Is it blasphemous to compare oneself to the Virgin Mary? Probably, but here goes nothing.
In the summer of 1985, as Ireland endured another year of mass emigration and spittle-flecked wrangling about divorce, it was reported that people throughout the country were spotting statues of Mary moving spontaneously, most notably in Ballinspittle, Co. Cork. You probably know this already, even if, like me, you weren’t around for it – memorably, they matched it up with Eurythmics’ ‘There Must Be an Angel’ on Reeling in the Years.
People went and prayed and stood for hours waiting for the statues to move again. The whole thing seems pretty ludicrous now – an example of mass hysteria, perhaps – but it spoke to a deep cultural and social malaise in the country at the time. People looking for signs of meaning in a time of crisis, answers in a world of questions – understandable, in their own way. Sometimes life becomes a Rorschach inkblot test, and every smudge seems to show us our fear.
The rest of this piece can be read here.