Our Lady of the Iceberg

Q: What can you tell me about Our Lady of the Iceberg?

A: The Madonna Iceberg is actually a painting based on a photograph of an iceberg. How similar to a statue the original iceberg looked is unknown. The photographer was really a painter of Newfoundland scenes, particularly marine scenes, named T.B. Hayward. His method was to photograph a scene and then at his leisure, paint from the photograph.

In an article called "Icebergs in Bay-de-Verde and The 'Blessed Virgin' Iceberg of 1905," published in a 1980 copy of The Newfoundland Quarterly, Rose Noonan Conway wrote of the story of the apparition of Our Lady of the Iceberg.

Our Lady of the Iceburg. Iceburg is shaped to look like a standing Mary with her hands together in prayer.

The Basilica of St. John's, Newfoundland is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. His feast day is June 24. On June 23,1905, the first Newfoundland-born bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Francis Howley, D.D., had been invested with the Sacred Pallium as First Archbishop of the newly created ecclesiastical Province of St. John's, Newfoundland.

On the very next day, Sunday, June 24, 1905 which was the 408th anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland, and the feast of St. John the Baptist, a majestic iceberg appeared off "The Narrows." The figure of the Blessed Virgin seemed clearly discernible in its shape.

I have before me as I write a picture of this iceberg, and to me there is no doubt that it is a figure of the Blessed Virgin. This figure stands apart from the main iceberg, and is a perfect image of Our Blessed Lady. I don't know if the significance of this apparition (to me it is an apparition) has ever been investigated, or explained, but whatever it may be, it was there for a special purpose. You only have to look at this picture to be assured that this was not just a coincidence, but one of those mysteries of life that cannot be explained.

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