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Friday, July 7, 2006

Hugging a saint

MARLBOROUGH

She's back for more hugs.

Amma "The Hugging Saint" will return to the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlborough on July 18-24.

Last year, thousands took numbers and waited for hours in the center to hug the South Indian mystic. Followers say her hugs -- usually accompanied with a shower of flower petals -- transmit her healing power.

She has great endurance, too. During last year's visit, she embraced more than 3,000 people in a single day.

The first day of her visit is free and open to the public; the two-day private retreat that follows costs money. Proceeds support Amma's charitable causes. Last year she donated a million dollars to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. That's a lot of hugs.

-- Meg Woolhouse

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