Stigmata are the supposedly spontaneously duplicated wounds of Jesus' crucifixion upon the body of a Christian. History's first recorded stigmatic was Saint Francis of Assisi who exhibited the wounds in 1224, two years before his death. Subsequently, this phenomenon proliferated, mostly in Roman Catholic counties and largely among cloistered priests and nuns— many seeming to be emotionally disturbed. (Of 321 stigmatics recorded by 1908, women predominated in a proportion of seven to one over men.)
The wounds vary in type (tiny slits, cross-shaped wounds, etc.), location, and other aspects, and often seem imitative of popular pictures of the crucifixion. The phenomenon has not been scientifically validated. Some stigmatics were proven fakes and many others raised suspicions about the genuineness of their wounds. (See Joe Nickell, "Stigmata: In Imitation of Christ," Skeptical Inquirer, July/August 2000, pp. 24-8.)
Portrait of Christ (left rear) on a chromolithographed postcard of ca. 1910 depicts him, post resurrection, displaying his wounds (including the spear-piercing of his side, but lacking the marks from the crown of thorns). Figurine (center) of Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) is made of molded woodlike material (about 7" tall). Devotional card (right) features Padre Pio (1887-1968) who was beatified in 1999. Pio is shown wearing his trademark fingerless gloves that concealed his alleged stigmata. (The local Roman Catholic clergy once accused his friary of exhibiting him to make money.)
Of the above two images of Saint Francis of Assisi, that the left is a prayer card issued by a funeral home on the death of a woman in 1965. The card is about 4 inches high and about 2 1/4 inches across. The one on the right is a late nineteenth-century chromolithographed card featuring St. Francis (who is exhibiting the stigmata). On the reverse side is a prayer printed in German. This card is about 3 inches high and about 2 inches across.
Pictured above is a piece of painted wood with glued on paper print. On the reverse is a sticker with a brief biography and reproduced signature of the artist. The plaque is about 12 1/2 inches tall overall, and about 5 1/4 inches across the bottom.
This is a wooden screw-topped container produced on a lathe. Imprinted on the front in French is "Pierre Miraculeuse" (that is, "Miraculous Stone"). The probable stone is missing but there is glue where it would have been. The item probably dates from after 1883 when the commune of Malakoff (named after a Crimean War battle) was created. It lies in Paris' southwestern suburbs. "Passage du Nord" is a street in Malakoff. The souvenir bears the picture and name of St. Francis in French and is about 3 inches tall and about 1 inch across the bottom.
Pictured above are different items depicting Padre Pio and from left to right they are:
Prayer card titled "The Chaplet of Padre Pio" featuring a prayer in English on the front and Italian on the reverse. It is about 5 3/4 inches high and about 3 3/4 inches across.
The second picture is a postcard (undated) showing Padre Pio's alleged stigmata. This card is about 6 inches high and about 4 inches across.
Above the middle picture is an Italian souvenir of stigmatic Padre Pio, with a tiny crucifix and portrait medallion. The souvenir is about 8 1/4 inches long.
The final picture is a postcard (undated) depicting Padre Pio conducting mass. The postcard is about 6 inches high and about 4 inches across. Both postcards are modern and have the full name of Padre Pio on the reverse sides ("Padre Pio Da Pietrelcina").