June 23, 2002 - Reported in Spirit
Daily.com online newspaper. Written by Michael H. Brown. An image resembling
the Blessed Mother that has appeared at a hospital in Milton, Massachusetts (left),
about ten miles from Boston, matches up in certain striking ways with an image
that has manifested since 1996 on an office building at a busy intersection in
Clearwater, Florida (right).
Both images share a similar veil, a similar head
form, and are turned in the same position. Both have what could be seen as representations
of a rumpled or ruffled robe under the neck. And both may be carrying Child: the
Clearwater image resembles the famed manifestation at Guadalupe, Mexico -- in
which the Virgin is pregnant -- and the image in Massachusetts, which has been
in the news for more than a week now, is holding what appears to be a baby.
Interestingly, the Milton image, formed by "condensation" in a third-floor
office window, has certain aspects familiar to those who have seen sonograms or
ultrasounds -- which are used to examine infants while they are still in the womb
(even though the Milton image does not portray the baby in that part of the Blessed
Mother's profile, but rather as born).
Many believe the image has manifested
because Milton Hospital, which doesn't permit abortions, is about the merge with
another that does.
In fact there
are those who say that condensation on another window at the hospital resembles
an unborn child.
Others contend that the Milton manifestation was triggered
by the prayers of a hospital patient facing a difficult operation -- or that it
has manifested as a sign of encouragement to the scandal-beleaguered Boston archdiocese
(where Cardinal Bernard Law had to resign less than a year ago). "The second
window is amazing and it is a message about abortion as the appearance there is
fetus in the womb," wrote a nun who went to see it a week ago. "What
struck me is that it is so similar to the one I saw in the moon during my first
trip to Medjugorje [in Bosnia-Hercegovina]. My sister could also make the connection."
Most prominent among the theories
remains the notion that Mary has come to warn Milton Hospital not to join with
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, according to reports. In February, the two
announced they had formed a clinical affiliation. A spokeswoman for Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center would not confirm that the hospital offers abortion,
but there is at least one printed report of medical students observing such procedures
there as part of their training. "Five years have passed, at least, since
the seal broke in the third-floor window at Milton Hospital, turning the glass
a blotchy white," reported in the Associated Press. "But only last week
did the murky patches begin taking on a form that - without much imagination -
looks very much like a robed Madonna, with bowed head."
we hold final discernment on such matters until they are fully investigated, but
even secular reporters have been impressed by the unique resemblance to Mary,
as she is portrayed looking to her right, in most cases meaning the Sorrowful
Ironic it is that both
extremes of the East -- Massachusetts and Florida, which are 1,200 miles apart
-- are now joined by unusual and highly public images.
think the Madonna is standing on a craggy rock. Does it too relate to Guadalupe
-- where she was on a hillside? Or the stony, barren hillsides at places like
Fatima? We can't quite figure that out. Stay tuned.
June 21, 2003 - A Boston Globe Editorial. Miracle in Milton
seeps between panes of glass and forms an image in a hospital window. Thousands
of people gather in the parking lot below that window to stand in what they believe
to be the holy presence of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus.
at Milton Hospital is one in a long line of sightings of Mary and other religious
figures dating back hundreds of years. Revered by the faithful and dismissed by
skeptics, these visions have been seen on dusty roads in primitive villages as
well as on buildings along modern expressways.
they are considered manifestations of wishful thinking, group hypnosis, coincidence,
trickery, or divine intervention depends entirely on the eye and heart of the
beholder - and most people standing outside Milton Hospital on a rare sunny evening
this week looked up with adoring eyes. They prayed, held rosaries, placed flowers
and money below the third-floor window, and talked quietly about a feeling of
peace or how they thought the image was giving hope to a troubled world. They
were black, white, Hispanic, Asian, old, young, healthy, and infirm - some people
came in wheelchairs or on crutches, and one woman, attached to an intravenous
stand, moved slowly, aided by a friend.
silver and black image was quite clear, requiring no squinting, standing at a
certain angle, or assistance of binoculars. It filled the window of the medical
office where eye doctors do their examinations.
Schepici, spokeswoman for the hospital, explained that the doctors had bricked
up the window on the inside to block the light and this caused the double-paned
glass to overheat, trap moisture, and discolor. She said she did not know who
first noticed the figure but that crowds began coming last week. More than 25,000
people have viewed the image.
are no plans to remove the window or to turn people away, although the hospital
has limited viewing to the hours between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. The antiseptic world
of scientific logic has made room for the illogical by roping off an area for
viewing, putting up a sign pointing the way to ''window parking,'' and hiring
security personnel to direct traffic.
The Archdiocese of Boston is making
no heavy pronouncements about what people should or should not see in the hospital
window. ''We are being very careful to make sure that whatever we say is helpful
to people of good will and good faith,'' said the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, spokesman
for the archdiocese, adding, ''Anything that brings people to a deeper faith in
God is a good thing.''
seeking communion with something greater than themselves have found an unlikely
asphalt sanctuary off a busy street in a Boston suburb. To some, this spontaneous
pilgrimage might seem easy to dismiss as naive, but it is also a touching reminder
that the human spirit can connect with the infinite just about anywhere - even
in a parking lot.
This story ran on page A14 of the Boston Globe on 6/21/2003.
June 25, 2003 - Crosses could be another miracle -The
miracle at Milton Hospital is multiplying.
in the Boston Herald.com. Written by Eric Convey. Faithful flocking to venerate
a window bearing what many believe is an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus
now are turning their gaze to what looks like two crosses etched in the soot on
the side of a smokestack.
believe that it definitely is a sign," said Patricia Burke of Quincy, standing
yesterday on a once-grassy traffic island worn bare by the crowds that gather
daily to view the image. "I think
God's telling us something. I don't know what that message is," she said.
crosses, each about 6 feet high, stand one atop the other on the side of the square
stack. Alice Sweeney of Quincy thinks the images of Mary and the crosses are God's
way of urging mankind to embrace "peace." Lowell resident Maria Flaris,
who made the trek to Milton with her son, said she thinks God sent the images"`to
bring peace in the Middle East. I think so and I hope so."
the Madonna likeness has been widely recognized - even by skeptics who consider
the origin to be random chemical activity - the crosses are more obscure. "It's
awesome, because I believe in the Blessed Mother and she's been appearing all
over the place lately," said Joan Smith of Milton. But her daughter, Karen
Smith, was more skeptical as the two stood in a blazing mid-day sun yesterday
to examine the smokestack. "The cross - I don't see it at all," she
The image of Mary is covered
by a blue tarp most of the day for crowd control but the view of the smokestack
remains unobstructed. A hospital spokeswoman had no comment on the latest image
and said there are no plans to change the schedule for viewing the Madonna and
baby Jesus. Officials remove the tarp from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly.
June 29, 2003 - Church skeptical
of Milton's Mary
in the Boston Herald.com. Written by Max Heuer. The mystique of the Milton Hospital
Madonna draws thousands of faithful below her third-floor window each night, but
a preliminary church probe likely will show she's no mystery at all, nor is she
The Rev. Christopher
J. Coyne told the Herald that the Boston Archdiocese - led by Bishop Richard Lennon
- has been investigating the image of the Virgin Mary that appeared up two weeks
ago, and believes a chemical deposit is the culprit.
are asking us to move forward," he said. "We're trying to do so as quickly
Under guidelines set in 1978 by Pope John Paul VI, the
church must disprove all natural explanations before an event can be ruled "miraculous,"
More than 40,000
people have flocked to Milton Hospital to see the spectacle. Church and hospital
officials say a chemical reaction, created when moisture from the brickwork leaked
inside the double-paned window and mixed with a drying agent, has left the chemical
deposit that looks to many like Mary and baby Jesus. Hospital officials have spent
more than $10,000 out of an already strapped budget to control the crowds, said
spokeswoman Susan Schepici.
church rules, the local bishop oversees an investigation by a panel of experts,
focusing on whether there is a moral certainty the event was miraculous and the
personal qualities of those involved, according to church documents.
Rev. Joseph Koterski, a philospohy professor at Fordham University, said church
procedure was to "apply skepticism first." "We don't jump the gun
to say that something is miraculous, we tend to presume the opposite," Koterski
From Worcester to Los
Angeles, claims of religious miracles have attracted droves of followers, but
not official validation from the church. A case similar to the Milton episode
occurred in 1996, when observers identified an image of the Virgin Mary, or Marian
image, on a glass-sided building in Clearwater, Fla. An estimated 580,000 people
visited the site and the building eventually was bought by an Ohio-based Christian
But experts who examined
the glass said the image was formed by the corrosion of metallic elements in the
glass coating, the St. Petersburg Times reported. The last time the church declared
a Marian sighting an official miracle was in 1983 in San Nichols, Argentina, according
to the Marian Library at the University of Dayton, Ohio.
say claims of religious miracles might energize some, but rank pretty low on the
church's list of priorities.
"The Catholic Church doesn't put much stock
in this," said Joe Nickell, author of "Looking for a Miracle."
"Divine images and devotional practices are things that are intended to bring
the believer into a deeper faith," Coyne said. "They're not intended
to replace the sacramental life of the church." "Where our faith really
rests is in Jesus and his resurrection, not in windows in Boston," Koterski
92 Highland Street
Milton, MA 02186
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