You may remember the recent stories — for instance, from the Washington Post:
“Inside a Catholic church in New Mexico, a 7-foot bronze statue of the Virgin Mary appears to be “weeping,” church leaders say.
“The sculpture, known locally as Our Lady of Guadalupe, is not crying human tears. An investigator with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces said her ‘tears’ have the same chemical makeup as olive oil treated with perfume — a substance that, when blessed, would be chrism, a sacred oil used in the Catholic Church to anoint the parishioners. The rare occurrence has prompted people from all over to come for conversions, confessions and to watch the statue of the mother of God cry.
“It started on Pentecost Sunday on May 20, when parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Hobbs noticed tears streaming from the Virgin Mary’s eyes, said Judy Ronquillo, the church business manager. She said the statue continued ‘weeping’ the next day and has done so several times since.”
Why is it crying? Is there anything about its manufacture that indicated an unusual nature?
Not according to Ricardo Flores-Kastanis, an artist who helped make it. But the company that fashioned it is owned by a religious family, he told Spirit Daily, and he himself is a strong Marian advocate.
“I’ve always been very devout,” he said. “I have never seen a statue cry before in my life. From the technical point of view, I don’t know what’s happening. Bronze can’t hold liquid like that. It’s an alloy.
“My father was extremely devout — especially to Guadalupe; and the owner of the foundry is very devoted to Guadalupe, as were his mother and father,” who started it fifty years ago, making church bells “and now make bronzes for all over the world.”
But despite countless hundreds of statues, none, says Kastanis — who also creates replica textile tilmas of Guadalupe — have been known to weep (at least that they know).
He noted that Las Cruces is a poor area (Mary most often chooses the humble) and that many Mexicans there are unable to journey back across the border to visit the actual image in Mexico City due to health issues, poverty, or because they are “illegals.”
The statue found its way to New Mexico through a circuitous route. The statue was originally shipped to a small parish in Maryland (2014) but developed a small crack and was sent back to the forge in Mexico City for repair.
It was housed at the church in New Mexico en route back, starting August 8, 2017, but before continuing its journey, those at the Las Cruces area church, who admired it deeply, asked if they could purchase it.
“It was a coincidence, a total coincidence, that it arrived in Hobbs,” said Kastanis.
When asked if there is anything in the statue that could collect and release oil, the artist noted that it’s a hollow statue made from a wax mold, leaving no liquid inside. “The molecules of the metal, there’s no chemical reaction,” he said.
The statue was not painted but colored by using chemicals that interact with the bronze — a process that obviously involves no olive oil and if it did could not supply the volume noted since the lachrymation began.
The parish priest, Father Jose Segura , explained that while celebrating Mass he noticed drops emblazoned on the face of the statue.
“I approached the image of the Virgin and I first thought that someone had wet it,” he told a reporter. “I asked” who put the water on her eyes? “And everyone told me no, she’s crying, so I looked closer, they cleaned her eyes and she kept crying.”
When the diocese opened it, they found only some spider webs.
So, from August 8th, 2017 the statue adorns the church of Hobbs, a town that stands ‘in the middle of nowhere,'” noted the Associazione don Giacomo Tantardini, “And, in the middle of nowhere, the unexpected happened.”