Weeping Statues

Weeping Statues

Just last week a local news station featured a story about a statue of the Blessed Mother that appeared to weep. I had some familiarity with the location, and I was especially intrigued to hear one account suggest that the weeping began after a rosary belonging to one of our authors, Fr. Jim Willig, was placed in the statue’s hands.

I confess to loving all that is particular about the Catholic Church. I love the theology, the hierarchy, the architecture, but also the relics, the incorrupt saints, and, yes, weeping statues. Even though I work for a Catholic organization, I’m somewhat in the minority on this. While some of my more skeptical coworkers expressed doubt (one even suggested that someone must have a leaky roof), I was only too willing to believe.

Before you imagine me gullible, let me ask this: If you had not been raised in the Christian faith, if you were hearing the story of Jesus for the first time, would you believe it? Could you sit in traffic at the end of a long day and imagine the eternal God having any interest in our tiny human lives? Could you imagine God caring about us individually? Could you imagine God loving us? Becoming one of us? Dying for us?

I can think of about thirty different ways to make a statue weep, but I can’t think of a single rational explanation for Christianity. So, am I too easily duped? Or can I convince anyone that pretty much everything about our lives is an incomparable miracle for which the only reasonable response is gratitude?Lessons From the School of Suffering

I’d love to know what you think about what some call the “creepy, crawly underside” of Catholicism. Enhancement to the faith? Distraction? Embarrassment?

And, whether you’re a true believer or would just like to hedge your bets, check out Lessons From the School of Suffering by Fr. Jim. I don’t know if the story of what he learned while dying of renal cell cancer made Mary cry, but it sure did a number on me.

Photo of Our Lady, Queen of Reading taken by Katie Carroll


About the Author

Kathleen M. Carroll is the managing editor for the book department at Franciscan Media. She loves reading, gardening, animals, babies, baby animals, and extreme recycling. She is the stay-away-from-home mother to four really good-looking children. And no, she will not read your manuscript.
  • Sandyhinesly

    Talking about weeping statues makes our faith sound like some crack-pot’s beliefs. It drags down the solid base we have and I don’t believe it for a minute.

    • Katie Carroll

      Thanks for the comment, Sandy! Yes, that’s always the danger, isn’t it? There must be a happy medium between using the brains God gave us and still being able to experience wonder at the marvels all around us. I’m still working on it…

    • Katie

      Hi Sandy!

      Thanks for the comment! Yes, that’s always the danger–if we seem too ready to believe in less important things, it might make the great truths of the faith seem less worthy of belief. I definitely struggle with that.

  • Susan K Rowland

    Great blog post, Katie. And I love your bio, too, especially the last sentence. I’m a convert to Catholicism, so I, too, have had my doubts about some of the more ‘extreme’ Catholic stuff (like weeping statues). Still, I know it could be a true miracle; I’ve experienced enough in my time to know God cannot be limited and is always breaking into our mundane lives to give us hints of glory, of a world beyond what we experience when stopped in traffic. Good thoughts, Katie.
    Susan K Rowland (a St Anthony Messenger author)

    • Katie Carroll

      Thanks, Susan!

    • Katie

      Thanks for the comment, Susan!

  • belivebutnotsee

    I have no trouble with believing in “signs” but it is also acceptable to have faith without
    having interest in them.

    • Katie Carroll

      Hi Ron! I agree completely–“Blessed are those who do not see, and yet believe.” I’m just trying to remember the miraculous in the everyday. Thanks for the comment!

    • Katie

      Amen! Thanks for the comment!

  • Jimmyk

    “So, am I too easily duped?” Yes.

    • Katie Carroll

      You’re probably right, Jimmy, but I’m in good company: “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped” (Jeremiah 20:7). Thanks for keeping me honest!

    • Katie

      Hi Jimmy!

      You’re probably right, but I’m in good company: “You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped” (Jeremiah 20:7). Thanks for the comment!

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  • Theresefuery

    Katie, I, too, believe in the weeping statues of Our Lady. We have one here in Australia — Our Lady of Rockingham, a town in Western Australia. I have only just discovered this. We must think of the reason why Our Lady is weeping– well, the reason is obvious when we look at the state of the world, and as our Mother she weeps for Her children as we earthly mothers do when our own children are ill or in trouble. She is truly a loving Mother. June Therese.

    • Katie Carroll

      Thanks for the comment, June! As a mother, I know I’m sometimes grateful I can’t always see what my kids are doing (I’d be crying, too), but it’s nice to feel someone is keeping an eye on things.

    • Katie

      Hi Therese! Thanks for the comment! As a mother, I know I’m glad I can’t see everything my children are doing all the time–I’d weep, too.

  • Monnaleeyounger

    I believe! Everything you mentioned believing in our Catholic faith, I too believe! I also read Fr. Jim Willig’s book, Lessions From the School of Suffering and when I find someone that is truly suffering I purchage another copy of the book and give it to them. It had helped me and many other people getting through their suffering. I was a non Catholic and when I was about 8 years old I saw the movie, Our Lady of Fatima and I believe that made a deep impressions on me at that time and led me into the Catholic church. God is good! Again, I do believe in miracles and our heavenly mother crying as you described. I can see no reason why she is not crying for her children (all of us). Excellent blog. Thank you!

    • Katie Carroll

      Thanks, Monna! I had the privilege of meeting Fr. Jim in his last days–his faith was a great inspiration to me.

    • Katie

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad you like Fr. Jim’s book. I had a chance to meet with him in his last days and he was truly a man of great faith.

  • Jennifer

    One of my favorite blog posts ever! You are such a good writer, and so very right! Why don’t we believe more in miracles, when that’s exactly what our existence is?

    • Katie

      Thanks for the comment, Jennifer!

  • Homefan

    Katie- Gods love is all about the mystical realm of plunging into the belief of Divine Providence. Believing in the powers of intercessory prayer through a Patron Saint,and the Blessed Mother are given to us in and through the gospels . Christ did say “behold your Mother” its all apart of faithfully diving into full abandonment, in investing ourselves in something stronger than ourselves. God loved us without being loved. Have no fear , believers whom believe in the mystical beauty of our Catholic faith are not being duped, its the non believers whom are being duped. :) Love what God loves, He loved the saints and sinners , he shared His company on earth as the Lamb of God, and I believe this is why we delight in such a humble, beautiful, caring God. Relics, weeping statues, incorrupt bodies, and the holiness of the Eucharist !

    • Katie Carroll

      Thanks for the comment, Homefan!

    • Katie

      Thanks for the comment! I definitely rely on the intercession of Our Lady.

  • Jmtheboat

    I too love those things about the Catholic and also the Orthodox Church. Coming from a Baptist background the first time I encountered icons I was uncertain what to think. It took a while to process. Actually the first encounter of such things was a weeping statue of Mary when I accompanied my best friend to a Marian conference just after being disabled in an accident. On the flight back home I told him that I believed what the church said about Mary was true. I just felt it at my center. Recently I attended an Orthodox service where a weeping icon of the Theotokos was on tour. The church lingered heavy with the sweetness of Myhrr. I took some of the oil home on cotton swabs. How could this simple icon continue pouring out oil? I’ve found that my interaction with icons and such is really a cultivation of trust. Something happens when I’m in their presence that encourages me to just meet them as I would anyone. It’s because I know that they represent a reality that otherwise I probably wouldn’t tune into. In that sense I can see them as the windows they are.

    • Katie

      Thanks for the comment! I think there is something about sacramentals that communicates some of the deep mystery of the faith, but I know they can be trivialized, too. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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    Katie Your post has become too old but still I want to add here that you are right. Statue may weep. Its all about the faith. Some of us claim to be believers but we are not in true sense. This becomes prominent when we hear things like that laugh at it. But for the believers its not much surprise. 

  • Rostrowski85

    I was a doubting Thomas also in my younger days.  Until the internet and repeated stories about miracles such as this.  Then there was the proof shown to the world where no worldly explanation was possible (see the story on 60 minutes or 20/20 on Medjugorje or the one about the little girl in a coma near Boston where olive oil and unknown substances is dripping from the paintings in her room).  And yet, even absolute proof is not enough for some.  And the attacks against our faith over 2000 years, I believe, is reason enough to believe.  

  • Gracezyl Blanco

    a lot of weeping statues are reported here in the Philippines but most of them were found to be fake. sometimes, people do some hocus-pocus to it just to draw attention and money (from believers) which is sad but luckily, the catholic church here investigates the incident first before ruling them out as a miracle, but even prior to that, it does not stop people from believing.

  • akitamessage

    An apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Akita, Japan in 1973 was approved by the Church and involved a weeping statue. For more information and a free medal of Our Lady of Akita, send name/address to: akitamessage@aol.com.