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Virgin Mary ‘weeps’ once more


ReligionNewsBlog.com • Sunday April 27, 2003

Herald Sun (Australia), Apr. 27, 2003
http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/
By Paul Colgan

The Rockingham statue of the Virgin Mary, which became the centre of world attention last year when it appeared to be “weeping” rose-scented tears, began crying again over the Easter weekend.

On Good Friday the statue wept heavily and continued to do so over the following three days, according to Patty Powell, the figurine’s owner.

Pilgrims from around the world are still flocking to the mysterious statue at her Rockingham home, which she has renamed The Holy Family House of Prayer.

Earlier this year the statue was isolated from contact with people and put in the care of Rockingham’s parish priest for a month.

It did not weep during that time, though a single tear appeared in one eye on February 9. The statue has since started weeping intermittently, according to Mrs Powell, who took photographs of fresh tears flowing from it on Good Friday.

The oily tears have been found to appear on days of religious significance in the past.

An investigation by the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth into the phenomenon last year failed to establish the source of the tears.

Announcing the results in February, Archbishop Barry Hickey said he could not conclude safely that the substance was of divine origin.

Scientists identified it as olive oil mixed with globules of rose oil.

Archbishop Hickey declined to comment further on the phenomenon this week, saying only that it was a “private matter”.

Although almost 350ml of the liquid was collected from the statue in the fortnight before the investigation began, it did not produce any tears while under observation by the investigating commission.

Under Archbishop Hickey’s orders, the statue cannot be displayed in church property in the archdiocese.

Ms Powell keeps it at a shrine in her home, which is open to the public four days a week.

The statue now has its own website, containing testimonies from people claiming to have witnessed unlikely recoveries in sick people treated with the “tears” from the statue.

One woman, whose daughter recovered from a coma after being anointed with the oil, has taken steps to convert to Catholicism.

A seriously ill Adelaide boy began recovering from a heart operation two hours after being anointed with the substance, which relatives got from cotton wool dipped in the statue’s tears.

Ms Powell now will not discuss the statue.

“I think it’s a case of the messenger getting in the way of the message,” she said.

Pilgrims from as far away as Ireland, Britain and Asia were still visiting the statue, she said.

Since Archbishop Hickey sanctioned publication of a report on the weeping statue in the diocesan newspaper last year, thousands have flocked to Rockingham to see the fibreglass image, which was bought in Bangkok in 1994.

Thousands of dollars have been raised through donations left for the statue, with the money going to help a nun working with the poor in Thailand’s capital.

The statue has its sceptics.

Perth Anglican Dean John Shepherd said in February: “If God is going to make himself known in this world, I would find it unlikely that he would do it through a statue in Rockingham.”

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