Many are the
scenes of religious miracles in this country, although French Canada and
old Mexico boast of more. So late as the prosaic year of 1889 the Virgin
was seen to descend into the streets of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to save
hermitage on the Catholic church in that place, when it was swept by a
deluge in which hundreds of persons perished. It was the wrath of the
Madonna that caused just such a flood in
long years ago. There is in the old Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in
a picture that commemorates the appearance of the Virgin to Juan Diego, an
in Guadalupe, old Mexico, in the sixteenth century. She commanded that a
chapel should be built for her, but the bishop of the diocese declared
that the man had been dreaming and told him to go away.
Virgin came to the Indian
again, and still the bishop declared that he had no evidence of the
truth of what he said. A third time the supernatural visitor appeared,
and told Juan to climb a certain difficult mountain, pick the flowers
he would find there, and take them to the bishop.
After a long
and dangerous climb they were found, to the Indian's amazement, growing in the
snow. He filled his blanket with them and returned to the Episcopal
residence, but when he opened the folds before the dignitary, he was
more amazed to find not flowers, but a glowing picture painted on his
blanket. It hangs now in Guadalupe, but is duplicated in Santa Fe,
where a statue of the Virgin is also kept. These treasures are greatly
prized and are resorted to in time of illness and threatened disaster,
the statue being taken through the streets in procession when the
season is due. Collections of money are then made and prayers are put
up for rain, to which appeals the Virgin makes prompt response, the
priests pointing triumphantly to the results of their intercession.
One year, however, the rain did not begin on time, though services
were almost constantly continued before the sacred picture and the
sacred statue, and the angry people stripped the image of its silks
and gold lace and kicked it over the ground for hours. That night a
violent rain set in and the town was nearly washed away, so the
populace hastened the work of reparation in order to save their lives.
They cleansed the statue, dressed it still more brilliantly, and
addressed their prayers to the Virgin with more energy and earnestness
than ever before.
Vintage photograph of San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, New Mexico
of America, updated
About the Author: Charles M. Skinner (1852-1907) authored the
complete nine volume set of Myths and Legends of Our Own Land in
1896. This tale is excerpted from these excellent works, which are
now in the public domain.