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April 22, 2005

Manifest Apologies, the Fullerton Acheiropoietos and One Accursed Groin

Blame technical issues and illness (only my fourth cold of the season) for my very conspicuous absence this past week.

The technical problem has been neutralized if not solved or entirely understood, and with quite trivial effect on functionality. Really, try and spot the change (and no fair peeking at the source), resting assured that it is exceedingly unexciting. The cold, too, is fading fast with my cough now more productive than ever, so I find myself on the fast track to a triumphant return to the shores of Blogiana.

Starting slowly, we relate, for the benefit of those beyond the greater Chicagoland area (who therefore have not seen this bit of timely image news on every evening and afternoon news broadcast of late), the story of a Virgin who has taken up roost below the Kennedy Expressway in Bucktown...

From the Tribune:

Curiosity seekers joined the faithful today to view what some said was an image of the Virgin Mary at an underpass of the Kennedy Expressway on Chicago's Northwest Side, CLTV reported.
About 20 people were among the first to perceive the image shortly before midnight on a concrete wall of the Fullerton Avenue viaduct in the city's Bucktown neighborhood, officials said.
"It's a miracle. It's an image. You can't describe it. It's the first time I've seen something like this," said one witness, Jose Recinos.
Another passerby, Snezana Dilorazo, said she and her family noticed something on the viaduct wall and stopped for a closer look.
"We were driving the car, and we stopped by because we've seen the reflection," she said. "We thought maybe it was Jesus Christ," but on closer inspection, the family decided, "it's the Holy Mother," Dilorazo said.
Some witnesses told WGN the image was more visible on camera or when there was less light. Officials, though, said the pattern on the wall simply might be a stain caused by road salt dripping from the expressway.

From the Sun-Times

The image drew Mexican immigrants who said it looked like Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. Polish immigrants thought it might be connected with the death of the Polish-born Pope John Paul II who had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother.
Police officers monitoring the scene, on Fullerton underneath the Kennedy, were more jaded. "Does this mean the cardinal is coming back from the conclave?'' asked one, who didn't want his name used.
The likeness appeared to be easier to discern through the lens of a camera. Scores of people in the crowd used camera phones to take shots. Language barriers melted as people studied each others' phones to see who captured the best image.
Among the faithful was Paula Diaz, who pushed her 13-year-old son in a wheelchair for six blocks to study the wall. Why had she come?
"Un Milagro''—a miracle, she answered, nodding to her son, Jose. Muscular dystrophy robbed him of the ability to walk four years ago, said Diaz, a native of Guerrero, Mexico, who lives in the 3000 block of North Spaulding.
Diaz took Jose's hand, rubbed it on the image and then guided him in making the sign of the cross.
"It's so my brother could walk,'' said Jose's brother, Juan Diaz.
"We believe it's a miracle,'' said Elbia Tello, 42, of the 6000 block of West Barry. "We have faith, and we can see her face.''
"And on the cell phone, you can even see it better,'' said the native of Torreon, in Cohuila, Mexico.
"My pope, he loved Mary,'' said Tarnow, Poland's Barbara Zych, 38.
With the end of shifts at nearby factories, the crowd swelled. The dank underpass, speckled with pigeon droppings, began to resemble a shrine, with flowers, holy candles, and a large framed depiction of Pope John Paul II being embraced by Our Lady of Guadalupe.

More from Google News...

What really caught our attention around here, though, was this question: does the image really look all the more real for being mediated?

What was with the cell phones? Dozens were being held aloft like candles in a vigil, the eyes of the enraptured tilted toward a constellation of midget screens.
"You can see it clearer on the cellular," said the woman, Carmen Lopez, 38, who was on her third visit to the miracle.
Sure enough. Our Lady of the Underpass looks her best on a cell phone.
Full-size, the big blot on the concrete wall looks pretty much like a big blot on a concrete wall. Shrunk to a cell phone photo, though, the stain makes a passable impressionist Madonna.

Finally, would it be terribly uncouth to suggest that some Cubs fans ought to petition Our Lady for relief from our team's early-season injuries? Maybe we can even wheel our shortstop out there to rub his ailing groin on the wall. (More on our recent loss: He's only mostly dead, So Now We Know, What Next?) Perhaps Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal could hire a van and haul our second baseman and closer there for the day as well. (And do I dare point out that, with Scott Williamson thrown in for good measure, three of our guys on the DL are former Red Sox?)

Really, isn't the season worth a prayer candle or two?

Update: XISPAS (via GalleryDriver)

"Manifest Apologies, the Fullerton Acheiropoietos and One Accursed Groin"
Posted by Dan at 11:36 AM


Referenced in this post:

Bleed Cubbie Blue: What Next?
Chicago Cubs: News: Nomar out with torn groin muscle—Carrie Muskat
Chicago Sun-Times: 'We believe it's a miracle'—Maureen O'Donnell
Chicago Tribune: Our Lady of the Underpass?
Chicago Tribune: Real or not, images bring us together—Mary Schmich
Cub Reporter: So Now We Know—John Hill
Cub Town: He's only mostly dead—Derek Smart
Daily Herald: For Cubs, injury bug just keeps biting—Tim Sassone
Froogle: candles guadalupe
GalleryDriver: Art Blog Aggregator
Google Maps (Satellite): W Fullerton Ave & Kennedy Expy E, Chicago, IL 60647
Google News: Related Stories
MLB: Player Information: Scott Williamson
XISPAS: Our Lady of the Expressway