NEW ORLEANS -- Only the toll of church bells breaks the silence in the chapel at Ursuline Academy.
There are no whispers, no crowds, no reminders of what happened here two years ago, except for this -- the very shadow that drew thousands in 2012.
“I think this is just so extraordinary, you know?" said one parishioner. "You can see the crown of thorns of Jesus. You can see his face.”
Back then the story was that a student had come to the chapel all by herself and was quietly praying alone for a sign when she noticed the shadow.
That student had never come forward until today.
“I don't think of myself as a particularly religious person,” Ursuline senior Erin Calderera said. “I just think I've been blessed.”
The story is only partially correct. Erin said she wasn't praying that day. She said it was the worst day of her life and she was lashing out.
“I was thinking, um, you don't really love me, you don't care about me, you're not real and you know, this is all fake,” she said, “and I was, like, you should just prove it if you were and if you did care about me. And he did, for sure.”
She said when she lifted her head she noticed the shadow.
“I was like, ‘What in the world is that?’ And I ran up to the altar, like literally ran up to it because I had never seen it before, and then when I saw it I was like, ‘Whoa, what is this?’”
She ran to get the secretary to see if she saw it, too, and before long crowds followed, more than 1,500 people on Good Friday alone.
The archbishop said it's not an apparition, but he said "sometimes God can use a simple thing like a shadow to bring hope.”
And that's what Erin wants people to know. It's why she prays here every day, why she's telling her story, and why she's headed to college to become a campus minister.
The shrine where the shadow is visible is open to the public between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily and during Mass on weekends.
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