Jeanne's Bliss Blog

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Crowds Flock to See Mary's Tears

From Today's Windsor Star

A statue of the Virgin Mary said to weep tears of healing oil is attracting the worship of hundreds of Catholics, raising the ire of neighbours and drawing the attention of city bureaucrats.

Located in the front yard of a Garvey Crescent home, the statue is said to smile during the day and weep tears of oil at night. Homeowner Fadia Ibrahim calls the supposed happenings a "miracle," and believes the statue is delivering a message. "I think it's a work of God and she wants the people to go back to church," said Ibrahim, 48.

For the past three months, Catholics who have heard of the statue's supposed powers have been gathering at the home nightly to pray. The grass on the front lawn has been trampled into the soil by worshippers, and the street -- located in a normally quiet area -- is constantly lined with cars that have stopped, slowed or parked so residents can catch a glimpse of the Madonna.

Janet Mendez, 37, took her two young children to take a look. "We're a very faith-filled family, so we thought we would come over and look at what is taking place this evening, just for our own eyes."

She said she wasn't disappointed. "Seeing is believing, and definitely we do see her weeping -- weeping for the world, weeping because there's no love left in this world."

Pam Martin, 43, said she was in awe of the statue. "This is just incredible," she said. "I watch the news and I can't help but be saddened by what I see, but how much more for this woman? This is a woman who watched her own son die on a cross. Now she's weeping for us because we're killing this world."

Ibrahim's son, Shady, said while the statue normally seems serene or happy during the day, the statue was "weeping" all day Monday. Worshippers say "tears" are visible on the face and hands of the statue, and can often be seen dripping from the Virgin Mary's chin.

Shady speculated that the statue had begun to weep during the day Monday because worshippers hadn't gathered the previous evening -- Halloween night -- to pray at her feet.

On Monday evening, a crowd of more than 100 congregated on the front lawn of the house to say the rosary.

But, while believers are calling it a miracle, neighbours are calling it a nuisance.

One neighbour who was upset with the congestion on the street reported his concern to the city. The municipality's building department has now issued an order to the homeowners to remove the statue by Nov. 19, citing building code violations and a lack of a building permit.

The 1.5-metre statue is encased in an addition to the front of the house, complete with shingles on the roof of the enclosure and a flower garden along the base.

Ibrahim said if the city doesn't reverse its decision, she will comply with the order. "I don't have a choice but to remove the statue." If she is forced to remove the addition to her house, she said, she'd consider moving the statue of the Madonna to a church.

Ibrahim said she began receiving messages from the Virgin Mary about two years ago. She said she was at a nearby church when a cross and the letter M appeared in blood on her leg during mass. She said the Virgin has since inscribed other messages on her body and has even spoken to her, telling her that people must invigorate their faith and go to church.

After news of her supposed communication with the Virgin Mary spread in the Catholic community, supporters in Detroit donated the statue -- believed to have come from Los Angeles -- as well as the money to construct the enclosure.

While Ibrahim recounted her story in front of a handful of worshippers Monday, some in the small crowd began to gasp and point at Ibrahim's left hand, which was glistening with moisture that appeared oily. Ibrahim said her hands often secrete the healing oil, especially when she is speaking about the Virgin Mary.

As Ibrahim moved around the circle, marking a cross on the forehead of each spectator, several in the crowd began to weep. "When she touched me, I just felt overwhelmed and everything seemed to come out," said Rosanne Paquette. "I felt this warmth, and it was unbelievable."

Carmela Montilla, who prays in front of the statue every night, credits its healing powers with curing her 17-year-old granddaughter's leukemia. Montilla said after Ibrahim anointed the sick woman with oil, her blood counts immediately returned to a normal level and the girl was able to go to school again. "She just put the oil on her, prayed for her.... The doctor said her blood, everything was normal."

Worshippers said it would be "outrageous" if the Ibrahim family were forced to remove the statue. "We come, we pray, and we say goodnight everybody, and that's it. We go home," said Maria Desimini. "We're not disturbing nobody."

Montilla said the statue's supposed powers are a blessing for Windsor. "That's the best thing that can happen to Windsor," she said. "It's a miracle. We need this."

© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star

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