What is a Stigmata?

St. Francis stigmata
   In ecclesiology, stigmata are marks on the bodies of certain persons, resembling the wounds suffered by Christ in the Crucifixion and inflicted presumably by a supernatural agency. Observed instances of stigmata have included not only wounds of the hands and feet and of the side received in the Cruci­fixión, but also those impressed by the crown of thorns and by the scourging. In some cases the stigmata have been only subjectively felt and could not be seen by others. The first and most remarkable example of stigmatization is that of St. Francis of Assisi. Since St. Francis' time there have been many such cases, notably those of Anna Emmerich and Louise Lateau (1850-83) of Bois d'Haine, Belgium.