We think of our eyes as cameras, machines that passively deliver accurate visual information. But it is our desiring selves that use complex and little understood cognitive processing to interpret retinal data. Witnesses of the ongoing Marion Apparition at the Milton Hospital in Milton, Massachusetts, see Mary in some condensation in a window, as well as myriad other images of churches, Jesus, crucifixions etc. in chimneys, trees, and bricks. Locating ourselves in the universe, and in our everyday realities, is to search for a response to our calls, be they driven by religion, illness, or desire. Images, whether an apparition, a Van Gogh painting, a Hubble photograph or a cloud formation, offer us tangible proof of an invisible, interior need.
In June of 2003 newspapers around the world reported Mary's appearance in the chemical residue of a third floor window in a small hospital in Milton, MA, a suburb of Boston. In the first weekends of her appearance 25,000 people or more flocked to the site to pray and witness the apparition, and have created an altar below the window for prayers, donations, and flowers. The image is made from the residue of ruptured chemical seal in a double paned window. That little stain implies or provides a huge breadth of history, information beyond language, a fundamental story/myth of our Western world, and ultimately an experience that is beyond words.
Believing is seeing.