ACAPULCO, Mexico – Inhabitants of the Sinai neighborhood, in the violent Mexican municipality of Acapulco, eagerly await the results of an analysis by the Catholic Church of a statuette of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which, according to the woman who owns it, has recently “shed tears.”
The religious icon’s owner, with the same name as Our Lady followed by the family name Hernandez, told EFE on Tuesday that the first time the image “cried” was last Dec. 10.
“At noon I stood facing her at the altar and spoke with her. I finished my prayer and looked at her again, and then it was that I saw her shedding tears,” said Guadalupe, owner of the statuette for the last six or seven years.
It’s a gift God has given me, I don’t know why, I don’t know what’s behind it. But anyway, let’s wait and see,” she said.
After that, she said, the statuette wept again on Dec. 11-12, and she excitedly told a neighbor to come see it.
“I told him ‘Max, come see Our Lady. Look, I don’t know if I’m crazy. I don’t want to tell people about it so they don’t get the wrong idea,’” said Hernandez, who afterwards did begin to spread the word.
Fr. Juan Carlos Flores, who tried to help out with the matter, said that this Monday the figure was taken to the parish with jurisdiction in the case, that of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood.
“There the parish priest, Fr. Octavio Gutierrez Pantoja, who is ecclesiastical vicar of the city of Acapulco, has the authority in this case to shelter the image,” he said.
The statuette, he said, “will be under observation so we can find a coherent and even scientific explanation, if possible, for what is going on.”
“We are not going to be carried away by sentimentalism, because we could be accused of manipulating religious sentiment. First of all, we’re not going to give any opinion beforehand,” Flores said.
He said that for just under a month the image will be out of sight, and called for “common sense, for prayer,” and for everyone to wait for the results of the “analysis.”
He acknowledged that at present the church, “can neither confirm nor deny this matter.”
“Our Lady has the same heart as Jesus Christ, a heart of hope, a heart of redemption, a heart of peace, of what we need most,” he said.
For the owner for the statuette, what Our Lady wants is for people in the neighborhood to live “in harmony, as neighbors, as Mexicans.”
There, where there have been “many deaths” from the violence, today there are even “brothers and sisters from other religions who have come to see Our Lady and take her picture,” he said
One woman who came to see the figure, Fabiola Rodriguez, told EFE that she felt Our Lady “cries for her children” and wants there to be “peace on Earth.”
Peace is an understandable desire here. Guerrero state in southern Mexico is considered one of the country’s most violent regions and in 2014 was the place where 43 students disappeared in the municipality of Iguala, the most notorious crime in recent years.