March 1, 2004
- Reported in Spirit
Daily.com online newspaper. Officials at the Shepherds of Christ
in Ohio are declining comment on what appears to be the horrid destruction
of a famed image of the Blessed Mother that has appeared for eight
years on a former office building in Clearwater, Florida. The Shepherds now own and maintain the building
as a shrine and center.
been on the scene this morning, although no report has yet been
filed. The damage was clearly seen on the group's live on-site webcam
and reported to Spirit Daily. Some say that in the broken panes
are what now seem like images of Jesus.
The image, a
colored "silhouette" spanning twenty feet, was almost
exactly proportionate to the famed image of Guadalupe, the miraculous
cloth on which an inexplicable representation of Mary appeared in
the 16th century to St. Juan Diego near Mexico City. The Guadalupe
image can be neatly superimposed upon photographs of the Clearwater
"reflection" in this state where there are so many Spanish-speaking
people who have a special devotion to Guadalupe -- another fact
that argued for the image's miraculous nature.
The effect appeared
to be the result of some kind of oxidative or chemical reaction
in the glass. The colors in the image started with a dark blue,
then as they moved inward turned to lighter blue, yellowish, orange,
violet, blue again, turquoise, green, yellow-green, and once more
violet. It could also be seen from the inside, albeit in less detail.
A previous act of vandalism involved the throwing of some kind of
destructive fluid, perhaps acidic, at the image several years ago,
but incredibly the image seemed to correct itself.
It was first
spotted on December 17, 1996, by a woman customer at what was then
the Seminole Finance Corporation Building. As one newspaper noted,
the image, two floors high, glowed and shimmered, turning from green
to blue, to red, and there was a distinct outline of a head, a hooded
robe and most of a torso. Skeptics claimed it was caused by a reflection
of the sun's rays bouncing off water left by sprinklers, but that
hardly explained how its glow often increased at night -- although
[see below] it went dark just before September 11. George Pecoraro,
a scientist with a glass company, told a newspaper that "we're
not able to explain how the shape appeared or why it appeared. It
could be an accident or maybe it's Divine intervention." Most
mysterious was how the image continued without interruption over
the span of at least nine separate panes of glass. More than 1.5
million have visited and the original owner, Mike Krizmanich, allowed
them to install what has become a permanent shrine, believing the
image is "a gift from God to be protected and shared."
The link to
Guadalupe is further interesting because the Guadalupe Madonna is
officially recognized as the Virgin of the Americas. "God is
telling us it is time to change our ways," noted Sister Christian
of the Order of St. Anne in India. "It looks exactly like all
the paintings of the Blessed Mother."