Pilgrims queue to see Perth’s weeping Virgin Mary

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sep. 9, 2002

A statue of the Virgin Mary bought for $150 in Thailand is attracting pilgrims by the hundreds to a suburban household in Perth amid claims it has started to weep fragrant tears.

Devout Catholic Patty Powell, 47, bought the fibreglass statue from a religious shop in Bangkok eight years ago, and recently discovered its eyes had started to drip a rose-scented oil-like substance.

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Ms Powell has told reporters that when the statue first cried on March 19 this year, she was “overwhelmed with grief”.

“I cried the first time, it felt like my own mother was crying, it was a very humbling experience and really blew me away,” she said.

She was not sure whether it was a personal revelation she had witnessed until the statue “cried again” over the Easter period.

“I knew in my heart then what was happening and thought that maybe this was supposed to be seen by more people than just me,” she said.

It has been weeping ever since – and doing so in front of numerous witnesses including the local parish priest.

Since Easter, hundreds of people have made the pilgrimage to Ms Powell’s home in suburban Rockingham where she has set up a shrine to see the statue on display and to touch some of the oil.

“The people who come to see her are so devout and so reverent, it feels as if my life is just beginning,” she added.

Ms Powell said she did not know whether the statue would continue to weep or whether she would move it from her home but wanted to take things on a “day to day basis at this stage”.

Even the head of Perth’s Catholic church Archbishop Barry Hickey has seen the statue, but said that, as yet, no official proceedings would be made to have the its powers formally recognised by the church.

He told the local Catholic newspaper The Record that he could not say if the weeping was natural or supernatural, but the sight of Mary weeping had already had powerful spiritual effects by calling people back to God.

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