I wondered when this would appear here. The following is quoted
without permission from The Washington Post, Monday, March 9, 1992,
Page D3, typos are probably my fault:
At Va. Church, Reports of Miracles
Media Flock to Investigate Priest's 'Stigmata', Weeping Statue
By Pierre Thomas, Washington Post Staff Writer
An Associate pastor at a Catholic church in Prince William County has
marks that mirror the wounds of Christ on the cross and statues in the
sanctuary weep after he has handled them, according to the church pastor
and congregation members.
James Bruse, associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge,
first mentioned the existence of a weeping statue on New Year's Eve,
the Rev. Daniel Hamilton, the church's pastor, said yesterday. Hamilton
said he also noticed on Bruse what he described as stigmata, marks on the
wrists, feet and side, the places where Jesus "Christ" was pierced during
"It seems to be a physical phenomenon associated with Father Bruse,"
Hamilton said. "I don't know what is happening. Father Bruse is a
normal guy .... He is a man of prayer, but he is not a mystic."
In a brief interview after a 9:30 a.m. Mass yesterday that attracted unusual
media attention, Bruse pulled back his sleeves. There were pink marks
about an inch in diameter on his wrists and the backs of each hand. It is
unclear what caused the marks.
"The bleeding has slowed, but there is still pain," Bruse said. "I think
it's a phenomenon. I feel like it's from Christ."
Bruse said later that he has similar marks on the tops of his feet and on
his right side. He said he bleeds from the wounds, with the last occaision
being about 10 days ago.
"When it first started, I thought it was some kind of skin disease,"
Bruse said. Asked about the possibility of a hoax, he said: "I would be
just as cynical. I would be questioning this."
A statement Hamilton said was issued by the Diocesan Chancery in Arlington
does not make any claims about the phenomena attributed to Bruse.
"In this particular case there is no determined message attached to
the reported physical phenomena, and thus there is no ecclesiastical
declaration to be made at this time," the statement said. "As always in
similar cases, the Church recommends great caution in forming judgments,
and advises against any speculation on the causes or possible significance
of the reported events."
Stigmata have been attributed to Catholic mystics, particularly St. Francis
Yesterday, Hamilton recalled a discussion he had with Bruse on New Year's
Eve: Bruse said he had recently given his mother a statue of Mary,
mother of Jesus, and a few days later, the statue began weeping, as did
all the others in his mother's Stafford County home.
"He came to the ultimate cynic," Hamilton said. "I don't believe in
these kinds of things. I told him it must be the result of atmospheric
conditions." The two men then exchanged statues, Hamilton said.
"When he gave me the statue, I noticed these marks on his wrists,"
Hamilton said. "Stigmata .... He didn't know what those marks meant.
I said, `Didn't they teach you anything at [divinity] school?'"
Hamilton later went to Bruse's room at the rectory. "I looked at his
statue of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the statue was crying blood. I
backed out of his room."
When Hamilton returned to his own room, the statue of Mary that Bruse
had given him "was crying." On New Year's Day, when Hamilton got out
of bed "water was running down the face of the statue," he said.
Bruse said he received a master's degree in 1983 from Mount St. Mary
College in Emmitsburgh, Md. He worked at two local parishes, St. James
in Falls Church and St. John's in Leesburgh, before he went to the
Lake Ridge church about 21 months ago, he said.
Described by members of the congregation as a shy, unassuming man,
Bruse has become the center of attention since the phenomena associated
with him were reported on WUSA-TV, Channel 9. Yesterday, several television
crews lined up outside the church, which was often so full that people had
to stand in its anteroom.
Tom Saunders, 52, a laid off engineer, said he has seen supernatural
incidents on at least three occasions. Once he was holding a statue in
Bruse's presence and "it started crying," he said. "I was amazed,
incredible .... When you are holding something in your hand and
actually feel [the water] ... it's hard to say I don't believe it."
Others in the congregation have not seen, but hey believe.
"God's touched Father Jim," said Jo Anne Cowley, 45, of Lake Ridge.
"All the strangers want to come and see to believe. Everybody's a little
bit skeptical. The Lord is here. I think He is trying to say to
his people, `Believe'."
The story is accompanied by a picture of 4 young (early Teens?) boys
near some large (life sized) religious statues (appear to be wooden,
can't really tell though) as well as an emergency lighting box on one
of the visible walls. One of the boys is reaching towards one
of the statues. The caption is "Boys touch statues that are said to
weep at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge."
My only comment that occured to me as I was typing this in is to note
how much of the story is filled with things Father Hamilton said
and how little of the story is actually what Father Bruse said.
Also, I'm rather amazed that a Catholic priest didn't know what