The Stigmatist (1850-1883)
Louise Lateau was born and lived all her life in the village of Bois d'Haine, near Manage, in the Belgian province of Hainaut. In 1866, there was an outbreak of cholera, and she nursed and buried the victims, while isolating herself from the other villagers. Afterwards she worked as a seamstress, but she gained international fame when stigmata (bleeding wounds on the body resembling the wounds suffered by Christ on the cross) first appeared in 1868 and she began to experience weekly religious ecstasies. Numerous examinations by doctors could find no explanation for the stigmata, nor for her ability to survive on just a few glasses of water a week and without sleep.