“What was the deal with the rosary and poppy?
Cave-ins were always a concern despite his efforts to support the tunnel, McDonald said. After a close call, he pinned the rosary, a gift from his sister, and the poppy up as a sign of good luck.
“It was kind of for protection. It was for good luck, a prayer,” he said. “My sister had given me the rosary and the poppy I found at Remembrance Day.””
– National Post, March 7, 2015
So, the Toronto ‘mystery tunnel’ builder speaks out.
Personally, I found the story quite intriguing on a few fronts.
First off, I’m always mesmerized by accounts of those – who may not ordinarily believe – who are drawn to Truth via the Mystical. And that’s what I believe was at play, here. Mr. McDonald, himself, recounted that trumping the fear of being buried alive would be the hanging of what is considered to be one of the most SPIRITUALLY volatile weapons at humanity’s disposal; the Rosary.
Secondly, the fact that this all took place several feet under ground is more than a little intriguing… in what has been called, by some, a subterranean “man-cave”. Sure, we could kid about the type of signal Elton would have had for his Sunday football viewing whims… or joke about the kind of snacks he’d be able to munch on between 1 and 4 pm kickoffs… or toss around the feasibility of hydraulic jack-ing a mechanically reclining La-Z-Boy into the pit’s recesses. Ah, the luxury of a portable electric generator!
But forget about all that for a moment. The whole ‘seeking protection, so I’ll hang a Rosary in a cave’ really hits home.
The birth of Our Lord in a manger, which has been described by some historians as a stable hewn from stone, portrays an image of dank surroundings… of cold… of raw earthiness.
And then, we have the resistance of 8th century Spaniards against the invading Muslims. To borrow from an account surrounding Our Lady of Covadonga –
“Covadonga is a mountainous region in the province of Asturias in the extreme north west of Spain. Following the Islamic Arab invasion of Spain in 711, Roderic, the Christian Visigoth King of Spain was defeated and killed at the Battle of Guadalete. The battle was decisive and led to the swift conquest of most of Visigothic Spain.
The remnant of the Visigoth nobility retreated to the remote mountains of northern Spain. According to texts written in northern Iberia during the ninth century, they elected in 718 AD a man named Pelayo, or Pelagius, as their leader. Pelayo’s father had been a dignitary at the court of the Visigoth King Egica. Pelayo gathered a band of warriors to resist Islamic encroachment. When in 722 the Arab commander of Spain sent an army to eliminate this resistance, the Christian army made its stand at a place of many caves known as Covadonga.
According to tradition Pelayo retreated to a cave where a hermit had secreted a statue of the Virgin Mary, saved from the Muslim conquest. He prayed to the virgin for victory. In the subsequent battle the Christians made use of the natural defences. The moorish commander fell in the battle, and his soldiers fled. This victory, considered the first of the Christian reconquista of Spain, established the independence of the Kingdom of Asturias in north west Spain.”
Underground tombs, or caves, became the first asylum for Christians. And the Cave Church of Cyprus is but one example of many, throughout history. As legend has it, villagers in Kato Deftera, near Nicosia, were drawn to a mysterious light emanating from the nearby mountains. What they stumbled upon was… incredible. Mystical.
Please work through the broken english from this Cypriot website. It’s well worth the read.
And then… AND THEN!… when you’re done, please listen to this awesome audio podcast about Christian restorations starting in caves. (The VideoSancto presentation is above, ‘cuz you can’t bang on this enough!)
Yeah, I’ve tied in quite a number of things to this ‘mystery tunnel’ story. Reaching? I don’t think so.
Hey… even if McDonald didn’t know it at the time, his hanging a Rosary on a stud a couple of metres below ground was quite profound.
‘Cuz it would seem while Elton McDonald’s quote about “good luck” belies any real connection with Catholicism, his action with the Most Holy Rosary is more Catholic than most, I’d say.