STATUE WEEPS OIL

(Investigator 90, 2003 May)


Tears from a fibre-glass Virgin Mary in Western Australia consist of olive oil scented with rose oil.

New Idea magazine says, "As the New Idea team watched for more than an hour, the tears flowed down and collected in a small pool on a china platter." (Mayman, 2002)

Up to 3,000 people per week viewed the statue in Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church at Rockingham south of Perth and filed past or stopped to pray.

The statue’s owner Patty Powell, 47, bought it in a Bangkok shop in 1994 for  $150. She claimed the statue first wept in March 2002 during the Feast of Saint Joseph. The Madonna wept again on Good Friday and on further occasions afterwards.

Examination by West Australian scientists in September failed to explain the source of the tears.

Rob Hart, X-ray expert of Curtin University, did not find a cavity or fluid inside the statue.

Doug Clarke, chemist of Murdoch University, identified the tears as a vegetable oil (probably olive oil) mixed with rosebud oil. He said a CAT scan would show whether the statue had a source of oil in it but Powell, at the time, refused further tests. (Kapelle, 2002)

Channel 7 (February 26, 2003) reported a CT scan was done and showed part of the statue as hollow. The Archbishop, Barry Hickey, did not declare the tears a miracle because other explanations could not be ruled out.

Other weeping Madonnas are known in other countries and other times. For example, in his biography of Peter the Great (1672-1725) Robert Massie describes an event in 1720:

A statue of the Virgin Mary in St. Petersburg regularly wept tears. Peter had the statue brought to his palace where he examined it.

He found tiny holes in the corners of the eyes. Removing the cloth behind the head exposed a small cavity with some congealed (solidified) oil inside it.

The oil remained congealed at low temperatures. However, when the statue was surrounded by lighted candles the warming air slowly melted the oil and "tears" flowed. (Woolcock, 1987)



Kapelle, L. The Advertiser, September 14, 2002, p. 37.
Mayman, J. New Idea, October 12, 2002, pp. 16-17.
Woolcock, P. The Southern Skeptic, 1987, Number 16.
(BS)


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