Bleeding For Jesus

La Serena Chile - A 48 year old Roman catholic nun named Isabella Santos became a revered figure when in 1930 she had a vision from God. Her first vision occurred while she worked among the city's poor at a free clinic the church had set up.. One day she was said to have thrown her hands into the air and cried out to God to take the sights away from her eyes. When asked later what she had seen she replied, "Visions of Satan visiting our people. Of misery and suffering coming such as we have never seen."

Sister Isabella displaying stigmata on Easter, 1931 in Val Paraiso, Chile

The local priest ordered her to rest and refrain from working but word of her vision got out to the population and people started coming by the convent and visiting with her. It was on one such visit that it was claimed she cured a copper miner of his "miner's cough" Soon the demand of her presence created havoc with the local church and she was relocated to the city of Val Paraiso in December of 1930.

Yet word of her healing touch accompanied her and the local poor continued to seek her out. At first she resisted attempts to be seen by the public but in February of 1931 she agreed to go to a woman's house and see her ailing infant. It is unknown if a miracle or the use of medicine cured the child but soon there was a clamor by the public to see the nun.

The church now ordered her to move out of the country but this time the nun broke rank and refused to leave. She left the Val Paraiso convent and moved into a small building in the center of the city where she received hundreds of daily visitors. In addition to seeing and caring for the sick and dying she held daily "sermons" where she called for a betterment of the people and told crowds that "God wants you and your government to serve him better. You can come closer to Christ by first bettering yourselves. Improve yourself so that the temple of Christ can grow."

These speeches attracted the attention of the newly formed Chilean Carabineros (national police) and, because of the effects of the Great Depression, were very wary of any attempt by the poor to better their condition. Sister Isabella was ordered to stop her speeches but she refused and gave her last one on Easter morning . It was here that she said that "God was going to test Chile and that she was going to Heaven." Then before a shouting crowd she held up her hands and displayed blood flowing from wounds on her palms. Moments later a group of Carabineros took her away.

Sister Isabella was not seen again and it was thought she had been killed by the dictatorial government in an attempt to keep the poor sector of the public from revolting. The "misery and suffering" she saw in her initial vision may have been the following months of strife when the Chilean government sought to quell growing disobedience to their rule by violence and bloodshed. This proved unsuccessful and further riots by the population (some spurned on no doubt by the Sister's words) led to the overthrow of the military backed government in July of 1931.


"The Strange Case of Sister Isabella" Strange Facts of the Unknown World published in 1978 by Register Press

photo courtesy of Strange Facts of the Unknown World

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