I know that some of my readers probably wish that I wouldn’t spend so much time writing about the end of the world as we know it. While my intention isn’t to be merely a bearer of all news that’s bad, my curmudgeonly nature lends itself well to that format.
Occasionally, some small event happens that gives me cause for cheer, a chuckle, or a full-blown belly laugh. This one falls in the latter category.
While the world faces environmental catastrophe, the end of oil in quantities formerly known, and on the national front, scandal ad nauseum, here in Maine, the Virgin Mary has graced us with her appearance. Topping that off, she didn’t appear in trendy downtown Portland at some yuppie bar offering over-priced fruity concoctions passing themselves off as adult beverages. No, she decided to appear to the little people, the residents of Mexico, Maine, specifically.
For Veronica Dennis, tragedy turned into wonder when she saw an image of Mary on her scorched kitchen wall, after a fire destroyed her home and forced her family out into the cold. Not to be deterred and looking to turn lemons into lemonade, Ms. Davis is sure that miracles are just around the corner. According to a quote attributed to her in yesterday’s Lewiston Sun Journal, “We just know in history that if this is a true sign, miracles will happen there.” Sort of a take on the Field of Dreams mantra, “If you build it, they will come.”
Apparently, the Virgin Mary was just looking for a place to lay her head when the Dennis’ home caught fire, after a space heater in her daughter’s room ignited a bed and nearby dog bed, severely damaging the modest two-story home and leaving the family homeless.
An official for Maine’s Catholic Diocese, Susan Bernard, exclaimed, “It’s amazing to look at.” However, the Church is withholding a decision on whether to confer miracle status on the image. Apparently, they subscribe to the wait-and-see philosophy of determining the miraculous. Bernard said that they are waiting to see if conversions, improved lives and other miracles occur, before taking a clear position on the matter.
I might add that the photo in Wednesday’s paper did appear rather mystical, as the lighting and other effects appeared to offer the view of some glowing object. It looked something akin to the statues that one sees in a typical American Catholic church.
Today’s edition of the Sun Journal had a follow-up story, about Ms. Dennis’ vow to protect the image of Mary on her charred wall. Once the insurance money arrives, the family will begin the rebuilding process. Apparently, her neighbors would not appreciate the sale of the home and an upgrade of the property to a shrine, or something similarly gauche.
Things have been slow on Burton Street since the news broke. No hordes of pilgrims looking for a miracle have descended yet, according to police Chief James Theriault. “We haven’t had any action up there,” he said. They are keeping a close eye on the place, however, which is probably a good thing.
The Dennis’ family has had a run of bad luck in 2005, but if the Virgin Mary has anything to do with it, 2006 should be a major improvement.