The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

St. Juan Diego’s tilma: “completely outside” science

In the middle of marking two feasts of the Blessed Mother — the Assumption and the Queenship of Mary — Zenit has published a report on one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Virgin: Juan Diego’s tilma.

Take a look:

A physicist who has spent years researching the tilma bearing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is affirming that there is no scientific explanation for the phenomenon.


Adolfo Orozco stated this in a presentation given at an International Marian Congress that took place Aug. 6-8 in Phoenix.

The congress, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the Phoenix Diocese and the Institute of Guadalupan Studies, was dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Orozco gave a presentation on the image of the Virgin imprinted on St. Juan Diego’s tilma, stating that it is “completely outside” any scientific explanation.

He explained that due to the humid, salty environment around the basilica where the tilma is kept in Mexico City, the cloak material should have decomposed years ago.

In fact, the researcher noted, this is what happened to a painted copy of the image that was made in 1789, on a material similar to the original tilma.


Although the copy was preserved behind glass, like the original, it had to be discarded eight years later because it was falling apart and the painting was fading, the physicist reported.

The original image, however, which was imprinted on the cloak when the Blessed Virgin appeared to the saint, remains intact after 478 years.

Orozco told his audience that this phenomenon is heightened by the fact that it should have been destroyed twice, once when nitric acid was accidentally spilled on a section of the cloth, and another time when a bomb exploded close to it.

He affirmed that there is no natural explanation for how the image has survived undamaged through time and potentially destructive events such as these.

You can find more at the Zenit link. H/T Googling God.

Comments read comments(9)
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Deacon Alex Breviario

posted August 24, 2009 at 7:24 am

And, why would that surprise us?So, it seems that it is quite simply a "mystery" which is what our Christian faith asks us to believe in each and every day in many, many profound ways…Peace!

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Mike L

posted August 24, 2009 at 10:18 am

When I made a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe I learned that the image has been retouched. Apparently the image has degraded enough that the Church powers found it necessary to improve on Gods work.

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Mr Flapatap

posted August 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

Mike L,Please document your assertion that it has been "retouched" as it comes as a surprise to many.

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Mike L

posted August 24, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I have not found any documentation, it was what I was told by the priest that led the pilgrimage, and in asking several other priest familiar with Guadalupe I got the same response. I was told that most of the gold has been retouched, and the attempt at retouching the silver has left a tarnished, black moon.I, too, would like to see some good documentation on what was done.

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Civitas Occiduus

posted August 25, 2009 at 11:09 am

To the Many that are Surprised:Whether the paint (gold, silver, etc) has been retouched or not, the fact remains that the tilde remains when it should not. The very substance on which the image appears should have disintegrated and it has not.Miracle enough for me.

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Civitas Occiduus

posted August 25, 2009 at 11:10 am

tilma*, excuse me

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posted February 16, 2010 at 7:23 pm
theres some damn documentation for ya!=P

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incredulous joe

posted December 10, 2010 at 10:03 am

Pretty cool!

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