Our Lady of the Fullerton underpass...persists

August 30, 2010

It's still there.

With fresh flowers. With lit candles. And with warning signs -- about the police camera hanging under the concrete bridge, about possible fires.

Five years ago, a water stain on the Fullerton-Kennedy underpass formed to look like what many thought was a virginal apparition. Crowds came. The archdiocese, typically, reserved its imprimatur but didn't exactly say no.

It's since been vandalized, painted over, theatricalized. The stain itself has been scratched back to life, a frame built around it.

Last month, the candle flame caught something. Sparks flew. Two homeless men put out the fire and are now duly recognized. But the petitioners keep coming. Fresh paint, crayon, ink attests to their needs.

On the other extreme of the underpass, in the rheumy light from the lamps, two men sleep on the concrete. A box of Vienna sausages, a change of clothes in plain sight. Perhaps it's possible they feel protected.