A reliquary is an ornate medieval devotional receptacle that holds the relic of a saint, which might be a knuckle bone, a tooth, or a lock of hair. Instead of a knuckle bone or lock of hair, this Celliquary holds the cervical cells of Henrietta Lacks, a poor African American woman who was treated at Johns Hopkins for cervical cancer in the early 1950s. During treatment, doctors took samples of her cervical cells without her permission and used them for research, discovering that they are the ideal cells for study. To date, over 20 tons of her cells, known as the immortal HeLa cell line, have been used in laboratories across the globe, leading to the development of countless therapies for a wide range of illnesses.
One of the requirements for the canonization of a Saint is for him or her to perform posthumous miracles. Who better to nominate than the woman whose cells have healed millions since her death in 1951?