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The Virgin Mary's image.....UNDER AN OVERPASS?!?


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7 days Archive


April 21, 2005



Virgin Mary image in eye of beholder


Roadside shrine: A family lit a candle Tuesday at a Kennedy Expressway underpass in Chicago, where visitors believe a stain is an image of the Virgin Mary. The state Transportation Department said the stain probably is the result of salt runoff. -- Jeff Haynes / AFP/Getty Images


Obdulia Delgado had turned toward the on-ramp of the Kennedy Expressway last week when she saw something that made her stop in traffic.


She saw the image of the Virgin Mary in a yellow-and-white stain on the concrete wall at the Fullerton Avenue entrance.


"I was so stunned I couldn't move. People were honking," said Delgado, 31. "It was a dream. I don't even know how I got home."


By Tuesday morning, dozens had gathered to see what they believe is the image of the Blessed Mother beneath the underpass. People filtered past the site all day, some lighting candles and leaving flowers, others kneeling with rosary beads behind a police barricade. Most snapped pictures with digital cameras and cell phones.


To some, the image appeared as a white outline of the Holy Mother's face wearing a shadowy cloak. To others, it looked like an ivory pawn from a game of chess.


Apparitions of Mary hold different meanings for believers, but people may draw connections to current events, such as the death of Pope John Paul II, said Cristina Traina, an associate professor of religion at Northwestern University.


"Most often, the people who see the image interpret it as a sign of affirmation of an event or behavior or a condemnation of an event or behavior," she said.


Michael Grzesik, who leads people on religious pilgrimages, said that when he first looked at it, he saw nothing unusual.


"I was looking at it and thought it might be an oil spill. But as I got closer, it resembles Our Lady," he said. "It really struck me."


Grzesik compared the image under the expressway to an apparition of the Virgin Mary that appeared more than a century ago in a grotto in Lourdes, France.


But he was also lighthearted about the image: "There's a little graffiti around that says, 'Go Cubs,' so it looks like Our Lady is rooting for the Cubs."


The Archdiocese of Chicago has not received any requests to authenticate the image, spokesman Jim Dwyer said.



Are people really this dumb?? And in my hometown no less!!



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