Friday, October 3, 2008

Our Lady of the Underpass

About three years ago, after a particularly snowy winter, a salt stain appeared under the Interstate-94 ramp not far from our house. You may have heard about this--it made the national news--because the stain, to many who observed it, looked exactly like the Virgin Mary.

For months, devout believers flocked to the site with prayers and flowers. At one point the City, rattled by safety concerns, painted over the stain, but two intrepid workers from a nearby auto detail came by with a solvent and washed the paint away.

Nowadays, aside from the occasional visitor who pops by to light a candle or leave some artificial flowers (or in our case try to see the image up close for ourselves, at long last, and take a few photos for posterity), the site sits pretty much vacant. That'll be a different story at Christmas and Easter, when the predominantly Polish and Latino Catholics from the area come by to pay their respects.

I have to admit, were I the apparition of the Virgin, I'd choose a slightly more cheerful place to materialize than the grim Illinois interstate system. But that's just me. I have to say it's mighty nice to see such a colorful tableau against the backdrop of that underpass. It almost makes me want to drive more often.

Ok, I take that back.

But I have to hand it to the people responsible for reclaiming that space. Even the graffiti is a slight cut above.


kkurtz said...

okay, at 1st I read that title as "Our Lady of the Underpants"...
now that's a pilgrimage that I would gladly make.

tracy said...

Okay, CP, you know me well enough to know that I'm insanely jealous that you live so close to this site. Next time I make a pilgrimage to see you, we'll have to go see BVMOS (Blessed Virgin Mary of Salt).

Hey, wait! Isn't turning a woman into salt a BAD thing in the Bible?

Christy said...

Tracy, consider it done! And Kevin, remind us to show you the new rug in John's practice space next time you're over. Just sayin.