PENAMPANG, March 9 — Michael George, the Catholic owner of the “weeping” Virgin Mother Mary figurine that drew widespread attention last week, plans to build a special grotto for it outside his home next month.
The self-employed businessman who lives with his family in Kampung Mahandoi here said he has no intention of giving away the statue to anyone, not even to the church.
“I definitely do not want to give it away. It was a special gift given to me, and it’s a miracle. It gives my family, and everybody who comes to visit, a special spiritual feeling and peace,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
Michael said he decided to build the grotto to share the phenomenon with others, on the advice of several priests.
Michael’s family home here has been attracting hordes of visitors, up to 100 a day, and even foreign tourists, seeking to see the 12-inch tall figure, set on a homemade alter that has allegedly been shedding tears since last week.
Some reportedly has seen tears rolling down its face, while others saw wet and damp eyes.
“We have had so many visitors come and visit u to pray, and we are happy to share the blessing with everybody. But if you ask me to pass it to a church, I will have to disagree. It is mine, and it brings us a lot of joy and peace,” he said.
“A priest and fellow villager here also gave me advice. He, and many others have suggested that I transfer it outdoors where others may visit and pray to it as well. Most people have said I should keep it,” he added.
Michael, who has had several priests from Catholic churches all over Sabah visit his home said that some have asked him for sample of the tears but he has been unable to extract any.
“There is less tears now and we don’t know when to expect it. The last time was at 2am on the fifth day since it happened,” he said.
The figurine was bought by his sister-in-law in the Philippines over a year ago but was kept in a cupboard while his house was being renovated.
The figurine was blessed by Catholic Archbishop John Wong the weekend before it started “crying”.
News portal The Star reported that church officials have begun investigations into the phenomenon.
It quoted a Kota Kinabalu diocese official that a priest from the Holy Nativity church in Kampung Tarawi was to submit a report to the archbishop as per procedure before deciding the next course of action, if any.