I, Gregory Sapp and my wife Deborah Sapp, live in the Pine Forest Drive home in Jesup, Georgia with our children and our dog. The home was originally built in 1977.
The image of the Virgin Mary and Holy Spirit appeared on the garage window
of our home. I first noticed the image of the Virgin Mary on the window
late one evening in early December of 2006. I walked out the front door and down the walkway and it suddenly caught my attention. It was a moment that you
can always remember and really never completely explain. I just stood and stared at
the window for a time and looking around and noticing how still the night was and
feeling as if the window was looking at me and I looked at it from every side and then after a while I went back inside the front door and everything in the house was still and quite. My children were in the bed and my wife was laying down reading. It was a surreal moment for me; time kind of stopped that evening.
The next morning the image on the window was still there. You could see it but you
could not explain it. When you saw it you felt it. The window would leave you with
a distinct impression. My wife and I were on our way to work that day and we had to take a long look to study the image. The image on the window was very distinct as the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit. The tilt of Mary’s head, the obvious veil that illuminated and hangs behind her shoulder on one side and falls to the floor on the other side, the noticeable fold in the veil that goes around her face, the obvious image of a Dove above her head, the praying hands and what appears to be an image of the Holy Eucharist. The window you could see was filled with imagery.
Each time we pulled into the garage we kept noticing the Window more and more with greater detail. We found ourselves, with our children, Phillip and Julia, just sitting there staring longer and longer more awe struck as the days went by. We
would come home during the day at lunch to check on the Window and after work
when Debbie pulled into the garage she would just stay in her car and look at the
Window for a while before she would come in the house and at night we would always spend time outside in the yard or at the porch or in the garage looking at the window and just admiring how beautiful, peaceful and truthful it was.
We soon invited a few people over to see it and we saw that the window made an impact on each of them. We also invited our Priest and a friend from church. The
Window at this point was still in the window frame of the garage and the few others who had seen the Window were fast to recognize the images in the window and described the Window as “ a phenomenon” and “miraculous” and “beautiful”. We eventually began referring to the Window as the Virgin Mary Window and did not know exactly what to do but we knew something would be done; even our youngest child knew that. The Window remained in the window frame of the garage until July of 2007.
The garage is an outdoor garage and it does not have any garage doors on it. The
garage area is just like being outside and for all this time the weather here during that period of time was from as cold and as wet as it gets in south Georgia to as hot and as dry as it gets is south Georgia; and there were many hard storms and many hard rains and loud thunder and lighting during this time; but the images on the Virgin Mary Window never changed. This Window that looked very fragile proved to be very strong and lasted through a hard winter, a wet spring and the heat of mid summer. We continued to spend time in front and near the window everyday; mornings, noon’s, evenings and nights. It was not possible to explain how the images on the window were there or how they even remained; we were awe struck.
At about the first part of July 2007 I also became struck with a sudden and very urgent sense that I needed to protect the Window. That day I called and spoke with a man I knew in the glass business that was doing construction in town and asked him if he would come and tell me if the window could be removed. He met with me that day and scheduled to have two of his men and himself available to remove the window the next day. The glass man and his workers removed the window and it was moved inside to our home. I had never been hit with a need to do something with the level of anxiety that I was feeling. I knew that the Window had to be protected and until I had it safely in our home I felt a certain fear and anxiety that I had never had in all my life; in fact it was a feeling that I can’t explain and I was perfectly relieved as soon as we had the Window safe in our home.
Very soon after bringing the Window inside our home we would spend more time in front of, near and in the same room with the Window and we also sensed a special presence in our home and feelings of hope and grace. We kept the window in our bedroom and it was leaning on a small sofa and for probably about a year we left it in that position. We would just sit in front of the Window and we both felt a peace from it; it was like spending a moment with the Virgin Mary. I felt the Window imparted grace also and Debbie felt a hope; I felt as if I was learning about my faith from the Window, Debbie was drawn to it. We knew that Mary was there and that the Holy Spirit was also. That I learned from the Window; that wherever Mary is the Holy Spirit is. The Window opened and deepened our faith in a way that I as a father of my family could not have done; we soon came to feel as if the Virgin Mary had become a part of our family. If we were going somewhere we would recognize her before we left and as soon as we returned we would recognize her also.
Also, soon after bringing the Window inside our home and very late one evening while I was in the living room watching TV, Debbie came in from the bedroom holding her Rosary and asked me if I wanted to pray the Rosary with her. At this time Debbie had never before prayed the Rosary, she always attended the Catholic Church with all of us, and also taught fourth grade Sunday school class, but she had never converted to the Catholic Faith and was raised a Baptist. So this was another one of those surreal moments for me when I am invited to pray the Rosary by my wife who had never before prayed the Rosary. I will never forget that night and we have been praying the Rosary ever since, giving Rosaries away, teaching how to pray the Rosary, praying the Rosary here at our home and in other peoples homes. It has been an experience for us and others to pray the Rosary in front of the Virgin Mary Window and continues to be a moment of prayer with Mary and the Holy Spirit and we continue to open our home to anyone for prayer.
Not long after we began praying the Rosary at our home, in front of the Virgin Mary Window, Debbie converted her faith to that of the Holy Catholic Church and the way that we pray before the Virgin Mary Window is very much the same way that you would pray in front of an icon (Greek: image) of the Holy and Blessed Mother of God; the Virgin Mary. When we venerate the Virgin Mary Window as an icon, we show our love for Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. We do not treat the Virgin Mary Window as merely a decorative work of art, but is instead a window into the spiritual world. Veneration is not directed to the glass or the wood frame of this great icon, the Virgin Mary Window, but to the world from which the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ Himself shines the “true light that lightens every man that comes into the world.”(Jn 1)The Virgin Mary Window shows us something that happened in the life of the Most Holy Mother of God, for example, it shows Mary with hands folded in prayer, which is something that Mary always did, and it has the image of a dove above the Head of the image of Mary which shows that wherever Mary is the Holy Spirit is also and it has an image of the Holy Eucharist also; the Virgin Mary Window speaks the Gospel. And these are just some of the most profound images that are recognized; there are those who see more and some who see less. The Virgin Mary Window is very much an experience and all, even the unbeliever, are attracted to the beauty of the Virgin Mary Window and the beauty of Holy Mary and with Her incomparable charm.
But how do we venerate the Virgin Mary Window here? First we always will light a candle and then we bless ourselves with the sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Then we kiss or touch the holy Virgin Mary Window. This holy icon is of the Virgin Mary and we ask her to pray to our Lord Jesus Christ for us and for others, and for our needs and for the needs of others, knowing and trusting that our Lord Jesus Christ always hears and listens to the prayers of our sweet Virgin Mary; Queen of Heaven.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.