It has always surprised me that the Church does not emphasize the miracles that have routinely occurred though out her history. Case in point, Father James Bruse. From 1991-1993 this priest in Virginia had the stigmata, and holy statues would weep when he was present. He has no idea why the miracles started and why they stopped, but we have hard evidence from skeptical eye witnesses at the time that the miracles occurred.
This from The Washington Post, March 13, 1992:
Then a reporter from Channel 5. And then her T-shirted cameraman. There’s something entirely new in his demeanor.
The statue, which has a halo and seems to be made of plaster, is on a fake wood bookcase. There are no visible wires. No battery-operated tear ducts like a religious Chatty Cathy with a hole in her back where you put in the size C’s. This statue seems actually to be producing water. The water, from what the naked eye can tell, is forming at the corner of the right eye. But the eye is very small and so it is hard to know for sure.
The Washington Post reporter is standing maybe four inches from the Blessed Mother’s nose. There’s gotta be a trick here. It’s as if the water is just appearing right out of the plaster and then rolling downward.
A bead forms under the alabaster-pink chin. It swells. BLOP, it falls. There are four tiny puddles of water at the statue’s base now.
Proof positive you can be seeing something and still not believe you’re seeing it.
This isn’t possible, of course, but a 37-year-old Catholic priest in the exurbs of Washington, down among the split-levels of I-95, is touching parish statues — and they start to “weep.” Small crystal clear droplets of water will visibly well up in the statues’ eyes, will line the ridge of their noses, will suspend at their chins, will form Lilliputian pools at their plaster or bronze or wood or fiberglass feet.
Sometimes it’s just an odd drop of water or two a particular statue will produce, and sometimes it’s a whole coursing mini-stream.
It’s done with mirrors and blue smoke, natch. Or computers. Or it’s atmospheric. Or the guy making this happen, who clearly has a head problem, has magic buttons up the sleeve of his black priest shirt.
But hold on.
Sometimes the Rev. James Bruse doesn’t need to touch the statues but only has to be in their proximity — on the altar saying Mass, or maybe seated at his desk in his windowless parish office. And then a statue will begin to water. Will start to produce something that is, by touch and taste, what we know as H2O.
It never happens on cue. There’s always a certain unpredictability. Which is what the otherworldly is about. Though not just the otherworldly, come to think of it.
The man apparently making this happen isn’t a cardinal or a bishop or some other church potentate. He’s a low-ranking associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge. A cleric with an extremely low profile even within his own diocese. God, if He’s behind all this, makes His unfathomable choices, picks His unsuspecting spots.
One of the chief watering statues at the parish — it’s of Christ’s mother and is about three feet high and is olive in color — is affixed to a wood base on the side of the main altar. It’s flanked by a statue of Saint Joseph and by dozens of votive lights that flicker throughout the day, having been lighted by the swelling faithful. According to those who run the parish, many times in the past six or seven weeks, during or before or after a service, this statue of Mary has been clearly observed “welling up.” At least once copiously. Observed by puzzled, awe-struck, semi-frightened parishioners. By the otherwise curious, now flocking in.
Other statues at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church have been observed watering in recent weeks too. They’re in different places on the parish grounds, though most are in the rectory. Most, not all, are statues of Mary. The rectory is about 100 yards from the church itself, over a small wooded hill. That’s where the pastor and the associate pastor have their offices and private quarters.
People are coming now to these grounds from Pennsylvania and Florida and Newport News to see for themselves whatever there is to see. Sometimes they leave disappointed: It doesn’t happen. TV has rolled in.
But that’s only the watering part; you haven’t heard the bleeding part. It’s spookier yet. Because it turns out that the shy, short, pompadoured, semi-inarticulate man who once wanted to be a state trooper and whose uncharismatic priestly presence seems — against all terrestrial logic — to be causing strange things to happen in his midst has also experienced tiny red weltlike marks on the tops and undersides of his wrists. And in his side too, he says. And on the tops of his feet too, he says.
Marks that replicate the wounds of Christ on His cross.
And these wounds have leaked blood. Suddenly, inexplicably. “Seepage” is the way people at the church describe them.
The bleeding has now stopped. The wounds are now all but gone. But earlier this week traces of them were still visible on the cleric’s wrists. Bruse willingly exhibited them. They were like small red burls on the roots of trees.
The recent death of United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reminded me of the so-called “Seton Miracles”, his belief in them and their relation to the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion.
The Seton Miracles included a priest’s wounds of the stigmata and incidents surrounding him such as weeping statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, changing-color rosaries, miracle colors and lights in the sky, and miraculous healings from 1991 to 1993 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Woodbridge, Virginia.
The priest’s name was Father James Bruse. He was the spiritual director of the mystic who received the revelations of the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion. He was also our apostolate’s first spiritual director.
I personally witnessed Father Bruse’s stigmata wounds and the weeping of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that he held in my presence. He reported many conversions and healings through his prayers. He told me that some of the phenomena that he experienced were connected to the Jesus King of All Nations Devotion. In His image, Jesus King of All Nations reveals His stigmata wounds.
On October 21, 2010, Justice Scalia gave an address in which he talked about the Seton Miracles, which he believed. He asked, “Why wasn’t that church absolutely packed with nonbelievers seeking to determine if there might be something to this?”
The answer was obvious, he said with disdain, “The wise do not investigate such silliness.”
Father Bruse’s pastor, Father Daniel Hamilton, saw the stigmata wounds on Father Bruse’s wrists, a statue in Father Bruse’s room producing blood, and other crying and bleeding statues.
“Father Bruse came to the ultimate cynic,” Father Hamilton said. “I don`t believe in these kinds of things. I told him it must be the result of atmospheric conditions.” The two priests then exchanged statues.
“When he gave me the statue, I noticed these marks on his wrists,” Father Hamilton said. “I said to him, ‘Stigmata.’ But, he didn’t know what I was talking about or what those marks meant.” So, I said, “Didn’t they teach you anything in the seminary?”
“Later, I went to Father 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 I returned to my own room, the statue of Mary that Father Bruse had given me was crying.”
Father Hamilton said, “Of course I doubted it in the beginning. And then I saw some of this stuff he’d been talking about. It’s true. That’s all I can tell you. It’s true. It’s true.