St. Mary’s Church in Rhode Island may be a treasure trove of secrets, and she’s just started letting them slip.
The church, which went up in 1849, is best known as the locale of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding on September 12, 1953, but now it’s getting renewed attention thanks to a peculiar carving.
A woman’s face was recently uncovered during a restoration of the church’s enormous 1,674-pipe organ. And the face doesn’t appear to be just any woman’s face.
According to Reverend Kris von Maluski, it could be Mary Magdalene’s visage.
Rev. Von Maluski talked told the Associated Press that the carved woman has “got to be significant to be on that level,” referring to the fact that her image is in line with carvings of the 12 apostles.
“The organ was so massive, she was lost for a very long time,” he told the news agency.
Magdalene was known as the “apostle of the Apostles,” because, according to the New Testament, she was who Jesus appeared to first after he rose from the dead. It was Magdalene who informed the Apostles of the miracle.
The church’s mysterious face is split in half to form two profiles within St. Mary’s ― one in the right corner of the choir loft and one in the left. The church believes the carving dates back to when the structure was built. The church was designed by architect Patrick Keely, so Rev. von Maluski is reaching out to other churches he’s worked with in attempt to gather more information regarding the face.
To properly complete the restoration around this incredible discovery, the church has decided to make the new structure smaller and with “a seven-inch gap to see the face” between the organ sides and the walls, according to The Newport Daily News.
The organ will be reinstalled beginning April 18, two days after Easter Sunday.
In addition to the readjusted organ installation, Newport Daily News reports that a mold of the face is being made to be put on “permanent display to the right of the altar, along with two of the original organ pipes.”
“We have to give her a place of honor so she will never be lost to history again,” Rev.von Maluski told the publication.