Weeping Statues

The phenomenon of weeping or crying religious statues is one of the oldest and most stereotypical images of holy powers in Catholicism. Ireland, South America and southern Europe all have well documented accounts of Virgin Mary (Madonna) figurines seeping strange liquids. And, whilst sceptics believe there are good reasons to doubt the validity of such occurrences, to the local populations they are often only explainable under the term ‘miracle’. In November 1992, a six-inch-high, blue and white porcelain statue of the Virgin Mary began weeping blood in Santiago, Chile. The figurine, which belonged to a local housewife, became an attraction for local people in the La Cisterna district and was even tested by Chilean police. Doctors at the Santiago coroner’s office discovered that the liquid produced at the statue’s eyes was type O-4 human blood.

There was another story from Sicily. It was like thousands of other plaster Madonnas manufactured at a plant in Sicily and sold throughout the country for a few lira. This particular Madonna was sold as a wedding present from a friend who decided that such a statue would be an appropriate gift for Antionetta and Angelo Iannusco, who were married in Syracuse, Sicily, in the spring of 1953.

Then, on the morning of August 29, 1953, as Antionetta prayed devoutly to the Blessed Mother to grant her surcease from the pains of her pregnancy, the statue began to weep. At first her mother-in-law and sister-in-law were skeptical, but then they witnessed a virtual torrent of tears flowing from the eyes of the plaster Madonna. Angelo, who prided himself on his atheistic philosophy and communistic politics, became so moved by the apparent supernatural manifestation that he left the Communist Party and assisted the priest as he said mass over the weeping Madonna. Doubting neighbors, cynical journalists, and rational, scientific investigators were baffled by the phenomenon of the weeping statue in the Iannusco household. When news of the miracle Madonna spread throughout Italy, thousands of people hurried to view it for themselves.

The southeastern Sicilian community’s hotels were quickly swamped with requests for accommodation. Before the Iannusco’s home could be crushed by the onslaught of curious pilgrims, the Syracuse Police Department agreed to remove the little Madonna to their headquarters for safekeeping. As the squad car moved through the streets, a patrolman carefully held the statue on his lap. Soon his jacket was drenched with tears. A skeptical detective caught several tears in a chemist’s vial and, without identifying the liquid, sent the specimen to a police laboratory for analysis. The next morning the irritated director of the lab berated him for wasting his time analyzing such substances as human tears. Hardly any time passed before the crippled, the lame, and the ill from all over Italy were soon gathering before the weeping Madonna.

The tears were caught on a cloth and wiped on the bodies of the afflicted. A middle-aged man recovered the use of a crippled arm. A three-year-old girl stricken with polio was able to discard the stainless steel braces that had encased her twisted legs. An 18-year-old girl who had been struck dumb 11 years before began to speak. Hundreds of others claimed to have received a healing blessing from the tears of the little Madonna. The Madonna’s tears ceased to flow on the fourth day of the phenomenon, but exactly one month later, the statue was carried through the streets of Syracuse at the head of a procession of 30,000 people.

Since that day, thousands of pilgrims have flocked to the shrine of the little Madonna, including more than a hundred bishops and archbishops and several cardinals. Her glassed-wall case, capped with a bronze cross, is surrounded by dozens of crutches and braces that have been left there as silent testimony of hundreds of miracle healings. Hopeful that their city would become known as the “Italian Lourdes,” the citizens of Syracuse purchased a 12-acre site and constructed a lattice-type pagoda shrine for the Madonna. Large ramps lead up to the entrance and the 400-foot high walls. Thirty-six small chapels surround the shrine and await the devout. In a message to the Sicilians in 1958, Pope Pius XII (1876–1958) said: “So ardent are the people of Sicily in their devotion to Mary that who would marvel if she had chosen the illustrious city of Syracuse to give a sign of her grace?”

Statue of the Virgin Mary crying tears of blood in Sacramento 2005

While the skeptical explain weeping statues and icons of the Madonna, Jesus (c. 6 B.C.E.–c. 30 C.E.), or other holy figures as bizarre moisture condensation at best and as outright fraud at the worst, throughout the world and all of Roman Catholic Christendom, the ordinary statues or paintings become highly venerated objects of faith. As the old saying goes, “For those who believe, no explanation is needed. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”

Just before Christmas in 1996, a painting of Jesus was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses to be weeping red tears. This painting was no ordinary icon, for it hangs in the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity, above the spot where Christian tradition maintains Jesus was born. A Muslim cleaning lady was the first to see a light that came from the painting just prior to the tears flowing from the eyes of Jesus. Since her sighting, thousands of Christians of all denominations, along with many Jews and Muslims, have witnessed the tears.

Among other recent manifestations of weeping statues and icons are the following: Rooty Hill, near Sydney, Australia: since 1994, tears have streamed from the eyes of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in a small, private home. Grangecon, Ireland: three weeks after a retired postmaster and her daughter noticed tears and drops of blood tricking from the eye of a statue of the Madonna one day in 1994, 3,000 visitors from all over the world had arrived to witness the phenomenon for themselves.

A similar event happened in the small village of Mura, 35 miles north of Barcelona in Spain. Outside the village church a twofoot- high marble statue of the Virgin Mary had been set on a seven-foot-high pedestal. In March 1998, the local priest, Luis Costa, discovered it was crying tears of blood. Mura residents were convinced the phenomenon was genuine. The statue had not been tampered with, and further investigation revealed the blood was emanating from the figure in a particularly human way.

A man named Fabio Gregori of Civitavecchia, near Rome, became extremely devout after surviving an automobile crash in 1993. To aid in his devotions, his priest Father Pablo gave him a 17-inch replica of the statue of the Madonna that now stands in Medjugorje, Bosnia. Father Pablo blessed the statuette with holy water and told Gregori that Mary would be his guardian. Reverently, Gregori placed the image in a niche in the backyard grotto that he had created for his family’s prayers.

On February 2, 1995, Gregori and his wife were getting ready to attend church when their daughter ran into the house shouting that the statue was crying tears of blood. The statue of Mother Mary wept tears of blood for the next four days. Soon the grotto was overrun by thousands people. Many soaked handkerchiefs in the blood, and some claimed that they were healed of their afflictions after wiping the blood on their bodies. When word of the miracle reached Bishop Girolamo Grillo, he requested that the statue be turned over to the church for scientific examination. Gregori willingly complied, and the commission assembled by Bishop Grillo conducted an extensive examination of the statue, which included X-rays and a CAT scan. Bishop Grillo admitted his initial skepticism, but when the commission found no evidence of trickery and determined that the tears were composed of human blood, he had changed his mind. After the examination, the tears of blood ceased.

But thousands of pilgrims continued to seek healing and inspiration from the statuette, and it was placed in the St. Agostino church in Pantano, near Civitavecchia. Bishop Grillo’s conversion to the authenticity of the weeping Madonna did little to quiet the accusations of fraud that had begun to arise from skeptics. Amid the controversy, Fabio Gregori and his family were named often as the most likely instigators of the deception. In spite of his denials, skeptics continued their investigations of the weeping Madonna. Later, a DNA examination of the bloodstains revealed that they were from a male, and researchers argued that if the tears were the Madonna’s blood, they should have come from a female. Gregori was suspected of placing drops of his own blood upon the statuette.

Bishop Grillo said it had bled when it was far away from Gregori; he stated that the male blood was Jesus’, not Mother Mary’s, which resulted in the critics accusing Bishop Grillo of perpetrating a “pious fraud.” Although it will perhaps remain a subject of controversy, each year the statuette attracts thousands of pilgrims and is said to be responsible for scores of miracles.

Sceptics are quick to dismiss such stories. Some promote fanciful theories that water is soaked up by the base of the statues, mixes with red clay inside them, and then appears through the head as blood. Others are convinced these instances have been created through the use of a simple magic trick. Certainly, it is true that the actual point when blood appears on such statues is rarely witnessed.

By diverting people’s attention, it is easy to interfere with the figurines unnoticed. But these explanations fail to alter the effect on a credulous public. For the faithful, who point to dozens of dramatic healings, hundreds of mystical experiences, and thousands of religious conversions as their evidence that something supernatural is occurring around these icons, such phenomena as the weeping madonnas are likely to be interpreted as physical signs that the spiritual presence of the holy figure is with them. Although it is important to discover the truth, this type of religious mysticism is a pleasant way to remind us that there are still some things in life that we just can’t explain.

(Source : Encyclopedia of Unusual and Unexplained Things; 100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy)
(Pics source : 1st pic taken from http://www.mcn.org/1/Miracles/images/BLEEDINGSTAT.jpg ; 2nd pic taken from http://www.freewebs.com/religion_lms/lfkjf.jpg)


Carlos said...

Hi! Care to x-link? I have added you already in my list. Have a nice day! http://carlos-ideas.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

beneran tuh nagis darah?...
kurang percaya nih...

RiP666 said...

masak seh bro??
jangan2 air mancur tuh...kan keren kluar dari mata (just kidding ^^)

Anonymous said...

(Carlos) ok,done adding ur link.Thanx

(@Coy) wah gak tau ya,bener apa nggak?

(RIP666) the truth is out there

imelda said...

hi how are you?

Anonymous said...

(Imelda) Hi,i'm fine. Thanx for asking me. Hope u're fine too

Anonymous said...

Here are more photos of 3 weeping statues


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