here] Portrait of Jesus as mystic and stigmatist Rhoda Wise
May 23, 2003 - Reported in the cantonrep.com by David Lewellen. [Above
photo] Elizabeth Katusin prays in the former home of Rhoda Wise,
sitting in the chair that Wise said Jesus sat in. Many visitors
still come to the house, where Wise said she was cured by Jesus
and endured stigmata, wounds resembling those Jesus suffered on
- Fifty five years after Rhoda Wise died, believers still crowd
into her tiny, modest house on 25th Street NE near Taft Avenue.
A few seek miracles; most just want to feel a connection. For nine
years, Wise said, she received regular visits from Jesus and St.
Therese. On the first
Friday of every month, she would bleed from her palms and forehead
wounds resembling those Christ received on the cross, called
Word got around,
and the line to see Wise could stretch around the block on those
days, or at other times. Even after she died in 1948, the faithful
would come to visit her daughter, Anna Mae Wise, and pray. Today,
the house is owned by Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Alabama.
It offers meetings twice a week, and is usually open during the
day if people want to pray on their own. A small grotto next door
is to open next month, for people to visit whenever they like.
who lives in the house and looks after it, said that some remarkable
cures have been reported, but more often, families come back
and tell me that (the petitioner) had a very peaceful death. Whatever
people needed, our Lord gives. Sigler,
a lay member of the Secular Franciscans, took care of Anna Mae Wise
for 13 years before her death in 1995.
The crowd of
about 20 at a prayer service last week comprised mostly older women,
some of whom had personal memories of Rhoda Wise. Tina
Snyder was a student nurse at Mercy Hospital when Wise was a patient.
She goes to church every morning, but still visits Wises house.
just to pray, she said. We dont pray to Rhoda.
We pray to God. Violet
Yontz remembered, I stood in line for two hours in 1944. People
were coming by the hundreds, and it was 85 degrees. She
couldnt recall what Wise said to her, or if she was bleeding,
but she shook hands with us. I think she hugged us. Its
wed come here, and shed bless you if you had any problems,
said Mary Rocci. I asked her to bless me, and told her about
my husband being in the service. She said hed be all right
and would come back. She offered me some consolation, which was
what I needed. Sigler
has not pushed for sainthood for Wise.
is long and exacting, and requires evidence of at least two miracles
performed by the candidate. But we keep telling the story,
and it obviously means a lot to a lot of people, she said.
Wise, she said,
would bleed the first Friday of the month, between noon and
3 p.m., the hours that our Lord was on the cross. Then it would
just stop and heal over, and then the next first Friday, it would
The crush of
visitors often wore out Wise, but Sigler said that Wises pastor,
Monsignor George Habig of St. Peters, asked her to open her
house to them. But, Sigler wrote in the book, Her Name Means
Rose, Monsignor found he had to make a rule that no
one could touch Rhoda, because a few disrespectful skeptics had
actually tried to push pencils into the wounds in Rhodas hands
and tried to rip the bandages off her head.
granddaughter, Darlene Zastawny, doesnt remember her grandmother,
but she grew up around the story. Id
get up for breakfast, and thered be someone at the breakfast
table Id never seen before, she said. It takes
a strong person to open your house and let strangers come in and
were here. God was here, Zastawny said. What draws them
is to know God walked and talked on this spot.
Rhoda wise -
Born in 1888 in Cadiz; grew up Protestant. Moved
to Canton in 1915; married George Wise in 1917. Adopted daughter
Anna Mae in 1922. Suffered
through most of the 1930s from abdominal tumors, leg and ankle injuries,
and other illnesses. Was
treated at Mercy Hospital; converted to Catholicism Jan. 1, 1939.
Was sent home
to die in April 1939; said she received visit from Jesus and was
immediately healed on June 28. Recorded
notes of many more visits from Jesus and St. Therese in later years.
Bled from her
forehead for the first time in 1942; stigmata continued for several
years. Died July 7, 1948.
To visit Rhoda Wise's home or obtain copies of The Rhoda Wise Story call 330-453-0322 or write 2337 25th St. NE Canton, Ohio 44705. Learn more about these events at RhodaWise.com.
Read/view Biography on Rhoda Wise.