Miracle In Maryland Massive Tornado As Tabernacle And Statue Of Mary Survive
By Michael H. Brown
It wasn't supposed to happen. A storm, a tornado, of F-5 intensity -- winds up to 300 miles an hour -- wasn't supposed to hit the East Coast. This was the stuff of "Tornado Alley" -- places like Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas. This was the stuff of Oz.
But it happened in Maryland on April 28 -- a truly demonic wind that cut a 30-mile swath -- and it left spectacular devastation. In the struggle to find words, many have described it as similar to a nuclear detonation: nearly 1,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, along with a number of churches. The steeple at LaPlata United Methodist was ripped off and a hole was punched into the roof of the town's historic Christ Church and Archbishop Neale Elementary School -- ready to celebrate its 75th anniversary in LaPlata -- was blasted to pieces. "The storm leveled the school, its bricks and mortar crumbled like blue cheese," reported The Washington Post. "I'm just overwhelmed," said the principal, Sister Helene Fee. " I don't even know how to put it into words."
It was an obliteration, but an obliteration that left its miracles. We have learned that a nearly life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary right out front -- surrounded by uprooted trees -- survived the incredible destruction. Moreover, the Blessed Sacrament in the devastated school chapel was also left standing: Though the rest of the school chapel was annihilated, there was the tabernacle -- intact on a pedestal!
This we got from Father Matthew Siekierski, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, which operates the school, and long-time area resident Mary Jane Frere. "A bomb couldn't have done worse," Mary Jane told Spirit Daily. "I had just come out of Adoration -- there's 24-hour Adoration at Sacred Heart -- and when I came down the steps I heard this roaring. It sounded like a freight train, and I said, 'What is going on?' I got in the car and was sitting on the outskirts when it went through. The wind, oh gosh: it was rocking the car. I didn't think I would make it. The cloud was terrific. I never saw anything like it. It was right down on Route 301 and there was a line of traffic and I looked up and the wires were crackling like fireworks. It was a miracle -- God's Hand was in this big-time -- because while three people are enough to die, it could have killed so many more. In front of the school, the statue of the Blessed Mother was unhurt while the school was demolished. She's in a circle in front of the school between the driveway and the road, like a little shrine. I looked for her and saw her! All around her, there were all these big uprooted trees -- the trees were large, I guess oaks, gone all around. But I looked and there she was, not even touched!"
Others confirmed this. The statue has now been removed while debris is hauled off. "The fact that the tornado hit on a weekend was another miracle," believes Mrs. Frere. Over 500 students attend the school. They would have been directly in harm's way. Get on your knees and pray, pray, pray is the message, Mary Jane believes. "Go to the Eucharist."
"You could really see God telling us something," she said, "and I just wish everyone would listen."
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