The Virgin in a tree

30 11 2009

Some personal notes about apparitions

On June 17, 1992 Anita Mendoza Contreras claimed to have had a spiritual vision of the Virgin of Guadalupe. She had been feeling depressed that day when she visited the oak grove and “had been sitting at the picnic table under the tree praying. A wind came up, and Mendoza looked up and saw the image.” Contreras recalled that the vision arrived in the image of the Holy Blessed Mother, in a sea shell and carrying the image of the Sacred Heart on her chest. The image spoke to her and before leaving left her mark upon the oak tree. When asked why the form of the Virgin (as well as other images sighted later) had appeared on the oak tree Contreras replied that its purpose is “so people don’t kill, don’t hit their wives, don’t abuse their children and to help people find truth.” After the spread of the news that a miracle had occurred at Pinto Lake pilgrims started pouring in from the surrounding areas.

-taken from this website

This occured in Watsonville, CA, which is about twenty miles from where I grew up in Hollister. In 1992, my mother was active in the Legion of Mary in my hometown, and I went to see this image of the Virgin in a tree when it was very much at the height of its popularity. Mind you, I was a particularly crazy and devout thirteen year old at the time, so I think my disposition was to believe above all else. When I got there, however, the skeptical cynic took hold of me once again. As I looked up into the tree, all I saw was a blotch in the wood that to me could have been anything. Yes, like most Catholics, especially Mexican ones, Fatima and Lourdes had to believed out of piety, and Guadalupe out of ontological necessity. But that didn’t look like anything to me.

“That’s not her,’ I said quite audibly, showing once again my penchant for being rather less than diplomatic in very public situations. I seem to remember some rather hostile stares from those within earshot, but I just walked away, not prepared to try to break my neck to try to see in that bark something that I knew was simply not there.

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