Monday, December 7, 2015

Visions of Light

In June of 1911, the Los Angeles Times reported a mystical event taking place at a homestead near Whittier. "Mexicans as well as their more patrician relatives of mission ancestry" (whatever that means!) were flocking to see the miracle: a picture owned by Senora Manuela Plaz radiating light in the darkness. Hundreds of people came to experience the vision, in which rays of light shone from the picture while the woman who owned it knelt on the floor to pray.

The picture--a "battered and broken portrait," according to the Times, was of Our Lady of Guadalupe. That's a phrase familiar to most Catholics. Los Angeles has more than one church named for this vision. Besides a couple in the city proper, there are also Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic churches in Irwindale, El Monte, and Hermosa Beach.  She's popular and revered, and her feast day is December 12--which is why I was scrolling for her in our old newspapers.

Nearly 500 years ago, the Mother of God appeared to a humble man of Indian descent near Mexico City. She left her portrait on his plain cloak, and it is this image--replicated a zillion times--which Senora Plaz, late of Durango, Mexico, had in her home near Whittier.

The newspaper also placed the vision near Los Nietos, so I'm guessing that means it was in West Whittier. I wonder if anyone today remembers the incident or heard about it? Perhaps there's a note at the historical society? Nothing more is mentioned in the Times, and internet searches of Manuela Plaz got no results. But--and again, I'm guessing, something drove hundreds of people to Plaz's home over a century ago. Even if the TImes only covered it once, it may have been an recurring phenomenon, building up a bitof anticipation as the word spread.

And then it was forgotten. Oh, well.

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