Sunday, October 29, 2006

Two Fun Facts about Our Lady

Our Lady and the respectful dust ... and the one of the "modern means of social communication"

Saint Eusebius (+ 371) is credited with the founding of the shrine that houses this wonder working statue of Our Lady. It is said that while visiting Jerusalem, the saint was inspired to discover three statues of Our Lady. He brought these statues back with him to his native Italy, enshrining one of them in a hermitage chapel at Oropa.

Throughout the centuries a strange phenomenon has been observed. Although the ornate statues of Our Lady and the Holy Child - carved of cedar wood and elaborately dressed - are behind glass, dust somehow accumulates and rests on the figures, robes, crowns, etc. However, never has a particle of dust fallen upon the faces of either Mother or Child.

In addition to the phenomenon of the so-called “respectful dust” and miracles worked at the shrine, Oropa has still another important distinction. It was here that Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), “in the summer of 1895, while contemplating the Biellese Alps from the heights of Oropa, bethought that man might find a new energy in space, and the means to a new method of communication.” Marconi eventually invented the radio and sent his first radio message to the Vatican from Oropa, under Our Lady’s patronage.


Anonymous said...

hi, i was surfing when i came across your blog. if you don't mind, would you mind telling me the reason you converted to Catholicism?

Phil B. said...


Sure, I don't mind at all. There were two distinct reasons.

The first was historical/ theological. As I learned more about Church history and what the Catholic Church teaches, I found that the Catholic Church actually seemed to have the strongest connection to the historical Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ in the first century of our era. That is, one can trace in the Church of today a family likeness back to that earliest group of believers. It's like seeing a grown up friend and then looking at a picture of her as a child. Same smile, same eyes, different person.

Second, there is also a subjective, spiritual element. I have found that being close to and eventually a part of this Church made a difference in my level of inner peace and closeness to God. When I was thinking about converting I ran into a sceptical Benedictine monk/ professor, who thought I was foolish for forsaking my liberated Lutheranism for patriarchal, antiquated Rome. But I said to him 7 years ago and still feel today, that I am most myself and most close to God when I kneel before the Blessed Sacrament reserved in a tabernacle in a Roman Church. Subjective, to be sure, but a life changing piece of my spiritual practice.

Thanks for asking.