In 2008 an awesome phenomenon occurred in the church, on September 15th, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. At about 7:15 pm, the sun, shining through a tiny piece of red glass in a stained glass window, illuminated, with a red glow, the heart pierced by 7 swords on the statue of Our Blessed Mother on the High Altar. It touched no other part of the statue or any other statue on the altar. This phenomenon occurred during a Mass in Her Honour.
In 2009 it occurred again at approximately 7:15 pm while several parishioners were praying the VII Sorrows Rosary. They had come prepared this time with cameras in anticipation of a re-occurrence of the event. It occurred again, at the same time in 2010 and 2011.
In 2012, approximately 300 witnesses were in the church on Monday, September 13th and after all day Adoration and Evening Prayer on Tuesday the 14th to see if this event might be occurring at any time other than on Her feast day, but no illumination came near the heart of Mary. This truly amazing event has occurred only on Her feast day, drawing attention to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Our Holy Mother Mary. The phenomenon was video taped.
In 2013, approximately 900 people came to witness the phenomenon but it rained all day and night and it did not occur. Each year approximately 700 people attended Devotions but the phenomenon has not reoccurred. However, word of it has continued to spread and brought awareness of Our Sorrowful Mother to many, far and wide.
A Miracle at St. Mary’s
In 1892 a 9 year old boy was told by his father that his mother would die that day (she had just given birth, with complications). Devastated the child ran to St. Mary’s his parish church and kneeling in front of the statue of the Mother with 7 swords piercing her heart he cried and begged her to save his mother. In return he promised Our Blessed Mother that one day when he grew up he would do something BIG for the church. His mother survived.
His name was Ambrose Mayer. When he grew up he joined the Servite order and was ordained at the Cathedral of Our Mother of Sorrows in Chicago. He was then sent to Oregon where he purchased a piece of land from the railroad and built the National Shrine to Our Sorrowful Mother in Portland.
This story can be found in different publications from the Shrine and on their website. It is unknown if the statue Father Mayer prayed before is the same statue that is on the High Altar today.