Back in November, a friend in Chicago shared a picture taken at the Adoration Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Glenview, Illinois. I posted the story here, which I then updated when the same friend shared another picture taken on a different day, using a different camera, by a different person.
Then, about a week ago, I received an e-mail from Lori, a “cradle Catholic” and parishioner at OLPH, who wanted to share her own experience, and a third photograph taken at the same parish. After a bit of e-mail correspondence and some phone tag, Lori and I managed to speak on the phone today, and I asked her a lot of questions about the picture that she took and the story behind it.
Lori said that she’s been through a lot of strife in her life, including a battle with a rare form of cancer, but that her faith and deep belief in Jesus Christ has always helped her through dark times. In particular, Lori seems to know something about the reality of spiritual warfare, because at times she has the ability to perceive the unseen or unnoticed — the spiritual. She considers this perception a gift, the purpose of which she is still hoping that God will reveal to her.
Lori believes that the picture shows her guardian angel. She believes this because, simply, she asked her guardian angel to show herself, “next to Jesus”:
Also, since there were a lot of inquiries regarding the original post, I asked Lori to provide the technical details for this most recent photo. It was taken February 10 at 10:44 a.m., with a LG-P769 (an “android” phone). Lori says that she took a rapid succession of photographs, perhaps five in total, and only one contained the image shown above. She says that she did not alter, retouch, or photoshop the photograph in any way, and for my part, neither did I.
The photograph on the right provides some additional detail. The crucifix hangs above the main altar in the church. Behind, it shows that the doors to the Adoration Chapel (where the other two pictures were taken) is closed, while the photo above has the doors open (although blurry, you can see the top of the icon in the Adoration Chapel that is also shown with better detail in the other two photographs).
I think this is a really astounding story. In the original post, a number of people opined that the pictures were faked in some way, and a lot of people went so far as to describe how one could reproduce what’s shown in them.
It would be pretty easy to modify a photograph to look like the ones shown above. But every additional photograph that surfaces — taken by a different person on a different day using a different camera or phone from a different perspective or vantage point — reduces the possibility of some kind of hoax by a single actor. It would require collusion among people who don’t even know each other. Alternate explanations — reflections of light, camera error, etc. — still exist, but at some point a single explanation — apart from something supernatural or miraculous — begins to strain credulity.