The stigmata of Katya Rivas

(also known as Catalina Rivas- filmed live and shown throughout the world by Fox network- Signs from God)

The Book, “Reason to Believe” and the documentary, “A Plea to Humanity“, present some of the most remarkable happenings in modern times which will have important implications for both science and religion.

In Cochabamba, Bolivia, a plaster statue of Christ, inexplicably has wept tears and shed  blood.

In the same city, Katya Rivas (also known as Catalina Rivas) has had appear in her hands, in her feet and on her forehead, wounds similar to those believed to have been suffered by Christ in His Crucifixion, the stigmata.

Also, Katya, who had never read the Bible, and who did not complete her high school education, has written, without theological error, hundreds of pages of profound theological teachings and biblical commentaries which she says are dictated to her by Christ.

The story of these happenings was presented in a Fox Network prime time special called “Signs from God, Science Tests Faith” which was broadcast throughout the United States in July 1999 and subsequently in a number of other countries.

The program was produced and co-presented by the well-known Australian Television Journalist, Mike Willesee.

Mike Willesee is perhaps one of Australia’s most respected journalists and has, over his career spanning more than thirty years, gained a reputation as a fair but hard hitting investigative television journalist.  For many years he anchored and produced a nightly Australia wide current affairs television program.  During these years he was my neighbour and I became a personal friend of his and at times, his lawyer.

When I first presented to him my research on what was happening in Bolivia, he remained sceptical, being of the view “these things can’t happen and don’t happen”.

But in May 1998, Mr Willesee accepted the suggestion of mine that he should go there and see for himself.

It is that journey that he essentially presented in the “Signs from God” program, and retells in my documentary, “A Plea to Humanity”.

The Stigmata of Katya Rivas – True or false?

Mike Willesee made his first trip to Bolivia in July 1998. He went back in Holy Week of April 1999 bringing with him his own film crew to record the story for the Fox Network Television Program. He was hoping that Katya would have the stigmata on Good Friday of that week and that he would be able to film it. The day before Good Friday, Katya said to Mr Willesee that she had had a message from Jesus saying that she would not have the stigmata the next day but that she would have it on the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi (which would make it Friday, 4th June 1999, some two months away) and that he could return then and film what happens.

We returned on 3rd June and we were given unrestricted freedom to film. We began filming her on the evening of the 3rd and then through the next day. 

At 12 noon, on 4th June, at the exact time and date that Katya predicted the stigmata would occur, we saw and filmed small red dots appear on her palms and her feet. These marks then slowly opened up to form somewhat circular and deep severe wounds which began to shed blood.

There was symmetry to the way the wounds appeared and developed in both hands and both feet. They all began at the same time and progressed as bleeding wounds at the same rate. While wounds appeared on her hands and feet, wounds began to appear on her forehead. 

The wounds on the forehead appeared one after another across the forehead as we watched. These wounds looked as if they had been caused by something sharp, small and pointed. There were perhaps 20 or so. On her left cheek there appeared a swelling and a heavy bruise mark, of the sort that one sees when someone has been given a hard punch to the face.  

Throughout all this Katya was seen to suffer the pains of the wounds she had. As the time approached 3 pm she began to suffer from difficulty in breathing and what seemed like congestion in her lungs. At about 3.10 pm, all the pain subsided, and her injuries began to heal.

By the next morning the injuries she had to her body had completely healed. (The medical opinion is that the wounds like she had should have taken at least 4 to 6 weeks to heal).

There were at least nine people in the room who witnessed Katya experience the stigmata that day. Not only was there Mike Willesee and myself, but Greg Barbera, (an Australian 60 Minutes cameraman), his sound recorder, Ralph Steele and other people.

Since the broadcast of the Fox program, there have been some journalists and critics who have gone to print to publish what they suggest was the case, namely that Katya inflicted those wounds on herself, or they were inflicted on her by someone else and that Mike Willesee had been duped by some clever fraud to think otherwise.

But what these critics have conveniently failed to consider, is that if they believe Katya or someone else somehow inflicted these severe wounds on her without the camera or the witnesses noticing, how did she make those wounds heal completely overnight as they did?


Also what these critics have conveniently failed to consider, is that if they believe Katya or someone else somehow inflicted these severe wounds on her without the camera or the witnesses noticing, how did she make those wounds heal completely overnight as they did?

I, Ron Tesoriero, quote from my book REASON TO BELIEVE where I also describe what happened with the stigmata of Katya Rivas during the making of the Fox program “SIGNS FROM GOD”

“The cameras were rolling in the glare of the lights….”

At noon precisely small puncture wounds formed on her forehead, one after another, and as we watched they began to bleed. A swelling began on her left cheek and a dark abrasion appeared as if she had been punched in the face. First her palms, then her feet began to show small scratches in the form of a cross. These then slowly ruptured into open wounds which also began to bleed. Katya was in severe pain, struggling to breathe, mumbling inchoate prayers and contracting in spasms as the hours passed.  By 1.30 pm they were already the size of a large coin, maybe 3cm in diameter. As the wounds grew larger and more bloody I couldn’t help but think of what it must have been like to see and hear the sound of brutal hammers smashing through the tendons of an innocent man’s hands 2000 years ago; I couldn’t help but imagine the pain of thorns puncturing the fragile skin of a forehead, soaked in sweat, full of dust and spittle. By 3.00pm I was concerned. Katya was struggling to breathe. She seemed to be dying.

With cameras rolling continuously the spontaneous formation of the wounds was indisputable. Katya was not hypnotized or in any kind of trance. She certainly was not pretending or performing. The wounds were not self-inflicted. They were not externally created by the ingenuity of special effects. From their first spontaneous appearances to their issuing blood, I saw it all. So did everyone else in the room. And so did 20 million viewers of prime time television. The footage was broadcast on the Fox Network as a program called “Signs from God” in July 1999 to massive American and Canadian audiences.”