Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Window to the Soul

Earlier today in Western Mass., a crowd of 500 flocked to a Springfield hospital building... view what some believed to be an apparition of the Virgin Mary appearing in a second story window. Crowd first gathered Tuesday afternoon, taking photographs of the shadow outlined on the window with their cell phones and saying the rosary.

"I think it's Our Lady of Guadalupe," said Olga Romero who lives in the nearby Saab Court Apartments, referring to the apparition of the Virgin Mary reported in 1531 in Mexico.

Sister Kathleen Sullivan, senior vice president at Mercy, said an image was observed on the window of a vacant office at the 300 Stafford St. medical building late this morning.

"What it is I don't know, but it was certainly humbling to see the faith of the people. It was so beautiful," she said.
Word spread, bringing possibly as many as 300 hundred people into the parking lot at one time.
The crowd was extremely orderly. Elderly women led others in reciting the rosary and singing. Others were overcome with emotion and crying.

Romero said she came to pray for her health. She brought her daughter and granddaughter with her.

Deirdre Gogel, of West Springfield, said she found it comforting that the apparition occurred when the United States is going through such trying economic times and people are frightened.

Mark E. Dupont, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, said the diocese was informed of the situation by officials at Mercy Medical Center.

Dupont said he went to the medical center and saw a clearly defined outline as sunlight shone through a window.

"Certainly it was inspiring people, and Catholics throughout their history have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin," Dupont said.

He said it would take years for the church to investigate an apparition. "We want to be careful not to mislead people, but what we can't debate is the faith of the people," he said.
And that's the thing, folks: especially today, a hurting world needs signs and wonders... but of 'em all, none's greater or needed more out there than for each of us to rise just a bit further above our rough edges, failings and imperfections to bring to those who cross our paths a little bit of Heaven on Earth.

It's what we're all called to do... but by no means is it easy -- and for some of us (the guy who's writing this most of all), the challenge is the steepest of climbs. Each of us will fall along the way -- maybe, in some cases, not a few times. But not until it's tried can it be done, and none of us can do it alone. And whatever its cause, if a phenomenon in a piece of glass inspires a couple others to take the leap, maybe in a way they hadn't before, let a thousand of 'em appear.

On a related note (but with a twist), some years back a similar outline formed on a series of windows in Clearwater, Florida... just down the street from the (NL East champ) Phillies' spring training field.

Several of the windows were broken in 2004... but with Game 1 of Phils-Brewers pitchin' off today at 3, yet another October vigil begins for the sign this town's been awaiting most for quite some time.

So, please God, Go Phils.

PHOTO: David Molnar/Springfield Republican