Did the Virgin Mary make an appearance in Fall River on Sunday night?

Michelle DeMelo was headed home from a function at her church June 5. She had spent the better part of the afternoon enjoying a Pentecost Sunday feast at Espirito Santo Church on Alden Street.

"On our way home, we saw the fire," DeMelo said.

Smoke was coming from the home directly across from the church. DeMelo translated for an elderly Portuguese woman in her 90s who was stuck on the first floor.

"Someone had run into the fire and pulled her out," DeMelo said.

As the crowd gathered in front of the burning home, people began to notice something strange.

"The whole home was completely up in flames, but we noticed that the picture on the front of the house wasn't burning," DeMelo said.  "For some reason, the picture was protected from the heat and the fire. The picture and the flags were left untouched."

Courtesy of Michelle DeMelo
Courtesy of Michelle DeMelo

At first, DeMelo and others at the scene thought they were looking at a picture of the Virgin Mary.

It turns out the image was of another holy figure.

"The image is Salvador do Mundo, my favorite saint," Kelly Viera said.

Salvador do Mundo is Portuguese for "Savior of the World."

Since the fire on Sunday night, the picture has been taken down from the front of the house.

"It was crazy," DeMelo said. "It was one of those situations where, regardless of what life throws at you, there is always a higher power watching over us. For somebody who is religious like me, it was definitely a sign."

DeMelo is heading up a clothing collection at Espirito Santo for the displaced families.  She said her group is trying to collect clothing and other household necessities, including:

  • Men's pants, size 38
  • Extra-large men's shirts
  • Clothing for a 13-year-old boy, size 32/33 pants, medium shirts, shoe size 9.5
  • Women's size medium/large, shoe size 8

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