NAGASAKI — August 9th marked the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, and to mark the horrific event, about 1,000 torch-bearers did a unique and unexpected thing: they honored Mary by carrying her from the Urakami Cathedral to Nagasaki Peace Park.
But this is no ordinary statue of Mary, she was all that was left behind after the atomic bomb that was dropped that fatefully day!
An amazing miracle happened to a Trappist monk who grew up a member of the the same Cathedral. Father Kaemon Noguchi loved to pray before the statue of Mary when he was a young boy. The statue was made of wood and brought to the Cathedralin the 1930’s from Italy. She had crystal eyes that drew people to her and brought many to believe in the Immaculate Conception. Fr. Noguchi left to join a Monastery north of Japan, and was ordained in 1939. He was called to arms in 1943, and returned home after being discharged when te war was ended by the bomb.
He went back to his Church trying to find something to bring back to the monastery with him from the Cathedral, but found nothing but destruction. He prayed to the Holy Mother that he should be able to find something, when out of nowhere he, “saw the holy face of the Virgin blacked by fire, looking at him with a sorrowful air.”
He testified that it was those crystal eyes which drew him to her, even though the eyes had melted in the atomic heat. He took her head home and prayed with her in his private quarters until 1975. He returned her head to the Cathedral 30 years after the bomb (just stating a solder had found her) and in a letter written 45 years after finding her, he finally admitted he was the solder that found her, explaining the mystery of, “the solder who found her.”
She has since then been housed in several locations, was a part of a traveling World War II display, and is finally back in the Urakami Cathedral behind the altar once again.
We are again reminded of the horrors of war, and we must continue to pray for peace and the end to nuclear weapons of all kinds. Over 75,000 people lost their lives that day, including the Cathedral’s two priests and about thirty Catholics who were there for confession.
When Cardinal Timothy Dolan saw the Virgin Mary, he commented, “I’ve never experienced the dread and revulsion I did when the Archbishop [Joseph Mitsuaki] showed us the head of Our Lady of Nagasaki.” She is devastatingly beautiful and will forever be a reminder of how destructive mankind can be.
Our Lady of Nagasaki, Pray for Us.