The hooded figure is seen holding her arms out-stretched in a cradling action sheltered beneath rocks at Newquay's Western Beach, Cornwall.
Caroline and Stephen Gray were walking along the coastline when they stopped to pose for a series of holiday snaps.
But Caroline, 38, was speechless when the couple returned home and studied the digital camera to spot a clear image of the Virgin Mary, which she insists was not present when she took the picture.
And now the receptionist, from Chester, Cheshire, believes the photo could spark a rush of worshippers to flock to the coastal resort to catch a glimpse of the religious icon.
She said: ''There was nothing on the screen when I took the original photograph. Then when we got home the image of the Virgin Mary had appeared.
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