Ireland Produces 'Holy Stump' Image of Virgin Mary

Thousands of Irish Catholics are flocking to a church to pray at a tree stump — a recently cut-down willow that many say bears the shape of the Virgin Mary.

The phenomenon at St. Mary's parish church in the village of Rathkeale in County Limerick harkens back to decades past when Catholic devotion and pilgrimages were a dominant feature of rural life in Ireland.

Some are tying the unexpected fervor now for Rathkeale's "Holy Stump" to Ireland's stunning economic decline over the past year — a shock that has some people turning back to their religious roots.