Image Of Weeping Virgin Had Been Claimed -- And Ignored -- On Tree In Manhattan
By Michael H. Brown
Maybe Church officials need to take such things more seriously. Maybe they are signs of the times. We're speaking here of a tree: on August 27 -- just two weeks before the terrorist attack -- The New York Post reported on a Siberian elm on Arden Street in Manhattan's Inwood section. According to witnesses, a stain on the tree resembled the Virgin Mary weeping. "Since last week, when one devout Catholic on the block spotted the Madonna on a common Siberian elm tree, thousands have visited the tree," reported the newspaper.
Candles surrounded it, along with what looked like small flowers and probably petitions. News had spread quickly -- only to be dashed by city and Church officials who saw it as a product of overactive imaginations. Parks Commissioner Henry Stern asserted that the face was merely a scar from tree pruning. "And the tears are what's called 'slime flux,' which is seepage of sap from a wound in the bark," he claimed.
Perhaps they're right. But perhaps, in light of September 11, they may want to take a second look. Those who believe it and viewed it felt grace and cried themselves. Charles Nelson, who lives at 80 Arden, said the Madonna was weeping because there was so little love and had told the newspaper it was "a warning."
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