Having met with Samoa’s stigmatic, Toaipuapuaga Opapo Patrick, the Prime Minister, Tuilapea Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has been won over by her claims.
He has said he witnessed blood coming from her head and after she had written in front of him, the script was later verified as being an Ancient Hebrew script.
And while others may be skeptical about the young woman and her claims, it is understandable that the P.M. should feel this way; after all, these actions, he said, occurred in his presence.
Stigmata is a term used by members of the Christian faith to describe body marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands, wrists, and feet.
Over the years, many men and women (80% are women) have claimed they carry the marks of Jesus Christ.
And while many have been revealed to be fraudulent, some, such as Padre Pio and St Francis of Assisi have been investigated and have become saints.
Others, such as Natuzza Evolo from Italy and Cora Evans of California are in the process for beatification and canonization.
Sadly, among those who have made false claims are people who have self mutilated, to gain attention, committed blasphemy and/or are suffering from mental illnesses.
In the case of Toaipuapuaga, there are as many believers as there are dissenters.
Stigmata are primarily associated with the Roman Catholic faith so is this why Toaipuapuaga has left the C.C.C.S. and converted to Catholicism?
This also would make a pathway for her to visit Rome to have her case investigated and publicized further afield.
And it appears that this recognition and publicity is what has Tuilaepa so excited.
“To me, it would be a great advertisement for Samoa and I support anything that will make Samoa’s name known because it will pour in blessings from overseas.”
What the blessings are, the P.M. has not explained.
Perhaps we will be promoting Samoa as a centre for Religious Tourism?
Will that mean our tourism numbers will increase as visitors add us to their itineraries along with Jerusalem and Bethlehem?
We certainly have enough churches to satisfy round the islands tours; we already proclaim our country as ‘Founded on God’ and often use His name to justify almost everything we do. And our population, is almost 99% Christian, according to the census, of which Catholics make up 19.6%, the second largest Christian denomination after the Congregationalists, at 34.8%.