I keep hearing about something called ‘Our Lady of the Underpass’ in the news lately, and I vaguely remember this first appearing awhile back. I was still in college, so I couldn’t have cared less about the news at that point, but now that it’s a popular topic I figured I should read up on it.
Back in April of 2005 a large yellow and white stain appeard on the concrete wall of the Fullterton Avenue viaduct under the Kennedy Expressway. The Illinois Department of Transportation said it was just salt runoff, but hundreds of people began flocking to the underpass to see what many thought to be the image of the Virgin Mary.
The image drew huge crowds of worshippers who placed shrines, candles and flowers all over the underpass. So many people came to visit the site that police put up baracades and began patrolling the area to keep crowds away from traffic.
The shrine has been defaced several times. In May of 2005 some
jackassone painted “Big Lie” over the image in shoe polish. The man was charged with damage to state-supported property. The city painted over the image, but later two car wash employees restored it.
According to a recent Chicago Sun-Times article, even though the image has mostly faded and there are no longer crowds of pilgrims surrounding it, the shrines are still there.
I’m thinking I’ll head out there to take a look at it. Have you seen it?