I will come to you
When I am least expected
Always be prepared
Yesterday Rebecca posted about how Mary images seem to appear anywhere and everywhere; a stain, a cloud, a piece of burned toast, etc. It brought to mind an image that appeared here in 1996 on the windows of an office building, and stayed for eight years until vandals brought it down. A shame, because so many people seem to need a direction, so many hearts needing special love. And Mary images answer that need for those who believe.
And yet I wonder, if this image was truly put there by Mary, why did she stay so long after interest waned?
Today I post that image, with its history, as my tribute to Mary on this third morning.
Original photo source St. Petersburg Times
and at night.
History of Mary image
· DEC. 17, 1996: A customer of Seminole Finance Corp. notices a rainbow-hued shape stretching the height of the business' two-story building at U.S. 19 and Drew Street in Clearwater. The customer mentions the shape, which resembles an outline of the Virgin Mary, to employees, who call a local television station. Within two hours, the parking lot is filled with dozens of people.
· DEC. 18, 1996: Clearwater police set up a command post for the 15 or so officers who spend the day directing traffic and trying to keep pedestrians from tangling with cars as they rush to see the image in glass.
· JAN. 3, 1997: Clearwater police estimate more than 450,000 people - 41/2 times the population of Clearwater - have crossed the intersection of U.S. 19 and Drew Street to see the image.
· MAY 1997: Someone throws an unidentified liquid onto the office building, defacing nearly all of the glass panels that form the figure. The image remains visible despite drip marks.
· JUNE 25, 1997: After two days of heavy thunderstorms, the blemishes are no longer visible. The image looks as it did when it was first noticed.
· JULY 7, 1998: Ohio-based Shepherds of Christ Ministries begins leasing the building and eventually purchases the 22,000-square-foot center for more than $2-million. The group, which calls itself a Catholic ministry, refers to the building as "Our Lady of Clearwater." The Catholic diocese of St. Petersburg disavows any connection to Shepherds of Christ, calling the image a "naturally explained phenomenon."
· DEC. 17, 1998: The ministry unveils an 18-foot cedar crucifix to stand next to the image of Mary. The president of Shepherds of Christ says that Mary herself directed the crucifix to stand there.
· FEB. 2000: Shepherds of Christ opens a rosary factory on the second floor in a room overlooking U.S. 19. The factory is a classroom with bowls of colorful baubles and white plastic crosses on small tables, and pictures of Jesus and Mary on the wall.
· DEC. 2002: Interest in the site has ebbed. The crucifix is hidden from view because the wood couldn't take the weather. The hundreds of plastic white chairs set up in front are empty most of the time. The rosary factory has closed because of lack of staff and money.
· MARCH 1, 2004: The three panes of glass that contain the image of Virgin Mary's head are found smashed. Police suspect vandals but no arrests are made.
Have A Blessed Day