Grand Rapids Miracle, 1858


In September, 1858, some 225 Grand Rapids residents spotted a glowing cross in the sky, an event that may have been lost in history.  But recently, the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections area of the library received a copy a letter

Page 1 of the letter

written on October 8, 1858 by Rev.  H. (Hugh) Quigley, pastor of  St. Andrew’s church from June 1858 to February 1859, to an Isaac Carey.   Apparently  Father Marko (Marco), who assumed duties at St. Mary’s parish in 1857,  had written a letter to him on September 27 to tell of  the “appearance of a ‘miraculous’ cross”  and Rev. Quigley verified that “there is not one word of exaggeration in the account.”     A “regularly-formed large and well-defined cross was seen by a large crowd of Protestants and Catholics present, and Father Marko has the names of 225 persons many of them Protestants.”    Some of these Protestants were so moved that they had sought instruction to prepare for being admitted to the Catholic Church.   With all these witnesses, “there can no more doubt of the appearance of the phenomenon, than of the appearance of the Comet that now warms the Northern skies.”       Now, St. Mary’s parish was a German speaking congregation, so Father Quigley seems to be is adding credence to his statements by noting  that he is pastor of an English speaking congregation,  and even “though I know no more of the ‘miracle’ than you do, yet, I am convinced, that (whether from Natural or Supernatural causes I know not) the Cross appeared as stated.”


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