Therese Neumann

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Therese Neumann.

Therese Neumann (8 or 9 April 1898 – 18 September 1962) was a German Catholic mystic and stigmatic.

She was born in the village of Konnersreuth in Bavaria, Germany, where she lived all her life. She was born into a large family with little income. She was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis.


On 10 March 1918, Therese Neumann was partially paralyzed after falling off a stool while attending to a fire in her uncle's barn.[1] She sustained more falls and injuries during this period. After one particular fall she claimed to have lost much of her eyesight, and in 1919 she claimed to have been blinded completely. Bedridden, she reportedly developed horrible bed sores that sometimes exposed bone.[2]

Therese reported that her eyesight was restored on 29 April 1923—the day Therese of Lisieux was beatified in Rome. Therese Neumann had been praying novenas in advance of this day.[3] On 17 May 1925 Therese of Lisieux was fully canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church. Therese Neumann said the saint called to her and then cured her of her paralysis and bed sores.[4]

On 7 November 1925 Neumann took to her bed again, and on 13 November claimed to have been diagnosed with appendicitis. According to her account, while prepared for surgery she convulsed violently and stared at the ceiling finally saying, "Yes." She asked her family to take her to the church to pray immediately. She then announced that she had been cured of all traces of appendicitis.[5]


Therese would later apparently develop the stigmata. She said that on 5 March 1926, the first Friday of Lent, a wound had appeared slightly above her heart, but that she had kept this secret. However, she did report a vision of Jesus at Mount Olivet with three Apostles.[6]

On 12 March, she said she had another vision of Christ at Mt. Olivet, along with the crowning of thorns. She also claimed that the wound above her heart reappeared on this day, and she spoke to her sister about it. She claimed the wound also reappeared on Friday of the following week. By 26 March, she was claiming the same wound accompanied by a vision of Christ bearing the cross and a similar wound on her left hand. Blood was observed on her clothing, and she no longer attempted to keep the information to herself.

On Good Friday, Neumann, according to her own testimony witnessed the entire Passion of Christ in her visions. She displayed wounds on her hands and feet accompanied by blood apparently coming from her eyes. Blood poured from the wounds, however - according to Josef Hanauer's book The Swindle of Konnersreuth - onlookers did not actually see the bleeding in action, only the blood itself.[7] By 3 p.m. that day, her parish priest Fr. Josef Naber was summoned to give Neumann the Last Rites. By 4 o'clock, her condition improved. The wounds on her feet and hands were observed when she was bathed.[citation needed]

On Easter Sunday, she claimed a vision of the resurrection of Christ. For several consecutive Fridays after that, she stated she was experiencing the Passion of Christ, apparently suffering in her own body along with all his historic agonies. She claimed to have especially suffered the Passion on Good Friday each year.

By 5 November 1926, she displayed nine wounds on her head as well as wounds on her back and shoulders. According to several sources these wounds never healed or became infected and were found on her body at death.[citation needed]


From 1923 until her death in 1962, Therese Neumann professed to have consumed no food other than The Holy Eucharist, and claimed to have drunk no water from 1926 until her death.[8]

Montague Summers in the "Physical Phenomenon of Mysticism"[9] speaks of her supposedly supernatural ability to survive for long periods without food or water.


It was claimed that during some of her Friday trances, she would utter phrases identified by witnesses as ancient Aramaic. She was also said to have been able to understand Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.[10]

During the Third Reich, Therese Neumann was the target of ridicule and defamation, as the Nazis knew about her dissenting views and feared her growing popularity. She was observed by the Gestapo.[11] She was never physically harmed, though her family home, parish church and priest's house all received direct attacks. She encouraged Fritz Gerlich to continue his opposition to Hitler and his national-socialist party. Gerlich was subsequently killed for his opposition.

Paramahansa Yogananda visited her and wrote about her case in his book Autobiography of a Yogi, published in 1946. He wrote an entire chapter, Therese Neumann, The Catholic Stigmatist of Bavaria, which reverently gives a vivid first-hand description of one of her Friday Passion trances. [12]

Reinhard Lorenz from Meißen (R.L.M.), a medium from the New Salems Society, received a message about Neumann in 1929, allegedly coming from God the Father. It was published in "Das Wort", the periodical of the movement. It is said that the startling phenomenon of Konnersreuth is approved by God to be an impact that can't be argued away. Science will not be able to make out how the wonder happened and persist. Everyone should look into his heart for understanding and this will create various useful thoughts to understand the signs of the times. Because they consider it ungodly and amiss, some want dictate to God what to do, but God does what he wants and will achieve his goal at last. Blessed is he, who not gets annoyed at God.[13]

On 18 September 1962, Therese Neumann died from cardiac arrest, after having suffered from Angina pectoris for some time.

The Roman Catholic Church has neither confirmed nor denied the inedia (from which she suffered according to her critics), nor her stigmata. The "Resl", as she is colloquially known, nonetheless attained a place in popular piety — a petition asking for her beatification was signed by 40,000 people. In 2005, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Bishop of Regensburg, formally opened the Vatican proceedings for her beatification.


Scientists and skeptics do not believe that Neumann performed genuine miracles. According to skeptical investigator Joe Nickell on one occasion Neumann claimed to have healed herself from blindness, but whilst "blind" she was examined and her pupils responded normally to light. Nickell suspected that Neumann's claims were performed by "hysterical hypochondria" or "outright fakery".[14]

By 1928 the church authorities had investigated Neumann's alleged stigmata. A professor who was monitoring her noted that blood would only appear from her wounds when he was asked to leave the room. He reported the behavior as suspicious commenting that something "needed to be hidden from observation."[14]

A psychoanalytic study of Neumann has suggested that her stigmata resulted from post-traumatic stress symptoms expressed in unconscious self-mutilation through abnormal autosuggestibility.[15]

Researcher Ian Wilson found the inedia claims of Neumann suspicious. He noted that "Therese had a vigorous, stocky build throughout most of this time, and all reason tells us that it would be impossible to survive so long without food or drink."[16]

See also


  1. Life and Death of Therese Neumann, Mystic and Stigmatist, by Albert Vogl, ISBN 0-533-03379-9 (Vogl), p. 2
  2. Vogl, 3
  3. Vogl, p. 4
  4. Vogl, p. 4,5
  5. Vogl, pp. 5, 6
  6. Vogl, p. 7
  7. Hanauer, Josef, The Swindle of Konnersreuth, A Never-Ending Scandal. Online text, webpage found 2007-10-23.
  8. Vogl, p. 17
  9. [1]
  10. Vogl, pp. 48,49
  11. Vogel, ibid., pp. 77.
  12. Autobiography of a Yogi, P. Yogananda, copyright 1946 P. Yogananda, 13th ed., 1998, Library of Congress, ISBN 0-87612-079-6, ch. 39, pp. 418-428
  13. New Salems Society, Das Wort, 1929, page 172
  14. 14.0 14.1 Nickell, Joe. (1993). Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures. Prometheus Books. pp. 227-228. ISBN 1-57392-680-9
  15. Albright, M. (2002). "The Stigmata: The Psychological and Ethical Message of the Posttraumatic Sufferer". Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. 25 (3): 329–358.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Wilson, Ian. (1988). The Bleeding Mind: An Investigation into the Mysterious Phenomena of Stigmata. Weidenfeld and Nicholson. pp. 114-115. ISBN 978-0297790990

Further reading

  • Therese Neumann A Stigmatist of Our Days, by Friedrich Ritter von Lama
  • Further Chronicles of Therese Neumann, by Friedrich Ritter von Lama
  • Life and Death of Therese Neumann, Mystic and Stigmatist, by Albert Vogl, ISBN 0-533-03379-9
  • Mystical Phenomena in the Life of Threresa Neumann, by Most Reverend Josef Teodorowicz translated by Rev. Rudolph Kraus, Ph.D., S.T.D.
  • The Story of Theresa Neumann, by Albert Paul Schimberg
  • The Case of Therese Neumann, by Hilda C. Graef
  • The Visions of Therese Neumann, by Johannes Steiner
  • Theresa Neumann: A Portrait Based on Authentic Accounts, Journals and Documents, by Johannes Steiner
  • What about Therese Neumann: A concise background for and analysis of the critical reception accorded Hilda C. Graef's the case of Therese Neumann, by Leonard J. Fick

External links