The Rhoda Wise Story
Wife. Mother. Convert. Stigmatist.
I, Rhoda Wise, wife of George Wise, residing at 2337 25th St. NE and Harrisburg Rd., Canton, Ohio 44705 hereby relate the following facts pertaining to my case.
In 1932, when I was 44 years of age, I had a 39 pound tumor removed by an operation. The incision healed nicely.
One night in December, 1936, I seriously injured my ankle when I accidentally stepped into an open water drain at the curb of a dark street. Its iron cover had been broken. My leg was placed in casts, one after another but without any good results as my foot remained bent inwards. I could not stand on it without great pain, and could walk only on crutches. Several doctors declared my injury to be permanent.
In June, 1938, I reentered Mercy Hospital, Canton, for the placing of another cast. On this occasion a nurse discovered that an abscess had formed on my old abdominal incision. This abscess was promptly opened, but soon it was found that adhesions had formed on the bowel under the incision. I was operated on for these adhesions in July and August, 1938, and again in January, 1939. The wound resulting from these operations refused to heal. About a week after the third operation, the bowel underneath this wound became perforated, and there after the contents of the intestine were discharged through the open wound. This necessitated frequent dressing of the wound every day.
During my long stay in the hospital, I, a Protestant, became interested in the Rosary and had one of the Sisters teach me how to say it. Soon after, I learned about St. Theresa, the Little Flower of Jesus, and became greatly devoted to her, making one novena after another to her. I then felt myself drawn to the Catholic Church and after being instructed by Monsignor Habig, the pastor of St. Peter’s Church, I was received into the church by him on January 1st, 1939.
On February 12th, the doctor told me definitely there was no hope of a cure for my abdominal condition. On that same day I began keeping a diary for the first time in my life, describing my condition and the events occurring each day. This diary is still being kept, and records in detail the visions and cures which later occurred.
On the occasion of a Confirmation Service held at St. Peter’s in Canton on March 7th, 1939, Bishop McFadden graciously went to Mercy Hospital and confirmed me on my sickbed.
I was discharged from the hospital on May 8, 1939, as being apparently incurable. The doctor had told my relatives and later myself that I was afflicted with cancer. I was taken to my humble home and put to bed there, and a visiting nurse came in daily to dress my wound, the draining from which had caused my entire abdomen to become raw and intensely sore. This soreness caused me greater distress than the wound itself.
At 2:45 AM on the 28th day of May, 1939, Our Blessed Lord appeared to me as I lay awake in bed at my home. The room which had been dark suddenly became bright, and when I turned around in bed to see the cause of it, I beheld Jesus sitting on a chair beside my bed. I distinctly saw the marks of His forehead where the thorns had pierced His brow. He was gloriously beautiful and was robed in a gold garment which reflected every color. My first thought was that my time had come and I said to Him; “Have you come for me?” His answer was, “No. Your time has not yet come.” I then questioned Him about my dear deceased mother and He assured me that she was in heaven. He then declared that He would return in thirty-one days. As I reached out to touch His resplendent garment, He disappeared.
On June 28, 1939, Jesus again appeared to me at 2:45 A.M. The room suddenly lighted up, and there He stood in the doorway clothed in white, and the Little Flower was with Him. He declared: “I am here as I said.” The Little Flower approached my bed and motioned to me to remove the coverlet and the dressing from my wound. She then placed her hand on my abdomen and said: “I am the Little Flower. You have been tried in the fire and not found wanting. Faith cures all things.” She would not permit me to replace the dressing, but returned to Our Lord’s side, and Jesus said “I will come again. There is work yet to be done.” Then they vanished, and immediately I fell asleep. When I awoke at 5:00 A.M. I was astounded to find that the wound on my abdomen was entirely closed. Al the rawness which had extended over the entire abdomen was also completely gone, and was replaced with healthy tan-colored skin. The ruptured bowel, too, was entirely healed. Great was the rejoicing of my relatives and friends and in the days that followed a large number of people came to my home to see me.
Now that my abdomen seemed completely cured, the doctor placed another cast on my leg on July 14th. This cast in time proved too light to keep my foot from turning inwards and on August 11th a heavier cast was applied, which caused me much discomfort.
At 2:45 on August 15, 1939, as I sat up in bed crying with the pain caused by the tight-fitting cast, the room suddenly lighted up again, and the Little Flower stood by my bed and said; “That is a very little thing. Stand up and walk.” I placed my feet on the floor and stood up, and as I did so the cast, over a foot long, split open from top to bottom, and I easily stepped out of it. The Little Flower then said: “Go to church now,” and immediately disappeared.
I, who had not walked without crutches for over two and a half years, found that my foot was again perfectly straight and sound, and I walked quite freely about the house. At 6:00 A.M. I was taken by automobile to Mercy Hospital, where I walked from the elevator to the chapel, a distance of some 60 yards, without the slightest assistance. I then heard Mass for the first time in my life. It was the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I have been walking without difficulty ever since.
On December 29, 1939, at 3:30 A.M. Our Lord again appeared to me in my room. Among other things He said: “You will win many souls through your devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Little Flower.” He then blessed a great many religious articles which I had ready for His coming. The Little Flower also appeared on this occasion, and as they departed she said to me: “I will return on my birthday.”
She kept her promise and appeared again on her birthday, January 2, at 4:10 A. M. She gave me a personal message, and then admonished me not to love and honor her so much, but to love Jesus more.
On January 8, 1940, about 1:30 A.M. the Little Flower again appeared and dropped seven fresh rose petals on my face and chest, telling me to have them photographed. When I did so, many images of Our Lord and the Little Flower, and other saintly persons were visible in the picture.
On April 3, 1940, at 2:40 A.M. Our Lord appeared to me again and dictated a message which I wrote down at His direction in which He said among other things: “Cures more wonderful than your own will take place on this spot.” He also spoke of many conversions that would occur and declared: “I will not see you again for a long time. Much will be accomplished before I return again.”
Since then I have been favored with the following apparitions:
- The Little Flower, on the afternoon of the Feast of Christ the King, October 27, 1940, and also on her birthday, January 2, 1941, at 1:40 A.M.
- Our Lord and the Little Flower on June 28, 1941, the second anniversary of my original cure.
- The Little Flower on January 2, 1942, and again on March 15, 1942.
- Our Lord alone on June 2, 1942.
- Our Lord and the Little Flower on June 28th, 1942, the third anniversary of my original cure.
- The Little Flower on January 2, 1943.
- Our Lord and the Little Flower on June 28, 1943.
In the years between Rhoda’s cure and her death, she saw Our Lord and St. Therese twenty times. She suffered the visible stigmata every First Friday from 12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. for 2 ½ years in 1942 through 1945. Thereafter, she suffered invisible wounds until her death.
Our Lord appeared to her the last time on June 28, 1948, just ten days before her death and told her: “Tell the people not nearly enough of them are saying the daily Rosary; they must say the Rosary for the conversion of Russia…” At this time Jesus showed her His Sacred Heart, His bleeding heart.
Notes from the eulogy given by Monsignor Habig after the funeral Mass of Mrs. Rhoda Wise in St. Peter’s Church, Canton, Ohio, July 10, 1948.
“In my personal judgment she was held in high favor by God.” Monsignor Habig said “In the midst of a sinful world, holiness is still cherished. Rhoda Wise was truly a holy soul with her heart filled with a love for God so great that she was able to endure the greatest suffering for His sake.”
“I submit my poor judgment to that of the Church, but it is my personal conviction that what she stated about the many apparitions of Our Lord and the Little Flower is true, and that she was highly favored by the Lord.”
In the years following Rhoda’s death, her daughter, Anna Mae kept Rhoda’s home open to visitors. When she died in 1995, the home was willed to Mother Angelica and EWTN. Because it is such an important part of Mother Angelica’s story, the property was transferred of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in 2001. On January 1, 2015, property ownership was transferred to Rhoda Wise Shrine, Inc. with nonprofit status (501c3).
On October 7, 2016 Rhoda Wise’s Cause for Beatification opened in the Diocese of Youngstown. Servant of God, Rhoda Wise, pray for us!
“This place is to be a shrine and cures more wonderful than your own will take place on this spot.” (Our Lord to Rhoda Wise on April 3, 1940.)