"Exhibiting You" - Story

An Uncommon Visit

By: vasanthi victor
Submitted: 07/15/2008

All she knew was that the young woman lived with her family -- a husband, a child, and a female relative in the house. She had worked in a bank but had quit once she began seeing the Virgin. Yes, visions of the Virgin. The stigmata wounds she suffered from had appeared much earlier. The visions came later.

Jonamma, watching her daughter put on her cloak of narrator, interrupted: I think I will lie down for a while.

Jacob nodded in reply. Alicia emboldened by her mother’s departure continued in her new speech and tone.

Her visions, it was thought, had begun either when reciting the family rosary or while hanging the wash.

That makes sense.

Well it’s unclear…

Pause. Alicia looked as if she wouldn’t suffer any further interruptions.

Because much has been lost in the translation -- or jumbled as to the actual series of events that led up to the main -- once word had spread to the neighboring communities of Fort Kochi. They are common enough occurrences. And the family rosary a daily ritual in most households, as is hanging laundry on a clothesline.

Here Alicia smiled.

The wash considered a morning task, the rosary an evening ritual. Perhaps one evening, she was seen talking to the wall above the niche long after the family had done reciting and while her husband waited impatiently to receive her salutations. Her child, as expected, had blown the flame off the candles and bounced out of the room while she kneeled in rapture looked upward. One moment in a trance, the next blinking her eyes to see the curious stares of her husband and relative. Then slowly pointing to the wall uttered, The Virgin. I saw her.

Or she may have been hanging the family laundry and the next moment, spotted kneeling before the white sheet she had just hung. A neighbor minding her baby may have seen her in this unlikely posture and agape had rushed inside to call someone. They may have both stood and watched in astonishment while the wet linen swayed slightly in the breeze. Til it dawned on them, that it could only mean one thing! Their neighbor with the stigmata wounds was being visited upon by Our Lady. In the evening, suitably attired they had called upon the family and remained to recite the evening rosary.

And soon word had spread to neighbors nearby til, one by one, they came to join the young woman and her family in the evening recital. The circle grew wider as people with faith or illnesses thronged to the little house in Fort Kochi at all times of the day. Sometimes the young woman was present, other times not. She did her chores as best she could in between cooking and cleaning and hanging the family wash. Spied on at times, she escaped to the nearby beach and walked in solitude or gossiped with the fishermen’s wives’ as they sat cleaning fish outside their huts. Her absences did not slow the number of visitors to the house. And some (keeping with social custom) began inviting her to their homes to conduct a prayer or two for their own special requests. And she had willingly blessed their homes with her presence if she thought their faith appeared genuine…

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