On December 11th, 2016, I posted something on my Facebook page that kept me busy with correspondence for weeks. It’s been shared and re-shared thousands of times on social media and I’ve heard from people from all around the world. (Update: this blog alone has received over 205,000 hits from 160 countries). Initially, I did not share any thoughts about it. I simply shared the photo with minimal explanation. However, since this image was entrusted to me, I feel a responsibility to say a few things. First, let me rehash the story:
It was a Sunday, and due to my poor shower time management (1 shower for 6 people), we experienced a “shower production bottleneck” and couldn’t get everyone through in time to make our customary 11:00 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral. So I bailed out and hit the 11:45 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart Basilica at Notre Dame. Afterwards, it was snowing that wet and heavy snow. On my way to the parking lot, I instinctively stopped at the Grotto where I was touched by the presence of one lone student kneeling devoutly in prayer. I decided to take a photo because this guy – he looked like some kind of athlete – didn’t move the whole time. Snow was piling up on him. As soon as I took the photo, my iPhone suddenly shut down despite the fact that I had a 42% charge. It was 1:50 p.m.
Nine hours later, when everyone was in bed, I had forgotten all about taking this photo and I went to free up some memory from my phone by deleting things. As I sat at our dining room table, I was astonished to see this image of a vertical cloud directly above the student. When I took the picture, I can assure you that there was nothing there.
During the following days, I’ve been quite busy answering questions and enjoying the great beauty of Our Lady at work. After receiving ten individual messages from friends and strangers telling me that they were spontaneously moved to tears by the photo, I quit counting. Let’s just say that the number is now a whole lot more than ten.
A day after I posted the original photo above (which has not been altered in any way), my older sister’s high school classmate lifted the image off her page and enhanced it by Photoshop. Because I knew people were going to ask, I asked him to tell me exactly what he did to it. This is his reply: “About a minute’s worth of Photoshop. Highlighted the area and turned the brightness and contrast down on the background to see it better. That’s a remarkable image that you took. It’s making the internet rounds and strengthening Faith everywhere! “
You might see this photo as simply a beautiful photo of a person praying at the Grotto. You might see it as something more. You might think that it has a natural cause. You might think that the cause is supernatural.
Much more at this link.