The statue is based on witness descriptions of The Virgin Mary in apparitions that started in 1947 and later picked up again, two decades later. The apparitions were in Italy, first at Montichiari and later at Fontonelle. The beautiful woman in the apparitions said she is "the Mother of Jesus and the mother of all of you."
On her chest, were three roses; white, red and yellow. She said that the white rose represents prayer, the red sacrifice, and the yellow penance or conversion. Today, a surprising number of Rosa Mystica statues and pictures are exhibiting miraculous phenomena. Some exude oil, others weep blood. (Images and videos from around the world can easily be found on the Internet.) But the one is Sunrise Florida has another unusual twist. It exudes pearls. When we were there, seven pearls rested in the bowl of oil at her feet. It seems God never tires of surprising us.
We spent a couple hours in prayer, veneration and meditation before the healing service would begin that evening. During that time, we spoke with some lovely Christian ladies who had brought scotch tape. With it, we clumsily lifted a variety of colorful escarchas (a mysterious Gift of holy glitter) off our pews. It seemed, the more we lifted it, the more escarchas appeared. I will talk more about this phenomenon in a future post.
The service that night was in many languages, reflecting the predominantly lower-income, immigrant composition of this parish. It seems that the vast majority of miraculous phenomena around the world occur in such simple, impoverished environments.
This service, however, was not the first time I was reminded of the universality of the Catholic Church, both internationally and inter-racially. But it re-emphasized for me one of the principles that has guided the Church for two thousand years: Every single one of us - from conception to natural death, male or female, white or black, rich or poor - is God's child. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all accepted our blessed inheritance?