Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Another spotting of the Virgin

With the election of a new Pope and the demise of one whom many consider to be a saint before his time, you knew the Virgin could not lay low for long. So you will be thrilled to learn that She has appeared on a Chicago underpass.

The AP reports,

A steady stream of the faithful and the curious, many carrying flowers and candles, have flocked to an expressway underpass for a view of a yellow and white stain on a concrete wall that some believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.

Police have patrolled the emergency turnoff area under the Kennedy Expressway since Monday as hundreds of people have walked down to see the image and the growing memorial of flowers and candles that surround it. Beside the image is an artist's rendering of the Virgin Mary embracing Pope John Paul II in a pose some see echoed in the stain.

"We believe it's a miracle," said Elbia Tello, 42. "We have faith, and we can see her face."

Tuesday morning, women knelt with rosary beads behind a police barricade while men in work shirts stood solemnly before the image, praying. A police officer kept the crowd of about three dozen from getting too close to the traffic but didn't stop them gathering around the stain.

The State of Illinois, which should remain silent in all matters of religion, has intruded its secular voice into the news accounts, but is taking a respectful stance—

The stain is likely the result of salt run-off, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The agency does not plan to scrub it off the wall.

"We're treating this just like we treat any type of roadside memorial," said IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey. "We have no plans to clean this site."

The Archdiocese of Chicago has not confirmed the authenticity of the image.

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