Water stain or sign from God? Mexican faithful flock to
June 22, 1997
Web posted at: 7:22 p.m. EDT (2322 GMT)
From Correspondent Chris Kline
MEXICO CITY (CNN) -- A subway station in Mexico City has
become an unlikely shrine for thousands of the nation's faithful, who claim the site is home to an apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's most revered national saint.
Crowds have packed the Hidalgo metro station since people
first reported seeing the apparition. Believers line the
station, bringing with them offerings of money, flowers and
candles in hopes they will be blessed.
Subway authorities have said the image is nothing more than a
water stain on the station floor -- the result of a leak, not
But the archdiocese of Mexico, Father Rogelio Alcantar, has
called on an investigation to look into whether the image is
indeed a sign from God.
"It's a case we must investigate, but we don't have the
technological elements to affirm that it is a supernatural
apparition from God," Alcantar said.
Apparition appears at critical times
Mexican Catholics revere the Virgin of Guadalupe above all
saints and invoke her compassion for the humble and poor.
The Virgin of Guadalupe first appeared on Tepeyac Hill
outside Mexico City in 1531 at a time when the indigenous
peoples suffered from disease, warfare and hunger following
the arrival of European settlers. Natives recognized her
dark skin as being a sign that she was their savior.
Millions of conversions to the Catholic faith have been attributed to the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Those firm in their faith say it's clear why she has
re-appeared. An upcoming election could end nearly 70 years of same-party rule.
"I believe she has come to renew all of us so we can change
our way of thinking, our way of life," said one believer.
Added another: "It's a form of awakening, telling us not to
follow any more of the confusion that we've known, because
important changes are coming."
But others, like sociologist German Plasencia, say it's no
coincidence that reports of the virgin's re-appearance are
coming so close to the elections.
"It's election time, a time of crisis. Someone will take
advantage of this symbol," Plasencia said.
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