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Virgin tears spark boom in statue sales

The press is reporting today that the religious phenomenon that has engulfed a small Catholic church in southwest Brisbane has inspired a statue-buying frenzy.

It says the store that supplied the Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre at Inala with its weeping statue of Mary has been cleaned out of stock this week.

The Courier-Mail reports that Christian Supplies store in the Brisbane CBD has sold more than 120 statues of the Miraculous Our Lady and tens of kilograms of rosary prayer beads to Vietnamese Catholics.

Manager Damian Salvati said he sold the weeping statue of Mary to the Vietnamese Community Centre about four weeks ago, along with many of the crucifixes that have also been sweating the liquid.

The rush for religious ornaments comes after statues at the Inala church exuded a rose-scented oil a week ago. Many believers have left their statues in the church in the hope that they might become blessed.

Mr Salvati said four Vietnamese Australians from Melbourne bought 24 statues on Wednesday.

"I have easily sold 10 dozen statues of the Miraculous Our Lady in the last week, mainly to the Vietnamese community," Mr Salvati said.

The demand has been so intense that the store has had to order in a shipment of new stock from Perth, en route from Italy where the statues are made.

"We have 10kg of rosary beads coming in tomorrow and about 20 dozen more statues, but I don't expect them to last long," Mr Salvati said. "I would estimate that we have sold between $6000 and $10,000 worth of stock because of this," Mr Salvati said.

The Church is expected to conduct an investigation into the mystery within days following an announcement from Archbishop John Bathersby earlier this week.

Pictured: Vietnamese chaplain Fr Joseph Nguyen Thanh Liem (Catholic Leader 30/5/04)

Faithful flock to buy weeping Marys (The Courier Mail 28/5/04)

Tears of Madonna (Catholic Leader 30/5/04)
Queensland church, site of modern-day day miracle? (ABC Radio AM 27/5/04)

28 May 2004