Friar Leopold Mandic (1866–1942): the computed tomography of the body of a saint
- 180 Downloads
In forensic clinical anatomy computed tomography (CT) is used in post-mortem radiological investigation as an objective nondestructive documentation of the body surface and of the interior of the body. This technique is applied also in paleopathology, in particular in mummy studies, with the aim of providing a permanent record of the mummy’s features, investigating the embalming procedure employed and analyzing the extent of the preservation in detail.
For the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the mortal remains of Saint Leopold Mandic and Saint Pio da Pietralcina, as examples of Mercy known by everyone, have been brought to Rome in February 2016. During the survey that preceded the preparation for transport to Rome, a whole-body CT was performed on the mummified corpse of Leopold Mandic, Capuchin Saint of Padova, Italy.
The CT examination demonstrated the presence of osteoarthritis at the level of the vertebral column, of the left knee and of the left hand. Moreover, CT showed the preservation of skeleton and partial preservation of the some viscera, such as remnants of the brain, heart, oesophagus, urinary bladder, plexuses and spinal nerves, ear ossicles, major arterial vessels (aorta and carotid arteries). It is to emphasize the fact that Saint Leopold was not subjected before the CT to any conservative treatment.
Computed tomography demonstrated to be a non-destructive method to investigate Saint Leopold, in order to maintain the integrity of the body and to acquire data on his pathologies and on his preservation. CT allows not only the acquisition of sectional images but also, thanks to dedicated software, the post-processing and reconstruction of three-dimensional models, that can be used also for public displays.
KeywordsComputed tomography Saint Mummies Paleoradiology Paleopathology Forensic clinical anatomy
The authors are grateful to Dr. Gloria Sarasin for her skillful technical assistance.
VM: Project and protocol development, data collection and analysis, manuscript writing. EEEP: Data analysis, manuscript writing. AP: Project development, data analysis, manuscript writing. AM: Data collection and analysis. LT: Project development. FG: Project development. BG: Data analysis and manuscript editing. RC: Project and protocol development, data collection and analysis, manuscript writing and editing.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors indicate no potential conflicts of interest.
- 3.Charlier P, Huynh-Charlier I, Poupon J, Fox CL, Keyser C, Mougniot C, Popescu SM, Brun L, Pietri S, Thévenard F, Laquay L, Hurel A, Ellul JP, Hervé C (2014) The heart of Blessed Anne-Madeleine Remuzat: a biomedical approach of “miraculous” heart conservation. Cardiovasc Pathol 23:344–350. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carpath.2014.07.005 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 11.Park K (2010) Holy autopsies. Saintly bodies and medical expertise, 1300–1600. In: Hairston J, Stephens W (eds) The body in Early Modern Italy. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp 61–73Google Scholar
- 15.http://www.leopoldomandic.it/index.php/san-leopoldo/la-vita-del-santo?jjj=1501866755513. Accessed 12 June 2018