image of Mary still draws believers
"Last Christmas, it was a
worldwide sensation. Now, it glows as a shrine: Believers call it the
Miracle on Drew Street. The two-story, rainbow-coloured image that bears
a resemblance to the Virgin Mary still shimmers on an office building
now leased by, of all things, Ugly Duckling Car Sales."
So begins an article by Martin Merzer of Knight-Ridder News Service updating
the story of the Clearwater, Florida, image. The landlord of the office
building has set aside a parking lot for those who visit the site, while
others have contributed five meditation benches and a wooden pew. This
amid the din of passing traffic, beside a car wash and gas station.
"Someone told me the other day that it's going to become a permanent
shrine," said Jim Cascio, an assistant to landlord Michael Krizmanich.
"I think it's pretty much that already."
Although the crowds that reached 80,000 a day in December 1996 have dwindled,
visitors still come to kneel before the green, blue, violet and yellow
image. They light candles and deposit rosaries. "It's a chosen space,"
said Jo Ann Metropoulos, who visits the site weekly. "There has to
be some reason why it's here."
But scientists do not have the answer. They say the 35-foot-tall, 50-footwide
image was created from a chemical reaction between rain and metallic elements
within the windows' smoky coating. But they cannot explain the flawless
symmetry of the image, first noticed by passersby more than a year ago.
"How can nine panes of glass come together so perfectly?" asked
Cascio. They also cannot explain this: last spring, someone threw an acidic
substance on part of the image. For a few days, the image lost its artistic
precision. Then, overnight, the scar seemed to heal itself. Within the
small sanctuary of meditation benches and a pew set up near the building,
someone has placed a sign: "Thank you, Blessed Mother."
(Source: Knight-Ridder News Service)
(See the original article from Share
International, January-February 1997, p. 36)
from: Share International January/February 1998
Reprinted by courtesy of © Share