Saint Lidwina of Schiedam – Emitting perfumes and light
Type of Spiritual Experience
Friar Herbert Thurston was a Catholic priest, a member of the Jesuit order and an historian. He wrote extensively on Catholic mysticism and psychic phenomena and was a member of the Society for Psychical Research. He was also widely read on this subject. He is described as ‘an honest skeptic’., and once said ‘the role of Devil’s advocate is a thankless one and does not make for popularity’.
Hypothetically, the spiritual experiences were actually those of her visitors, and they were seeing her aura and experiencing the ‘perfumes’ that are the hallmark of spirit helpers.
A description of the experience
Friar Herbert Thurston - The Physical Phenomenon of Mysticism
St. Lidwina of Schiedam was a wonderful model of patient suffering. Thomas a Kempis who, though not her earliest biographer, has left a seemingly reliable account of the mystical experiences of his compatriot and contemporary, speaks of her as follows:
Apart from her mental illumination, over which great men of letters and religious, versed in spiritual studies. . . wondered exceedingly, very often by day and night when she was visited by the angel, or returned from the contemplation of the things above, she was discovered by her companions to be surrounded by so great a divine brightness that, seeing the splendour and struck with exceeding fear they dared not approach nigh to her.
And although she always lay in darkness and material light was unbearable to her eyes, nevertheless, the divine light was very agreeable to her, whereby her cell was often so wondrously flooded by light that to the beholders the cell itself appeared full of material lamps or fires.
Nor is it strange if she overflowed even in the body with divine brightness, who, according to the expression of Blessed Paul, beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, was daily transformed into the same image from brightness to brightness as by the spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. iii, 18).
And not only was she wont to be surrounded by, divine brightness, but with a wondrous sweetness also both herself and her cell were found to be redolent, so that those who entered thought that divers aromatic simples had been brought in and scattered there.