The tears from a statue of the Virgin Mary that is apparently weeping are composed of olive oil, chemical analysis has concluded. However, diocesan authorities have yet to establish where the oil is coming from.
The Diocese of Las Cruces has been investigating that statue at Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Hobbs, New Mexico since May, when visitors reported seeing a liquid flowing from its eyes.
Bishop Oscar Cantu told Las Cruces Sun-News that a sample of the fluid had been sent of scientific analysis. “And we determined it was olive oil, a scented olive oil,” he said.
“Some of the witnesses claimed it smelled of roses, so something similar to the oil I bless and consecrate each year that we use for baptism, for confirmations and for ordination of the priests,” he added.
Bishop Cantu said the diocese was still investigating where the oil had come from.
“We examined the interior of the hollow statue. There’s nothing on the interior that’s not supposed to be there, except for cobwebs. So we took pictures; we examined it,” he said.
The bishop added that officials had contacted the statue’s manufacturers to see if any fluid or wax could have remained inside the statue after it was cast.
“In that process, they assured us there would be no possibility of any moisture to remain in the bronze,” he said.
Bishop Cantu said that even if the phenomenon is a hoax “we are not sure how it would be done, physically.”
“It is hardened bronze. We’ve examined the interior, and there’s nothing on the interior,” he added.
If the Church concludes that it is a miracle, it must then decide whether it is from God or an evil spirit, the bishop said. They will decide that based on the “fruits” of the phenomenon.
“I’ve read most of those written testimonies, and they are stories of tremendous faith, people who have been dealing with terrible suffering in their lives and have felt a tremendous spiritual consolation that Mary walks with us in our tears,” Bishop Cantu said.
“I can’t help but think of my own shedding of tears for the poor people who come to our border, fleeing life-threatening situations. The tears of those children who are separated from their parents. There are many reasons we would shed tears, and God stands with us in those moments.”