Artist can't explain Virgin Mary statue's tears | KOB 4
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Artist can't explain Virgin Mary statue's tears

Casey Torres
May 30, 2018 08:00 AM

HOBBS, N.M – It's been nearly two weeks since parishioners at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church claim to have seen the statue of the Virgin Mary crying during Sunday mass. Believers call it a miracle, but the Diocese of Las Cruces said it will have to look into what could have caused the tears before declaring it a miracle.

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Last week, Deacon Jim Winder with the Diocese of Las Cruces said the investigation could take years to reach a possible conclusion.

Winder said there are three levels of the probe. The first is to collect samples from the statue that will be tested for DNA and to determine what the oil-like substance (tears) is. The other two levels are interviewing witnesses and researching the origin of the statue.

Ricardo Flores-Kaspanis is one of the artists who helped make the statue. He is the co-owner of Michel Leal and Flores LLC. Flores-Kaspanis oversees the foundry in the United States and the owner, German Michel, is in charge of the business in Mexico City, where the statue was made in 2013.

Flores-Kaspanis said the statue was shipped out to a small parish in Maryland in 2014, but got a small crack after two or three years. Because most workers couldn't travel to Maryland to fix the crack, the statue was to be taken back to Mexico City for repairs.

According to Flores-Kaspanis, the statue was taken to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Hobbs on Aug. 8, 2017 before continuing its journey, but the church admired the statue so much that they asked if they could buy it.

"It was a coincidence, a total coincidence that it arrived in Hobbs," he said. "And then one night they call me. 'Hey, does she need to go back? Can we keep her?'"

Flores-Kaspanis said that the idea of the business is to bring the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the United States so that people who can't go back home and visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City can pray here like they did before.

When asked if there could be anything inside the statue that could release an oil-like substance, he said no, the statue is hollow. He said his team has made hundreds of statues with the same process and hasn't heard of this happening before.

"They're all made with the technology, which is lost-wax technology. You make a mold and then the heart of the statue is made of wax. And when you pour the metal in, the wax disappears. Then the metal hardens up and that’s how we get a hollow figure," he said.

He said there can also be no chemical reaction inside the statue that could create the substance.

"There’s no chemical reaction because any liquid can’t be contained inside the structure. The molecules of the metal, there's no chemical reaction," he said.

He added that the statue was not painted.

"It's called a patina and it's done with the natural chemical reaction of the metal, so it’s not paint," he said. "You put chemicals on and it turns green, brown and the shiny part has no patina, it’s just the bronze itself."

Flores-Kaspanis says this process will also not create an oil-like substance.

He said the Diocese of Las Cruces has not contacted him but is willing to talk to them and anyone that has questions about the technical aspect of the statue. KOB sent his information to Winder but the deacon did not respond.

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Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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