Heaven-sent: A section of the barbecue cover thrown on a pile of chairs at the Van Dartel’s Alstonvale home seems to have taken the form of the face of Jesus.
Heaven-sent: A section of the barbecue cover thrown on a pile of chairs at the Van Dartel’s Alstonvale home seems to have taken the form of the face of Jesus. Jacklyn Wagner

Face of Jesus in BBQ cover

EASTER, the face of Jesus and one family’s hardships are all too coincidental for Alstonvale resident Louise Van Dartel.

Over the weekend Mrs Van Dartel stared out the kitchen window to see the face of Jesus appear in the scrunched up barbecue cover lying on top of her outdoor furniture.

The face of Jesus is shaped by the creases, shadows and stains on the cover and comes not only in sync with this religious weekend but at a time when Mrs Dartel and her family are recovering from a devastating house fire.

Two years ago the Van Dartel family lost everything in a house fire and only just finished rebuilding in October last year after months of grief.

Now this holy face has appeared in the back yard and it’s something Mrs Van Dartel cannot ignore.

“I was standing in the kitchen having a drink of water and there it was staring me in the face,” the mother-of-two said.

“I like to think we are protected and things are finally going to turn around. I can’t ignore a sign like that.

“The whole family picked it straight away and we all went a bit tingly.

“I’m not one who believes in coincidences,” she said.

The family celebrated their new house by holding a barbecue in December where the cover came off and was chucked aside until Theo Van Dartel moved the cover onto the outdoor furniture last week where it still sits.

Mrs Van Dartel calls herself a ‘spiritual rather than a religious person’ but hopes the mysterious face is a sign of blessings to come.

As for now, the family is unsure and somewhat unnerved by what to do with the holy barbecue cover.

“I don’t think I can move it,” she said.

“Sometimes I have a moment and bring myself back to earth and think it’s just a barbecue cover. But I can’t bring myself to move it.

“I can’t stop looking at it and I think it is a comfort, like something is watching over us.

The fact that the face coincides with Easter weekend is something Mrs Van Dartel calls ‘a spooky coincidence.’

Religious images in unusual objects is something that has been both contested and exploited worldwide.

In 2004, a piece of toast depicting the face of Virgin Mary sold for $28 000 on Ebay and in 2007 a stain on a American garage floor sold for more than $1500 on Ebay

Despite the mania surrounding these religious artefacts, self-proclaimed ‘healthy sceptic’ and Alstonville priest Father Frank Mulcahy dismisses the religious value.

“I don’t believe in them, that is not the way god works,” Father Mulcahy said.

“It is hard enough to read a scripture let alone interpret things like this. Things like this get mixed up sometimes.”



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