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  • Writer's pictureCarole J. Sluski

"The Miraculous Lady of Cicero, Illinois"

A Time to Heal

My Testimony of a Miracle April 22, 1994 — The Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Cicero, Illinois. The above image is a photograph of the original painting on the altar at Saint George's church as I witnessed her tears.

Excerpt from my book: THIRTY – A Mother’s Spiritual Journey After Losing Her Child – Book pages: 175 – 179. – You can go to this website and read about The Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Cicero, Illinois. The history of Saint George has been full of miracles: From overcoming obstacles in its early days to recovering from a tragic fire. But on April 22nd of 1994, approximately two years and one month after Paula passed, the parishioners of Saint George witnessed God’s glory as He restored and strengthened our faith: The Icon of the Theotokos on the church’s iconostasis began to shed tears. In the summer of that same ‘miraculous’ year 1994, Saint George also hosted the Midwest Region Parish Life Conference over which Bishop Basil presided. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip formally declared the weeping icon a miracle and named it “The Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Cicero.

Denny and I lived less than one hour from this church. He received information about the crying icon almost immediately after it happened from his good friend, neighbor, and local businessman, Jack. Within the hour, Denny had me, his mom and his dad in the car headed to the church. I will never forget the excitement I felt, filled with hope that perhaps I was going to witness a miracle on this day.

My story begins when we arrive at the church. Parking was no problem, and the street was slow with traffic — nothing to report out of the ordinary. There was a small line of people in front of us waiting to enter the front doors. The church was very beautiful with the look and feel of an old-fashioned European Orthodox Church. I knew even before I stepped foot in holiness, I was being led to witness a miracle given to us directly by God. My witness to this event left me beholden forever to live the rest of my life accepting this present of His mother’s tears as a sign of faith.

I accepted God shared the light of His truth and allowed me, a common simple person, to be an observer of the greatness of this miracle. Many icon paintings were placed around the front of the altar and statues of the Saints throughout the church. The Madonna and Child icon, which I will label momentary as the exhibit of wonder was placed in the front center of the altar. It was so exciting, and I was enthralled with hope and love for Mary. I had an epiphany, a sudden intuitive understanding to accept this as a miracle.

I was a witness viewing the liquid flowing from her eyes on the icon, and the tears were real. I thought, could Mary’s tears become a sign of faith given to us by God? Are these tears being shed for all mankind? Paula’s soul was nearby guiding me to what I was observing using my God-given gift of common sense based on my perception of what I was seeing right in front of me, with no distractions anywhere in sight. My testimony has remained real for the last twenty-eight years. It has not changed, and it never will.

Outside the church, people gathered to figure out how this was happening.

Denny and I saw her tears slowly and steadily running down the painting beginning from her lower eyelids on both eyes. We both studied the icon, looked in the back, and did not see anything attached that would enable a stream of liquid to flow. There was nothing visible dripping onto the Icon. Her eyes looked wet and periodically, a teardrop would fill her eye and flow down her face. Everyone in the church watched, remained silent, and was in awe.

When I approached the icon of Mary and witnessed the authenticity of tears flowing down her cheeks, I gratefully accepted the several Q-tips given to me with teardrops and oil soaked in cotton. I always put these momentums in my special gold glass container which belonged to my mother, Paula’s grandmother. Its contents contained Paula’s rosary and other special items including the silver bracelets and Paula’s designer silver rings she loved to wear daily, which were cut off her wrists and fingers while in the Emergency Room at the hospital. I buried these items in our rose garden when we moved to Florida in 2021.

This was our rose garden of Heaven’s beauty; I wanted everything momentous to go back to earth. Thank you, Mother Mary, and Jesus; I love you both with all my heart and soul.

I went back several times to this church to receive more gratification from absorbing the faith this miracle offered us. The genuineness of these tears was totally breathtaking. I found this to be such a miraculous gift given to us from God to see this with our eyes. Are her tears meant to cleanse the souls of the earth so we may all be accepted in Heaven someday? Even Denny said he was taken by what he saw; in the beginning, he was skeptical. I left the church knowing I had witnessed a miracle, and I knew I had to return soon.

My return to the church was intentionally to ask for a favor. I had something special to ask as I prayed to the crying icon of Mary holding her beloved son, Jesus. Since Paula died, I have been extremely concerned that her death may have been connected to smoking cigarettes. I also smoked and I noticed since Paula died, I smoked more, and my entire respiratory system was weakening. I tried on several occasions to stop smoking with no prevail. I asked Mary with all my heart and soul to please help me quit smoking so I may live a healthier life. I told her I did not want to die and that I had things to accomplish on earth. This is the first time in a long time I realized how much I wanted to live. I needed her help desperately and I asked for it. I moved myself to the side of the icon so other people could get close and have their turn to pray. Denny left my side, so I was able to be alone to pray. I looked at the back of the icon again and it was very clean; the front was perfectly untouched by damage as the tears continued to flow. My mother is for real; she is crying.

I am an artist and I paint on canvas, wood, and paper. The tears are genuine; and they are forming on the front side of the painting where they should be, by the tear ducts.

Go to: EyeSmart — America for a simplified explanation of tears explained by YouTube which of course, was not available in 1994.

I stood behind the icon by myself and started to cry. I needed help so badly and I knew I was in the place God wanted me to be. I prayed and asked for a favor to receive strength and help me stop smoking cigarettes. Shortly later, Denny and I left and walked back to our car. As soon as I got inside, I lit up a cigarette and smoked it. I do not remember having any thoughts about why I did that — it just happened.

The rest of the day into the evening was a normal activity for me; I continued to smoke; however, what was once normal became excessive. I lit one cigarette after another — chain-smoking. This was way more smoking than I ever smoked; there were times I had two cigarettes lit in two different rooms. I am thankful I did not burn down the house. I remember this as though it was yesterday. I continued smoking and even had a cigarette right before I went to bed. My last prayer for this day to Mary was, “Please help me.”

Morning came and I got up and looked at the nightstand with the white ashtray saturated with the debris of cigarette ashes. Disgusting. I picked up the ashtray and threw it in the garbage. Nicotine never entered my body again; I was miraculously smoke-free for the rest of my life up to the present. I kept my lungs clean and free from smoke debris. In 2015 my heart developed Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the muscle of the heart where the muscle weakens and causes death. My first reading on the Doppler ultrasound was fourteen, zero is death. My last reading six months ago in 2022 was a reading of 50 (the normal range is 50 – 70) and I am very much alive as I write this chapter. I have been called by two cardiologists (heart specialists) “a miracle.”

I know it is my miracle given to me by the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus’ Icon as I prayed to them for help before my diagnosis which was twenty-one years later. My miracle is that I prepared my body to be able to fight this disease by leaving enough good tissue in my heart to survive and get better with the help of medicine and a defibrillator after diagnosis. I know if I had not stopped smoking when I did, I would not be alive today.

What caused me to smoke excessively the night before I quit? Did Mary and Baby Jesus prepare my body to fill itself to the capacity of nicotine saturation causing me a total mental and physical rejection of smoking ever again? Good question! All I know is I never had withdrawal symptoms, which is a miracle. Denny also quit smoking his pipe one year later with no withdrawal problem and he never returned to it.

The following paragraph is not in my book. I wrote it in this Blog as a FYI.

As Denny and I witnessed her tears streaming down the icon’s face, I was given several cotton Q-Tips which were dipped in tear and oil mix. I put them in the container I had with the roses from Paula’s casket. When we moved to Florida, I sealed them in a small plastic bag and buried them in my special spiritual garden in the backyard. I didn’t want to take it out of the area, and I left it in the earth. This is the area where we planted two baby pine trees we received from the church when Denny’s mom and dad died. I also put several of Paula’s special items in the same area under the trees. The trees were now about six feet tall. This was our rose garden of heaven’s beauty; I wanted everything momentous to go back to earth. Thank you, Mother Mary and Jesus; I love you with all my heart and soul.

Note: My writing of the experience is approved for print by Father Saba, pastor of this church.

Please visit my website, to read more Blogs I wrote and listen to Podcasts I have done during this year. Subscribe (it’s free) to receive future Blogs and Podcasts I do.

My purpose for being a guest on Podcasts is to pass on my experience of healing from the grief of losing a child. I describe how I survived the grief and emphasize important facts I wrote in my book, THIRTY; A Mother’s Spiritual Journey After Losing Her Child.

I now have over thirty years of healing, and I am still alive doing what I can to stay healthy so I can continue to help other moms and dads. I have much to do before it is my time and hopefully, it will be to the sunny gates.

God in All His Glory

~ Carole J. Sluski

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