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Believe it or not - Sanctuary of Our Lady of Tears
Believe it or Not – the Story of our Lady of Tears
I’m in Siracuse in Sicily, Italy, rushing around in stifling heat. I want to see all there is to see in the short time I have available. And there’s plenty to discover.
The city is noted for it’s Greek history, art, legend, architecture, amphitheatres, and culture.
However, wherever I wander, a large, cone shaped building dominates the skyline. It’s intriguing. I’m becoming more and more curious
Finally, I find time to visit – it’s The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Tears. This Sanctuary was built in memory of what is said to be a miraculous event that occurred in a humble home in the nearby Via degli Orti.
This story begins in 1953. A young couple have received a wedding gift. It’s a small, commercial, plaster plaque representing the Madonna. They are thrilled. Happily, they hang it on the wall in the bedroom.
On the morning of August 29th that year they notice something unusual,
The Madonna figure on the plaque begins to weep. The tears continue to fall for three days.
Naturally, the news of this happening spreads rapidly and crowds of people queue to see what is quickly termed a miracle.
The tears are analysed by a committee and pronounced ‘human tears.’
And then miracles begin to happen – the sick begin to recover from illness. More and more people flock to witness the plaque, to pray and be healed. The city of Siracuse soon becomes a destination for Christian believers.
The Sanctuary Today
By December 1953 the Archbishop of Sicily had agreed to the construction of a sanctuary for the plaque.
Designed to resemble a gigantic teardrop, the structure was created by two Frenchmen, Michel Arnault and Pierre Parat. The upper part of the sanctuary has a surface area of 4.700 sq metres and a height of 74.30mt.
There is another iron structure 20 metres high and inside it the plaque of the Madonna.
The sanctuary can accommodate 11,000 people. The circular edifice has18 entrances - a truly amazing building for one small, inexpensive plaque.
The little house on Via Degli Orti 11, where the Madonna first shed her tears, is now an oratory where Mass is often celebrated.
The physicians and scientists who studied the event could offer no natural explanation for the occurrence and in several documents deemed it extraordinary.
But the questions lingers. Did this really happen? Do you believe it or not? It seems the response to this question is really up to the individual.
Some other happenings.
Here’s a glance at some bizarre happenings on a similar theme.
Often reported in the media are appearances of the image of Jesus or the Madonna.
Curiously, it is almost always at breakfast time. Images on pancakes and toast seem to top the list. No sanctuaries have been built to house them yet. The alternative seems to be eBay which in some cases have proved lucrative
Several years ago a report from Florida tells of a sighting of the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich.
Kept on a night stand for many years the owner claimed to have had had excellent luck at the casino.
In 2004 the grilled cheese sandwich was listed for sale on Ebay. It was bought by the Golden Palace casino for $28,000.
There are also documented sightings of images on - the bark of a tree, an ice cream, and curiously, on a kitten.
One sighting was reported on a potato, so keep your eyes peeled.
And while we’re on the subject check out the Jesus/Mary toaster or Holy toast bread stamper, also available on eBay.
I have seen them for sale in touristy gift shops but haven’t yet been tempted..
Errr – wonder what’s next.