A group of neighbours got an Almighty shock when a statue of Mary miraculously transformed into Jesus after a deep clean.
The grotto to “Our Lady” at Leo Fitzgerald House in Dublin has long been a focal point for residents of the tight-knit community.
But a lockdown cleaning spree at the complex this week has uncovered that it isn’t Mary at all.
The community came together to trim bushes, weed gardens and replace broken stonework in a blitz that left the area spotless.
The spring clean also included a chemical scrubbing of the statue they thought represented Holy Mary, Dublin Live reports.
But as the years of grime were washed away, the neighbours realised it wasn’t the Blessed Virgin, but her immaculately conceived son Jesus.
Generations of locals have used the spot to meet before going on first dates, or just to chat.
Resident Louise Dowdall told Dublin Live that she and her neighbours had a great laugh over what they’ve now coined the ‘Immaculate Deception’.
She said: “It’s gas. It’s not Mary at all – it’s actually her son Jesus. We had a good laugh at it. For years everyone thought it was Mary, even the older folks who’ve been here for generations.
“Everyone has had a good laugh about it – when I look at it now, it’s hard to believe we all thought it was Mary for all these years.”
She said that the statue has been located at the complex for as long as 60 years – but even older generations of residents always believed the relic to represent Joseph’s wife and not his only son.
She added: “Even the older residents of the flats all thought it was Mary – everyone has done for years. Everyone’s saying they can’t believe they thought he was Mary for so long.”
Louise laughed that the effigy’s new identity had caused confusion, with visitors being told to meet at Mary left confused when they couldn’t find any such idol anywhere in the complex.
“People often use the statue as a meeting point,” she explained, before laughing at the confusion the heavenly identity change had caused.
“A chap earlier on was saying that he was meant to meet someone and he said, ‘I’m around at the Mary statue,’ and people are saying to him saying, there is no Mary statue.
“People are getting confused, thinking they’re in the wrong place altogether.
“I don’t know how nobody ever noticed it to be fair. He even has the sacred heart and everything – it’s plainly Jesus. It’s very funny.”