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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > Sept/Oct 2018 > Small Town Virgin Mary ‘Miracle’: Olive Oil

Small Town Virgin Mary ‘Miracle’: Olive Oil

On Sunday May 20, 2018, a statue of Mary allegedly began weeping at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in the small town of Hobbs, in southeastern New Mexico near the Texas border. The event made national news and drew the faithful from all across the Southwest including Denver, some 600 miles away.

It’s not clear when the “tears” first appeared; it could have been moments, hours, or even days before they were noticed, since the statue is not cleaned or closely examined daily. As with Lilian Bernas, an alleged Canadian stigmatic who Joe Nickell and I investigated in 2002, the miracle was not witnessed spontaneously appearing but instead had already begun by the time attention was drawn to it. This of course does not preclude the possibility of a miracle, but it does allow for either fraud or some natural explanation. There had been an earlier Mass that day at 8:30 am, though no one noticed it at the time. Father Jose “Pepe” Segura, the pastor of the church, hadn’t noticed it because his back was facing the statue during Mass. It was only later as he was outside greeting people that someone called his attention to it and he went back inside to look.

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