Many are claiming to have witnessed a miracle in a New Mexico church after a statue of the Virgin Mary purportedly began weeping “scented oil.”
The statue is located at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Hobbs. Following the extraordinary occurrence, the church announced a chemical analysis of the figure had been completed and the liquid was determined to be a rose-scented olive oil.
“Some of the witnesses claimed it smelled of roses,” Bishop Oscar Cantu, of the diocese, told the Las Cruces Sun News. “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.”
Church officials are still investigating the internal structure of the statue to ascertain whether there was a natural source for the oil, or whether it was indeed a miraculous occurrence.
The diocese added that it examined the interior of the statue but found nothing out of the ordinary.
“There’s nothing on the interior that’s not supposed to be there, except for cobwebs,” Bishop Cantu added. “So we took pictures; we examined it.”
He also noted that it was unlikely to be a hoax due to immense difficulty of inserting oil through the solid metal walls of the figure. “Even if it were [a hoax], we are not sure how it would be done, physically. Because it is hardened bronze. We’ve examined the interior, and there’s nothing on the interior,” he said.
Many of those in attendance when the extraordinary event took place have reported “beautiful, positive fruits” since their touching the oil. But church officials explained that if it is confirmed to be a miraculous occurrence, they must determine whether it was God or an evil spirit.
“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,” Cantu told the Sun News.
“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,” he added.
Rudy Ronquillo, the business manager for the church, said it’s “something extraordinary” for the church’s priest, Reverend Jose Segura.
“He has no words for it,” Ronquillo said.
So who will determine whether this was a genuine miracle? Bishop Cantu said that while he would certainly “have a say,” he’d “defer to the wisdom of Pope Francis” on the matter.