We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Odour of Sanctity?

Niki Foster
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In Catholic belief, the Odour of Sanctity is a sweet, floral smell that emanates from the wounds of saints or from saints themselves upon their death. Sometimes, the Odour of Sanctity is said to accompany living saints. The term Odour of Sanctity may also be used metaphorically to refer to a state of grace, and many theologians today do not give much weight to the olfactory phenomenon it describes. Odour of Sanctity is often associated with incorruptibility, the failure of a saint's body to decompose after death.

The idea of the Odour of Sanctity is thought to have arisen during the early medieval period, when saints were canonized by local Church officials rather than by the Holy See. People who had known an alleged saint in life would attest to his or her holiness and push for canonization, while the Bishop in charge of the decision would look for signs attesting saintliness. Potential saints' bodies were sometimes exhumed for this purpose, and both incorruptibility and the Odour of Sanctity were considered convincing signs of sainthood. Today, canonization is the purview of the Holy See, the central government of the Catholic Church, and tests such as those described above are no longer used to determine sainthood; instead, a rigorous examination of the life of each potential saint is conducted.

A few saints are said to have emitted a strong Odour of Sanctity that lasted for days immediately upon their death. Notably, Saint Teresa of Avila, known for her mystical religious writings, and Saint Thérèse de Lisieux, who stressed simplicity of life and faith, were said to fill their respective convents with the scent of roses at the moment of death. The Odour of Sanctity is also said to characterize the wounds of saints, particularly stigmata, spontaneously forming wounds that mirror those of Christ during the crucifixion. Padre Pio, an Italian priest and saint, had stigmata that lasted for 50 years and allegedly smelled of roses.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Foster
By Niki Foster , Writer

In addition to her role as a WiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

Discussion Comments

Niki Foster

Niki Foster

Writer

In addition to her role as a WiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in...

Read more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.