The Boughs Of St.Mary: Faithful See Holy Mother on Tree

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

It’s hard to strike the right balance between respect and mirth in writing this story, but I will try. Faithful in West New York, New Jersey, have commenced pilgrimages to a tree at the intersection of 60th Street and Bergenline Avenue. The skinny tree stands in front of a music store. On it, they say, is a revelation showing an image of the Virgin Mary resembling the famous sighting at  Guadalupe.

Candles, flowers, cards, and towns folk have gathered around the opening in the bark where the purported miracle is said to be. Catholic diocesan spokesman and aptly named, James Goodness,  is not convinced of divine intervention saying the image is likely “just some discoloration” that resembles St. Mary. However,  the churchman is not one to disabuse the faithful of their faith. “But if it helps people to be stronger in their faith, then it is a good thing,” Goodness said.

Or is it?


~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

53 thoughts on “The Boughs Of St.Mary: Faithful See Holy Mother on Tree”

  1. I’m not entirely certain why we need to respect their beliefs. We should we respect them, and respect their right to hold those beliefs, but the beliefs themselves aren’t immune to critique and, perhaps, ridicule. Granted, if you can’t make those distinctions when talking to people and you start with the ad hominems, then you should steer clear of such conversations.

  2. Let’s take for granted that the figure is a human. What is there to indicate that it’s the Virgin Mary? It’s a person wearing a cloak. It could be a Jedi, Voldemort, or some cosplayer.

    Same with the Jesus sightings. If they are actually a person, it’s a dude with long hair and maybe a beard. Jerry Garcia? Charles Manson? Bjorn Borg?

  3. Ben Dover, I know a guy who ended up in psych. institute because he sat on a photocopier and set it on some automatic setting to keep making copies for a while and he apparently gave it a 10-minute show and used up several thousand pages and got busted by his employer. Wasted paper, wasted the ink cartridge, and probably wasted his time as well.

  4. I just survived a two-hour conversation with a very VERY devout religious person who wanted to bless me, help me, etc. The call started out with her wondering if I could find someone to help a third person who needed help, in another state, and it meandered around to her blessings for me. When I finished listening to the whole thing, I felt conflicted about some major issues:

    1. How would this woman even be able to keep on living without committing murder or mayhem if she did not have this faith that god would ultimately turn everything around and punish wrongdoers on her behalf?

    2. Why would this woman’s belief that the Virgin Mary is working miracles be considered any less ridiculous than the idea that the court has always made its decisions in the best interests of her daughter who, at the age of three years old, was placed in the sole custody of the child’s father who claimed he did not know how her hymen was torn in the shape of a butterfly configuration (totally ripped at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock but only symmetrically “changed” at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock)? And if her belief that the Virgin Mary is working miracles is less “sane” than a belief in our court system, then isn’t that because and ONLY BECAUSE the court system has big guns and can actually kill people who disagree vigorously enough?
    (And by the way the Church used to have guns just as big as that, too.)

    3. If I tried to convince this woman that there was another way to look at the suffering she and her daughter have endured thanks to the very credible, believable, and sane institutions we live with, and under whose power we live, would that help anybody? Would that help her? NO! Would that help me? How? If people go to the tree in NJ and think there is divinity involved in the pattern on its bark, if their lives are poor, brutal, deprived, and oppressed (probably) or if their emotions are tangled in anxiety and obsessiveness, or if or if or if or if (whatever) and this tree, in this configuration, comforts them, isn’t that better than expensive medications that the insurance won’t pay for? That has been tested on people who, like them, would go take unknown pills and get unknown side effects for $35 per visit so they could pay their electric bill?

    So she prayed the blood of Jesus over me, to protect me. From Devils. She went on and on. And I let her go on and on; she means me well. And as she did this I thought, “I had lawyers; they had licenses to practice; all these things were regulated by credible institutions; they did real things in the real world, not like praying the blood of Jesus over me. Their responsibility was to tell me what they were doing and to get my consent to do things in the real, verifiable, valid court systems of two states of the Union. What they did for me was more negative than what she is doing for me, so this is O.K.” And it’s fine.

  5. Zarathustra: “These people should stare at my butthole…. I’m sure they’d see a circular hole they’d like to kiss…….. or maybe stick their tongues into…….”

    Why don’t you sit on a photocopier? The resulting image will look like a Christmas wreath.

  6. “The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived.” (Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur)

  7. oh I dunno…..I’m much more comfortable seeing the Mother of the Universe and G*d expressed by a tree than to believe that the words from the mouth of a pampered priest in Rome are the infallible channeled words of G*d….

    It’s akin to the alien argument. How arrogant of us to assume we are the only creations capable of being loved by and images of, the Creator….

  8. There was a root (of a stricken Dutch Elm) on the corner of New Hampshire Ave. NW and N St. NW in Washington, DC in 1991 — result of trauma to the root, I later learned — making a shape. I commissioned a fine photographer to photograph it in late afternoon light, and she gave me slides of it, and I get cibachrome prints of it as gifts for people from time to time. I’m trying to get someone to post a photograph of it here. Just for you to see it, no worship necessary.

  9. These people should stare at my butthole…. I’m sure they’d see a circular hole they’d like to kiss…….. or maybe stick their tongues into…….

  10. You beat me to this one Mark! How badly do people need to believe when they “believe” that they see the Mother of God on a tree trunk???

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