A large, imposing tree behind St. Kevin Church in the South Deering neighborhood of Chicago is causing a bit of a stir.

Within the last few days, parishioners of the quaint church have been staring at a white almost 3-D-like image they say appears to resemble the Virgin Mary.

More and more members of the congregation, as well as their friends and acquaintances, are showing up to gaze at the tree.

St. Kevin Church celebrated its 135th anniversary with a special mass June 3. It was after the mass that several of the parishioners saw the image.

"One of the women said she actually spotted the image about a year ago but never said anything," said Maria Tellez, of South Deering. Tellez said last Friday that woman asked another parishioner if he wanted to see the Virgin Mary.

Soon other members of the congregation were gathering at the tree to see what the commotion was about.

Tellez said she believes it's a sign of some sort and that the image does resemble the mother of Jesus.

"I believe it's her. She does appear in weird places," Tellez said, adding the tree is actually not far from an alley with garbage cans and railroad tracks across from it.

"With all the hate and malice going on in the world, she's here for a reason," Tellez said.

Tuesday afternoon, several members of the congregation cleaned the area around the tree and cut some of the branches covering parts of the image. Tellez said parishioners are encouraging friends to bring flowers to the area in the coming days.

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Features reporter

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.