Church Wall Image Fails to Appear on Overcast Morning

United Press International

With the sun obscured by heavy clouds, a mysterious light on a church wall that many believed was a divinely inspired image of the Virgin Mary did not appear Monday, seeming to confirm the theory that the image came from sunlight shining through a stained-glass window.

“I think it would confirm it is a physical phenomenon of refraction of light through stained glass. That seems to give us a clear picture of what was happening,” Bishop Francis Quinn of the Sacramento Diocese said.

Rain-sodden skies didn’t discourage throngs of the faithful from waiting hours in line outside St. Dominic’s Catholic Church for a chance to glimpse the multicolored image, which has appeared daily since Thanksgiving above a statue of Jesus.

But after the image failed to appear at its usual time in the morning, the worshipers trooped out, some in dismay.


Quinn said he had talked with James Phelps, a physics professor and optics expert asked by a newspaper to examine the light last week. Phelps concluded the image was caused by sun coming through a stained-glass window and bouncing off a light fixture onto the wall.