Bradenton, Florida – For most of us, sitting down to a hot bowl of beef barley soup isn’t a religious experience. But for Ray Favereau of Bradenton, it was.
Monday, he brought his soup, butter and a package of Ritz crackers to the table.
After crunching some of the crackers into his soup, Favereau buttered a few more. Then, he says, he looked into the Ritz package and saw a single cracker that was cut exactly in half. The other half of the cracker, he says, was missing.
“All the crackers before and after were completely normal. None were cracked or damaged,” Favereau said.
So he took the half-cracker out of the package, and after a few minutes, looked at it again.
“I briefly saw what appeared to be a figure or silhouette. The silhouette resembled a woman looking down or bowing her head. After really looking at the cracker, I realized it appeared to be [the Virgin] Mary holding baby Jesus,” Favereau said.
And on the other side of the cracker, he says he saw the face “of the King.”
Favereau was so shocked he took pictures of the cracker and even started a website to tell his story.
Of course, there’s always someone thinking they’ve seen an image of the Virgin Mary.
In September, some members of a Miami church spotted the Holy Mother on an altar cloth.
In 2006, a Maine family saw the Virgin on their wall after their home was destroyed by fire.
The year before, crowds flocked to Sacramento, California, where a replica of Mary cradling the body of Jesus seemed to show the Virgin crying.
Heck, the Virgin Mary has even been spotted on something as unceremonious as a grilled cheese sandwich!
And many in the Bay area remember how Shepherds of Christ Ministries in Clearwater became famous in 1996, when someone noticed refection of light in the windows evoked an image of the Virgin Mary. The three window panes were later shattered by vandals.
And it’s not just Mary. In 2005, a casino paid $1,775 for a Polish dumpling with the face of Jesus.
As for Favereau, he sees the Virgin on his cracker, and after looking at the pictures he’s posted online, he’s sure you will to.
“I guess the slogan is right,” he says. “’It’s better on a Ritz!’”
Janie Porter, Tampa Bay's 10 News