Rome Newsroom, Aug 1, 2023 / 09:48 am
The incorrupt body of St. Benedict the Moor, a 16th-century son of slaves who joined the Franciscans and would become the patron saint of African missions, has been all but destroyed after a wildfire engulfed the Sicilian church where he had been interred.
A post shared by the parish of Santa Maria di Gesù showed that the body of the saint, whose dark skin and devotion to the enslaved has made him especially beloved among descendants of slaves, has been mostly incinerated, with only a few bone fragments remaining. The body of Blessed Matthew Agrigento, another Sicilian Franciscan whose body had been kept in the church, was also seriously damaged.
“With tears in our hearts we are very sad to inform you that little is left of the body of St. Benedict the Moor and Blessed Matteo di Agrigento,” the parish said on its Facebook account. “Intercede from heaven for those who are suffering in these hours and for those who are sudden victims of so much disaster!”