PERTH, Australia (AP) — A statue of the Virgin Mary that has been drawing crowds since 2002 when it apparently began weeping rose-scented tears has started crying again, in the week before Easter, its owner said Sunday.
Patty Powell, who bought the statue 10 years ago in Bangkok, said it started shedding tears again on Palm Sunday.
“I had no idea it was going to happen, but like all of this, I take whatever I am given,” Powell said. “I just accept it for what it is, but yes, I am surprised.”
Powell, from the Western Australia state capital, Perth, began displaying the statue at a local Catholic church in 2002.
However the city’s Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey ordered her to remove it from the church after an analysis of the “tears” found they were a mixture of vegetable oil and rose oil.
“It is therefore my rightful duty as Archbishop of Perth, for the correct guidance of the people of God, to say that the case for a miraculous happening has not been proved,” he said.
That ruling did not stop thousands of people flocking to see the statue, which is now on display four days a week at Powell’s home, renamed the Holy Family House of Prayer, where she has built a shrine for the weeping figurine.