Rhoda Wise said Jesus, St. Therese visited her

 

[See here] Portrait of Jesus as mystic and stigmatist Rhoda Wise saw Him.

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 the cross.

Canton, Ohio - 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 stigmata.

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.

Karen Sigler, 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 Wise’s house.

“It’s just to pray,” she said. “We don’t 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 couldn’t recall what Wise said to her, or if she was bleeding, but “she shook hands with us. I think she hugged us. It’s something special.”

“On Sunday we’d come here, and she’d 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 he’d 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.

The process 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 open again.”

The crush of visitors often wore out Wise, but Sigler said that Wise’s pastor, Monsignor George Habig of St. Peter’s, 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 Rhoda’s hands and tried to rip the bandages off her head.”

Wise’s granddaughter, Darlene Zastawny, doesn’t remember her grandmother, but she grew up around the story. “I’d get up for breakfast, and there’d be someone at the breakfast table I’d never seen before,” she said. “It takes a strong person to open your house and let strangers come in and out.” “Cures 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.

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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.

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