We've covered Ossuaries before here. Now, and in the spirit of blogging something vaguely topical for Easter, let us enter the Putridarium. Among other things, it's the Ossuary's manufacturing process:
This idea of death being a really long process with different phases is acted out in the rituals that start in the putridarium. The fresh corpse is brought down and seated on one of the chairs with a hole in the center. There’s a strainer over the hole that ensures all the bones are saved as various goos and fluid drip out of the body and into the vat below...
...Within these Catholic death rituals, the bodies in the putridarium are tended to and dressed in new clothes as they rot. Sometimes public masses are said down in the crypt. And praying for the dead in purgatory is an important spiritual obligation for the living. But even if you take the religious aspect out of it, this adds up to taking a year or more to acclimate to the death of a loved one and in some cases actually watching their body change from someone you knew to an anonymous skeleton. Now confronting death slowly but in a real, visible way might remind you of the promise of eternal reward and inspire you to be a better person. Or it could remind you of the impermanence of life and inspire you to go paint a masterpiece or pet a dog. Either way, confronting death can be all about life. You don’t have to believe in anything to appreciate that.
Putridariums fell out of use in the 17th century, perhaps partly because people realised that they could do all of the above without actually watching uncle Fred melt into a green puddle.