November 4

Könnyezo Szuzanya (Weeping Virgin), Máriapócs, Hungary, and Vienna, Austria

Captured by Turks and held as a prisoner of war, Laszlo Csigri celebrated his release in 1696 by commissioning a wooden icon of the Virgin and Child for the Greek Catholic church in his home town of Pócs (pronounced Poach) in eastern Hungary. The artist was the pastor's brother, Istvan Papp; although he had studied in Italy, the work has a primitive immediacy more typical of Coptic art than of the Italian baroque. In a variation of the classic hodigetria or way-pointing pose, the Virgin not only gestures toward the Child, who wears a cross and holds a three-petaled flower; he points back toward her. That same year, on November 4, toward the end of the mass, a farmer named Mihaly Eory noticed the icon was shedding tears. During the two weeks of this first weeping, word spread throughout the area. A dying child recovered when held up to the tears by a Roman Catholic priest from a town ten miles away. In gratitude, the mother gave the icon a jeweled necklace, the first of many such offerings, which eventually covered the image almost completely. In December, it wept for another two weeks, starting on the 8th. Pócs became known as Máriapócs. Hungary was then under Austria, and in February, 1697, Emperor Leopold II had the miraculous image moved to St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. It's still there, in a chapel to the right of the entrance. It never wept again. But a copy given by the Emperor to the church in Máriapócs wept three more times, in 1715, 1750, and 1905. This is now the most important Marian shrine in Hungary, with daughter shrines wherever Hungarians have settled. All are a focus of devotion on several dates annually: in Vienna the Sunday after November 4; in Albuquerque, N.M., the first Sunday in November; in Carey, Ohio, the first Sunday in October; in Máriapócs, the Sunday after August 14 (feast of the Dormition), the Sunday after September 14 (Exaltation of the Cross), and November 11 (feast of the Archangel Michael), among others. (Information from A Máriapócsi Kegyhely,, and other sources; picture from Erika Papp Faber, Our Mother's Tears, Academy of the Immaculate, New Bedford, Mass., 2006.)  

Also celebrated this date:
bulletNotre-Dame de Santa-Cruz, Oran, Algeria. Rain fell during procession, ending cholera epidemic, 1849.
bulletNotre-Dame de Bonne Garde, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, Pays de la Loire, France. Chapel completed and first mass celebrated, 1657.
bulletOur Lady of Kazan, Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia (October 22 old calendar; also July 8 / 21)

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly