: Rosario Ruffa

Natuzza Evolo was born in Calabria on August 23, 1924. Born into a fatherless family wrought with poverty, Evolo and her siblings were known locally as bastard children. Poverty kept Evolo from school, and she was illiterate her entire life. Often described as a “serene child,” Evolo began praying to the Virgin Mary at an early age for relief from her strife. At six years old, she was given the “gift” of being able to see Jesus, the Virgin Mary, angels, and saints. Her pastor at the time, though impressed by the gift the child had received, told her to keep all this information to herself for her own safety. In 1934, Natuzza’s mother was arrested, and she and her siblings were cast out by the landlady. With nowhere to sleep or stay safe, Evolo prayed to the Madonna to keep her safe and find her shelter. Apparently, while praying, Evolo heard a voice say, “Courage! I will find you a place to live.” A few days later, she was safe and sound in a communal dwelling.

Things in Evolo’s life got a bit more spiritual in the years to come. Throughout her life, she still spoke with Jesus and the Virgin Mary, but she was also afflicted with the markings of Christ; the stigmata ravaged her body and made her painful and bloody every Friday and through the entirety of Lent. During those times, she would lock herself away because the pain from the stigmata was too much for her to bear.[3] Her stigamatic wounds were very profound in that they had the ability to produce hemography, or writing produced by blood. Starting at age 16, Evolo would experience writing and symbols being produced from the blood which wept from her stigmata wounds. Any linen, garment, or other material that touched her weeping skin would come away with markings that were always Christian in nature. Many wanted their own pieces of hemography from Evolo, but they could never be produced on the spot. This “miraculous” writing ability took place on and off during her entire life until her death in 2009.

The power of her blessing of stigmata, as well as her talks with Jesus and His mother, were compounded by the fact that they gave Evolo the power to heal. She could apparently look directly at a person and thoroughly diagnose what was causing their ailments, using correct medical terminology. Evolo would then tell them how to cure themselves. If healing wasn’t good enough, Evolo could also tell the future and spoke languages she had never heard before. Remember that Evolo was illiterate; how could someone with no formal training know multiple languages but not be able to read or write? She never accepted money for her work and had many devout followers. Today, she still has devotees who worship her via her Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Souls Foundation, which she established during her life. Miracle worker or fantastic hoaxer? Her devotees believe in her powers, while doubters are unsure. The secret died with Evolo.

7Marie Rose Ferron

Photo credit: Mystics of the Church

Marie Rose Ferron, known lovingly in history as “Little Rose,” was born on May 24, 1902, in Quebec, Canada. At age three, her family moved to the United States, taking up residence in Massachusetts. She is the first documented person in the United States to bear the markings of the stigmata. Rose, along with her other 14 siblings, were all dedicated to one of the mysteries of the rosary by their mother. Prophetically, Rose was dedicated to the crucifixion of Christ. By six years of age, Rose was already very pious and was seeing visions of the Child Jesus. At seven, Rose was taught, by Jesus himself, a French prayer that she said every day until her death. At 13, Rose became ill, and her hand and foot became paralyzed. The Holy Spirit pulled through again for Marie, as she took holy water one morning after mass, and her hand instantly worked perfectly. Sadly, the holy water only helped with her hand, and she had to remain on crutches for nearly 12 years.

Beginning at age 24, Rose began experiencing Christ’s pain as well as stigmata. In 1926, the stigmata of flagellation appeared as lashings on her back. In 1927, the stigmatic odds were raised, as Rose began to show the crucifixion marks of Christ, weeping marks on her hands and feet. In January 1928, Christ’s crown of thorns was starting to make its mark on Rose’s head. August 1929 marked the first time that Rose cried tears of blood from her eyes. Rose stopped displaying signs of the stigmata on August 1, 1930, but the pain she felt rose to its highest intensity. She suffered crippling agony, and her stigmata wounds would turn purple and ooze an unidentified serum.

It was around this time that rumors began to circulate that all her wounds were faked and that her pain was a hoax. Even many family members turned against Rose. Her spiritual advisor at the time, Father Joseph Baril, even told Rose that her spiritual life was built on “false foundations,” and she began to believe that she was possibly deceived by some illusion. Through her stigmatic time and then afterward while being considered a fraud, Rose was constantly in contact with Christ. She asked Him once, during one of her ecstasies, how much longer it would be until she met Him in Heaven. He told her she would die at age 33.

In April 1936, just a month before her 34th birthday, Rose began to show increasingly intense symptoms: first fainting, followed by the inability to eat or drink and a headache so intense that she was unconscious frequently. Lastly, Rose went deaf and blind. She died on May 11.[4] She almost missed the 33-year mark set by Jesus. Was this girl a true stigmatic plagued with ecstasies of the strife of Christ, or was she the fraud that everyone thought she was at the end of her life? Illusion or fact, Rose’s life was one for the religious books.

6Zlatko Sudac

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Zlatko Sudac was born in 1971 in Vrbnik on Krk island, Croatia. He served in the Yugoslav army in his younger years, and in 1993, he began studying for Roman Catholic priesthood. Within five years, Sudac was ordained a diocesan priest and started serving the community in Krk. After being instated as a priest, Sudac found himself busy with parish life, and nothing seemed amiss until the next year, when things took an unexpected turn.

On April 7, 1999, Sudac received the first mark of the stigmata. It took the form of a cross “imprinted” deeply on his forehead. Concerned for Sudac, his bishop sent him to a clinic in Rome. He remained here for 40 days, and he was tested and investigated intensely. Though it was not concluded that the mark was of divine origin, the hospital and doctors explained that there was no medical reason behind the marking of the cross on Sudac’s forehead. Nearly a year after the cross imprinted on his forehead, Sudac was marked again, this time by true stigmata markings. On October 4, 2000, Sudac received the wounds of Christ on his feet, wrists, and side. Coincidentally, this is the same day of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi—the first known stigmatist.[5]

Along with his stigmata, the power of mysticism flows in the body of Sudac. It is claimed that Sudac has the gift of illumination, the reading of souls, the odor of sanctity, and bilocation, which is the act of being in two places simultaneously. Being young and bearing the stigmata, Sudac has followers all over the world. People line up for days to attend his masses. Church officials are quoted as saying, “No church is big enough for Sudac now.” People are intrigued and mystified by Sudac’s stigmata, and they clamor to churches to view him. Ironically, Sudac doesn’t show his stigmata marks during his masses . . . which seems to be the reason devotees are showing up in the first place.

Until 2010, Sudac was a retreat leader at Beathany Retreat House on the Island of Losinj. Along with being a priest and stigmata bearer, he also has an affinity for art and creates pieces for churches and private homes. Stigmata and art; devotees and money. These are apparently matches made in Heaven.

5Padre Pio Of Pietrelcina

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Francis Forgione, later known as Padre Pio and then Saint Pio, was born May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy. His parents entrusted his life to St. Francis of Assisi, which is why he was baptized as Francis the day after his birth. Apparently a disruptive baby, Francis would cry endlessly. His father, frustrated by the continuous crying, is quoted as saying, “It seems like the Devil has been born in my house.” From that point on, Francis never cried like that ever again.

A member of a deeply religious family, Francis spent much time at the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels; he was baptized, received his first communion, and was confirmed there. A young, pious child, he saw an apparition of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at a mere five years of age. He told Francis then that he would be His follower for life. Dedicating his life at that age marked him forever, and Francis began having visions of the Virgin Mary, which would continue his entire life. A busy five-year-old, Francis also made a deal with his guardian angel, with whom he could communicate to follow all the missions of God.

At the age of 16, Francis entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars, and he took the Franciscan habit and the name Brother Pio. He took his vows on January 27, 1907, and became an ordained priest on August 10, 1910. In September of the same year, he was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he remained until his death in 1968.

In 1910, Padre Pio first started receiving the marks of the stigmata. He wrote a letter to his spiritual director at the time discussing the “red stains” in the middle of his hands accompanied by “intense pain.” These wounds and pains came and went, leaving Padre Pio with only the memory of the marks. The stigmata was not through with Padre Pio, however. After having his heart experience transverberation, or the lance of love, the stigmata made its appearance again—and this time for good. A month after experiencing the transverberation, Padre Pio received his first visual markings of Christ’s passion. Padre Pio described the occurrence of the stigmata in great detail in a letter to his director. He recounted a great light blinding him and Christ bleeding from him internally. Rays of light came out of his feet, hand, and side. After the vision had ended, he found himself upon the floor with the bleeding wounds. Through the pain, he prayed hymns of gratitude to God.

His fellow Capuchins, marveled by the appearance of Christ’s passion, had religious medical professionals examine Padre Pio. They decided that the marks were definitely of divine origin.[6] People became obsessed with Padre Pio and his stigmata. They flocked from all over the world to gaze upon him and his newly acquired abilities. After receiving the stigmata, Padre Pio could perform miracles. He was an avid healer of the masses and, in many instances, was claimed to be able to levitate. However, his popularity became a concern for the church, and they limited access to Padre Pio for a time. More investigations were done to confirm the authenticity of the stigmata. In 1934, years after the church came to terms with his stigmata and his fame, it let Padre Pio assume his duties again.

Though canonized and revered as a saint, Padre Pio is still touted as a fraud. Historian Sergio Luzzatto released a book entitled Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age, which has information from the Vatican archives which supposedly proves Padre Pio had acquired and maimed himself with carbolic acid to produced his stigmata wounds. These allegations are nothing new where Padre Pio is concerned, as two successive popes thought he was a religious fraud and the stigmata a hoax. A real spiritual marvel or a well-prepared hoaxer? The texts of the religious say one thing, those of historians another. Padre Pio is a saint with a suspicious history.

4St. Gemma Galgani

Photo credit: St Gemma Galgani

St. Gemma Galgani was born on March 12, 1878, near Lucca, Italy. Inspired greatly by her devoutly religious mother, Galgani developed an intense love for Jesus at an early age. At a mere eight years old, she lost her mother, and her father sent her to a Catholic boarding school, which Galgani described as paradise.[7] She received her first communion at nine, which was earlier than most. She spoke of her meeting with Jesus at the time and said that no one could understand the impact He made on her soul.

On June 8, 1899, after receiving communion, Galgani experienced her first religious ecstasy in which the Virgin Mary appeared, opened her dress, and wrapped Galgani in it. This was the beginning of her religious experience with spiritual beings. That same day, Galgani received the stigmata. Galgani claims that Jesus came to her with all His wounds open, but instead of blood, she saw flames. The flames then reached from Jesus and touched her, marking her hands, feet, and heart with the passion wounds. Blood poured from the wounds, and the pain was intense. But luckily, Galgani was apparently assisted to bed that night by her guardian angel and the Virgin Mary.

Though the stigmata is a blessed thing to many, Galgani was of poor health and said that she couldn’t deal with it. Her priest told her to pray the wounds away, and it apparently worked, leaving only the scars that would remain with her until her death. Galgani died of tuberculosis at age 25. Known for her patience and gentility, along with her blessed markings, Galgani was made a saint. Of the many cases of stigmata, Galgani’s account, though still very supernatural, was one of humility. She wanted it to go away; she didn’t flaunt it as so many others had. Does this add to the credibility of her account?

3Therese Neumann

Photo credit: Bizarrepedia

Therese Neumann was born in 1898 in Konnersreuth, Bavaria, and was the oldest of ten children. Being the eldest child, she was often put in charge of taking care of her siblings, especially after her father was called to serve in World War I. But taking care of children wasn’t her first calling; Therese’s true ambition was to become a missionary sister in Africa. Sadly, in 1918, she was injured during a fire, causing her to suffer partial paralysis of the spine and later blindness. The formerly hearty girl was left bedridden and unable to work. Since she couldn’t work, she took up the next best thing: intense religious devotion. Therese was especially enamored with St. Therese of Lisieux.

While lying in her bed on May 17, 1925, Therese heard the voice of the newly canonized St. Therese of Lisieux. She asked her if she wanted to be better, and Therese, of course, answered, “Yes!” The saint told her she could now stand and see, but she’d still suffer. And suffer she did—because Therese was about to get the shock of her life and receive the stigmata. On the first day of Lent in 1926, while ill with the flu, she was alone in her room when she experienced a divine ecstasy. As the day went on, she discovered bloody marks on her nightgown on her side and above her heart. The stigmata had chosen her. The side wound continually wept blood, and on the third day of Lent, the hand wounds appeared, followed by tears of blood the next day. St. Therese of Lisieux said she’d suffer, and it did not stop. Later in the year Neumann finally received her bloody crown of thorns.

The wounds never healed, and they stayed on Therese’s body until her death. Dealing with the stigmata is bad enough, but St. Therese of Lisieux came to Neumann during her suffering time and told her, “No more earthly food, you’ll survive on the Eucharist.” It is claimed that after this, Therese didn’t eat anything other than the Holy Eucharist every day and drank no water from 1926 onward.[8] Given that Therese lived until 1962, being a stigmatic is apparently a very thirsty job.

2Teresa Musco

Teresa Musco was born in Caserta, Italy, on June 7, 1943. Growing up with an abusive father and during the chaotic time of World War II, Musco and her family were often left without food, necessities, and moral guidance. However, Teresa proved stronger than the rest; she was often called mature for her age and was extremely devoted to Jesus and prayer. At age five, Teresa had her first vision of the Virgin Mary. After having been struck by her father, Teresa saw the Virgin Mary come to her and explain that her father meant no harm from the beating. The Virgin Mary apparently condones child abuse.

The Virgin Mary continued to visit Teresa regularly, but then another player came in—Jesus. Jesus asked her if she loved Him, and Teresa answered yes. Jesus then said, to Teresa personally, that “He loved her so much that He would be willing to be crucified again just for her.” Apparently, holy figures really loved Teresa, for in 1950, Teresa was visited by Padre Pio, and he told her she’d one day look like him and then proceeded to show Teresa his stigmatic wounds.[9]

Years of hardship and pain continued to plague Teresa, but she maintained her devout lifestyle and her love of Jesus. In October 1968, however, Teresa wept because of pain in her hands and feet. Alone in her room, a tall man entered unexpectedly and said, “I shall leave you my wounds. Do you want to follow me?” Teresa again exclaimed “yes,” and that when she was spiritually crucified. On Holy Thursday 1969, the Virgin Mary came to her all in black and told Teresa, “My beloved son desired to give you His wounds.” At that point, Teresa had a full-blown stigmata episode, complete with bloody hands and feet and a deep pain in her heart. She then went into an ecstatic state and awoke from it bearing the marks of the crown of thorns, which she supposedly took from Jesus firsthand during her ecstatic episode.

Bearing the stigmata for years, Teresa was also prone to causing statues and holy pictures to weep blood. Teresa claimed that the sin of humanitywas too much to bear and caused her great sadness, which was reflected in the weeping effigies. Teresa suffered her whole life, in both the natural and supernatural realm. Apparently, since Jesus was her super-affectionate friend, He came to her and told her that she would suffer no more and that He was taking her away from this world. Teresa and Jesus decided she would leave the world at 33 years of age. August 19, 1976, Teresa succumbed to her illnesses at the time and did die at the prophesied age. Was Teresa actually visited by various holy entities, or was her troubled, hardship-riddled life to blame for her visions?

1St. Francis Of Assisi

Photo credit: Cigoli

St. Francis is the poster child for the stigmata. He was the first ever to receive this “blessing,” and people have been following in his bloody footsteps for eons. Though a saint now, Francis was a wild sinner in his early life. Born in Italy in 1181, St. Francis was well-known for his extreme drinkingand his penchant for partying.

After fighting in a battle between Assisi and Perugia, St. Francis was imprisoned for ransom for a year. During this time of imprisonment, you guessed it: He started receiving visions from God. According to legend, after he was released, Christ told St. Francis to devout himself to Him, repair the Christian church, and live a life of poverty.[10] St. Francis then abandoned his frivolous life and became a devotee of the faith, preaching and teaching all over the Christian world. He remained a pious devotee for as long as he lived, maintaining his poverty and living the life of an ultra-Christian.

In 1224, he made the ultimate sacrifice to devotion by undertaking a journey and fasting. He left to climb Mt. La Verna for a 40-day fast. One day during his fast, near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, a six-winged angel allegedly appeared to St. Francis while he prayed. The angel, as observed by St. Francis, bore the wounds of crucifixion. On September 14, St. Francis received the first marks of stigmata, having the sacred wounds appear on his hands, feet, and sides. These wounds stayed on and bled continually for two years, up until his death.

It is a simple tale, but some believe that this first case of stigmata can actually be traced back to disease. St. Francis suffered from many ailments during his lifetime. Historian Dr. Edward Frederick Hartung even diagnosed St. Francis with a debilitating eye disease known trachoma. Besides the eye infection, it is also believed that St. Francis’s stigmata was due to a severe case of malignant malaria, which causes hemorrhaging of blood through the skin in a medical condition known as purpura. Strangely enough, purpura is usually distributed symmetrically on the hands and feet. Sounds a lot like the stigmata, right?

We will never know what St. Francis was actually suffering from during his life. Whatever it was, it was painful and eventually led to his death two years later. He set the bar for stigmata, and people have been joining the stigmatic legions for years. Do they all have malaria, or are they all divine? The mystery remains.

10 People Who Documented Their Deaths

10 People Who Documented Their Deaths



Death can be devastating, both to the dying person and his loved ones. But how about someone actually documenting his death? Believe it or not, a number of people have done this throughout history.

Some knew they were dying and documented their deaths, taking notes, or sometimes photos and videos, of their slow end. Others didn’t realize they were dying, even though the possibility was there. Some of these people’s notes have valuable medical uses and give us a glimpse into death.

10Karl Schmidt

Photo credit: William Warby

Between September 25 and 26, 1957, Karl Patterson Schmidt, a herpetologist (a person who studies reptiles and amphibians) wrote notes explaining how he felt as he slowly died of a snakebite. The snake that bit him was a boomslang, which is extremely venomous.

The snake had been delivered to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where Schmidt worked, from the Lincoln Park Zoo. Schmidt was trying to pick the snake up for identification when he was bitten. He started documenting everything that happened thereafter. He even refused medical attention over fears of disrupting the experiment, which he never believed would kill him. (He had no real experience with boomslangs.)

Schmidt listed the foods he ate after the snakebite and the bite’s effects on him. On the day of the bite, he reported bleeding with a chilly and shaky feeling. The next morning, he reported heavier bleeding. He bled from his bowels, nose, and mouth. He also passed blood instead of urine. He became ill that morning and died in a hospital. An autopsy revealed that he died of severe internal bleeding caused by the deadly venom.[1]


In 2006, scientists got an idea of what cyanide tastes like, thanks to a note written by a 32-year-old Indian man only identified as “Prasad,” who committed suicide by drinking a cup of potassium cyanide. Before Prasad’s note, scientists could only guess the taste of cyanide by examining its chemical composition. Most agreed it would have a very unpleasant taste. They were right. Prasad wrote that it was acrid:

Doctors, [this is] potassium cyanide. I have tasted it. It comes through slowly at the beginning, and then it burns, the whole tongue burns and feels hard. The taste is very acrid . . . I had read in some novel about killing a man discreetly with cyanide. It was smeared on the pages of a book that he was reading, and when he touched his tongue with his finger to turn the book’s pages, he died and no one suspected . . . I am now convinced how easily someone can kill another using this . . .

Cyanide is very deadly, even in minute quantities. A mere 300 micrograms is enough to kill a man. Prasad had been defrauded in a gold deal that made him bankrupt. Unable to come to terms with the incident, he mixed potassium cyanide in water and drank it before writing about its effects. He could not even complete the note before the poison took its toll.[2]

8Unnamed German Man

In February 2008, two hunters found the remains of an unnamed 58-year-old man lying on a mattress in the forest in the Solling hill region of Germany. The man had starved himself to death. Beside him was a diary he updated as he died. The German police did not release the diary, so we do not have specific details about its contents, but we know that the man wrote about his deteriorating health and certain problems that were bothering him.

For 24 days, the man wrote about everything that was happening to his body. He drank some water but did not eat any food. He was pained over his joblessness, the strained relationship he had with his daughter, and the loss of his marriage. The diary was last updated on December 13, 2007, which would have been around the time he died. He added that the diary should be given to his daughter.[3]

7John Fawcett

Like today, drug abuse was a problem in the 1800s. It was even scarier then because doctors were the ones prescribing these drugs to people. We’re talking things like opium, morphine, heroin, and laudanum.

Laudanum is among the least known of these drugs, although it is equally dangerous and very addictive. It was used to treat all sort of ailments, from coughing to epilepsy. Parents purchased it over the counter and administered it to their babies without prescription, sometimes with fatal consequences. Between 1863 and 1867, 236 infants died of laudanum overdoses in England.

In another notable incident, the British Journal of Psychiatry published a letter that a lady addicted to laudanum wrote to her doctor. The unnamed woman rebuked her doctor for giving her a laudanum prescription. She complained that it made her sluggish, addicted, and uninterested in housework, which was abnormal for the ladies of the day.

John Fawcett also put his experience with laudanum in writing. As reported by the April 24, 1897, edition of the New York Journal and Advertiser, Fawcett took an overdose of laudanum and documented its effects on his body as he slowly died. He wrote on how the drug made him drowsy. He also added comments regarding his feelings and thoughts. He said he was committing suicide because he was tired of living.

Fawcett’s note ended with the words, “Died twenty-four hours after taking one ounce of laudanum.” Thereafter, he rolled into a nearby pond to drown. It is believed that Fawcett wrote most of the sentence earlier but left the number of hours blank so that he could fill it just before dying.[4]

6Ricardo Lopez

Photo credit: Imgur

On September 12, 1996, 21-year-old Ricardo Lopez committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth. His suicide would have caused little remark if he hadn’t sent a parcel bomb to Icelandic singer Bjork. The existence of the bomb was revealed in the suicide video he made just before his death. The suicide video was part of 22 hours’ worth of video Lopez had started shooting in January.

One person Lopez kept mentioning in his videos was Bjork, who he appeared to be obsessed with. He got jealous when he learned she had a boyfriend, prompting his decision to kill her. He made a bomb with sulfuric acid and mailed it to her London home. He took a pistol with him to the post office on the day he mailed the package so that he could quickly kill himself if he was caught.

An angry Lopez returned home to make the last video. He undressed, painted his face, and sat on a chair, where he shot himself through his mouth while one of Bjork’s songs played in the background. His body was found four days later, after it had started to decay. Officers from Hollywood Police Department recovered the videos, including the last one in which Lopez revealed he’d sent a bomb to Bjork. They informed police in England, and the bomb was recovered before it could be delivered to Bjork.[5]

5Edwin Katskee

Cocaine was the first local anesthetic that was widely adopted by doctors. Earlier anesthetics were not reliable and were sometimes dangerous to the patients. Cocaine was reliable. It numbed the parts being operated on and did not knock the patients out. However, it was not as safe as the doctors thought, since it was addictive and could kill in large doses.

At the time, there was no general consensus on the approved dosage, and doctors injected cocaine into their patients as they deemed fit. In 1936, Edwin Katskee decided to inject himself with cocaine to determine its effects on the body. He unintentionally injected himself with an overdose and proceeded to write his observations on notes attached to the walls of his office.

His first entry was “Eyes mildly dilated. Vision excellent.” This was followed by “Now able to stand up,” “Partial recovery. Smoked cigarette,” and “Results will be recorded in Rx books! Have a university and college [illegible] any findings. They better be good because I am not going to repeat the experiment.” His last entry was “paralysis.”

It is assumed that Katskee died immediately after writing this “paralysis.” Unfortunately for him, his notes were not very useful. He did not add the time to them and did not write them in any chronological order, leaving scientists to guess which came first. His writing was also very illegible and sometimes unreadable.[6]

4Daniel Alcides Carrion

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Like Edwin Katskee, Daniel Alcides Carrion experimented on himself and kept notes documenting his death. His notes were very useful, though. Carrion was a medical student in Peru. In 1873, three years before he went to medical school, he witnessed a deadly plague-like disease that killed thousands of people in the towns of Callao and La Oroya. Doctors had never seen anything like it before, and it was fatal to almost anyone who contracted it.

When Carrion was in medical school, Peru recorded a rise in verruga peruanadisease, which was already well-known. Carrion took interest in verruga peruana and researched it extensively. Part of his research involved using himself as a guinea pig to determine how the disease affected the body.

On August 27, 1885, Carrion had his friends pass the disease into his body after he was unable to do it himself. He recorded its first symptoms on September 17. By September 26, he was too weak to continue his notes and had a friend write for him until he died on October 5.

Carrion’s notes gave Peruvian doctors an insight into how verruga peruanaworked. It also proved that the plague Carrion witnessed three years before going to medical school was another form of the same disease. Today, Peruvians consider Carrion a hero and even named a university after him. Verruga peruana was also renamed in his honor. It is now called Carrion’s disease.[7] (It is also sometimes referred to as Oroya fever.)

3Timothy Leary

Photo credit: YouTube

Dr. Timothy Leary was a famous comedian, actor, and prankster. He lived a fulfilled life, having served in the US Army before venturing into showbiz. He also ran for governor and got jailed for drugs before escaping to Europe and Africa. He was recaptured and sent to prison again. In 1963, he was fired from Harvard for experimenting with a mind-altering drug on undergraduate students.

Leary often made jokes about his impending death after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He set up a website where he informed his fans about his health. A stranger once met him at a party and greeted him with, “Good luck on your death.”

On a later date, Leary said that statement was among the “most powerful things” he had ever been told. This made him promise to “give death a better name, or die trying.” Leary never gave death a better name, but when he finally died trying in 1996, he had his death filmed so that it could be broadcast sometime in the future. His last words were “Why not?”[8]

2Nara Almeida

Photo credit: Nara Almedia/Instagram

Nara Almeida was a 24-year-old Brazilian blogger who died of stomach cancer in May 2018. After being diagnosed with stomach cancer in August 2017, Almeida started posting pictures of her treatment to her 4.5 million social media followers. The pictures often included captions about her feelings, sleepless nights, and the pains and trauma she was going through.

A month before her death, she posted a picture of herself in the hospital bed with an arm in the air, just before she underwent an immunotherapy treatment. She captioned it, “I believe that in the end everything will work out and I will come out of it very strengthened and ready to help other people.” That never happened.[9]

1Martin Manley

In the early hours of August 15, 2013, sports journalist Martin Manley dialed 911 to report a suicide. After he hung up, he killed himself. Manley’s suicide surprised many. For a start, he did not approve of suicide.

Manley had been working on his own suicide for years. On the day of his death, he published a blog in which he revealed the reason he committed suicide and his personal opinions. Manley wrote that he killed himself because he wanted to control when, where, and how he died. He also explained why he chose the date, the location, and the gun he used. The day he shot himself was his 60th birthday.

Manley had been writing the blog posts for years and had paid for the blog a year before he shot himself. He only put the blog online on the morning of the day he shot himself. He paid for five years of hosting, but Yahoo removed the blog because it was against their terms and conditions. From the blog, it was clear that Manley was a perfectionist who wanted to be in control of whatever happened to him. He revealed that he had edited the blog posts several times over to ensure they were error-free.

Manley also made elaborate arrangements for his burial. Before his death, he had sent some trinkets and letters to several relatives, informing them of his death. The relatives only received the letters after he was dead. He also left specific information on how he should be buried and had already paid for several death expenses, including his cremation.[10] As we mentioned earlier, Yahoo has taken the original site down, but here is a clone.

Three Reasons HR Transformations Fail (and how to make sure yours doesn’t) – The Talent Strategy Group

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01 JULY 2018Three Reasons HR Transformations Fail (and how to make sure yours doesn’t)
Our experience shows that it’s not the usual suspects – troublesome technology implementations, challenging budgets, etc. – that undermine the success of HR transformations. The real culprits are both softer and far more controllable. That’s good news because it means that you can overcome these obstacles and ensure a faster, more effective transformation.

You’ll move faster and more successfully through your HR transformation if you execute these three steps:

Clarify the Vison: We describe how Kurt Lewin’s basic change model shows HR leaders where to focus more effort.
Increase Talent Quality: To adapt a Marshall Goldsmith quote, those who got you here won’t get you there.
Move Faster: While haste makes waste, needless delays make HR leaders seem replaceable.
Read the article here.

via Three Reasons HR Transformations Fail (and how to make sure yours doesn’t) – The Talent Strategy Group

The “I Don’t Have Time for Professional Development” Myth [MarketHer Ep. 43]

“I don’t have time for professional development,”

via The “I Don’t Have Time for Professional Development” Myth [MarketHer Ep. 43]

RAK Movement- Friday Random Acts of Kindness – Jay Parkhe

  1. Treat a friend – buy them lunch!
  2. Empty your wallet for charity
  3. Give up your seat on the tube/bus
  4. Make someone’s day – tell a friend why you appreciate them
  5. Buy more ethically sourced foods
  6. We all need help sometimes; offer someone a helping hand
  7. Save water – turn the tap off when brushing your teeth!
  8. Remember that family member you haven’t seen for a while? See how they are doing
  9. Help someone struggling with heavy bags
  10. Feed a stray animal if you spot one