An evanescent vision

For The Record

March 11, 2001|By Dan Rodricks

Laura Ginski wanted to document the vision she believes she saw last month on the brightly lit steeple of St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church in Fells Point. The result is this grainy, ghostly close-up of a round-faced young woman with closed eyes and a trace of hair across her forehead.

"Bangs," Ginski says incredulously. "I can't believe the Blessed Mother has bangs."

Ginski, a longtime St. Stan's parishioner who was part of last year's unsuccessful effort to keep the Archdiocese of Baltimore from closing the 120-year-old church, says she saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary on three nights in February. She asked her daughter, Dot Hayes, to get a camera. Hayes purchased a disposable Kodak, and Ginski took it one night to Ann Street, about a half-block from the church.

Too nervous to snap a picture herself, she asked a stranger to do it, at a point about 50 yards from the steeple. Her daughter then took the camera to a Wal-Mart where, according to store procedure, an employee would have opened it by hand inside a portable "dark box," then placed the film inside an automated processor.

There were only two exposures on Ginski's film - a murky vertical shot of what appeared to be St. Stan's steeple washed in flood lights, and the bizarre close-up. The face shocked Ginski and the three other Fells Point women who claim to have seen the Virgin Mary on the steeple. Ginski believes it is the Virgin Mary, appearing at St. Stan's perhaps to deliver the message that the church's closure - and possible sale - makes the Holy Family unhappy.

Since the story of this urban mystery was first published in The Sun March 2, the lights that illuminated Saint Stan's steeple - and Laura Ginski's vision - have been shut off.

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