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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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Sometimes called the odor of sanctity, they are the perfume-like scent given forth by the bodies of saints during their lifetime or after death. They are considered, as it were, symbols of the fragrance of extraordinary virtue. Thus the stigmata of St. Francis were reported occasionally to emit a sweet perfume. When St. Theresa died in 1582, the water in which her body had been bathed retained a noteworthy fragrance. During nine months a mysterious perfume rose from her grave. Both phenomena were carefully studied in the process of her canonization. Among the conditions set down by the Church to verify the phenomenon is whether any physical miracle is associated with the fragrant emanation.