'Miracle' statue removed from Windsor woman's yard

Windsor, Canada - A statue of the Virgin Mary that has drawn thousands of visitors because of its purported smiles and tears has been called many things: Miracle. Fraud. Nuisance. Zoning violation.

Now just color it gone.

Fadia Ibrahim, who owns the statue, moved it from her front yard to St. Charbel Maronite Catholic Church in neighboring Oldcastle, said a church official.

"It's gone," said neighbor Peter Hart. "They packed it up and moved it."

Ibrahim couldn't be reached for comment; it wasn't known why she moved the statue.

It might have been because of an order by the city building department that the statue be removed by Nov. 19 because the enclosure holding it was built without a permit.

It might have been because of complaints by neighbors about the cars that clogged their street day and night as people visited the statue.

Or it might have been because of suspicions by some that Ibrahim was assisting the "miracle."

City councilman Drew Dilkens suggested on his Facebook page that the tears were the byproduct of a common household item.

"God, I'd love to be there after midnight when the oil can gets brought out and refills the statue!" he wrote.

Even Ibrahim's own pastor wiped his hands of the greasy mess.

After the Rev. John Ayoub said he didn't believe the statue's permutations involved divine intervention, he was called by a stranger who began screeching at him.

The 5-foot statue leaks an oily substance from its hands and face.

People began coming after it was installed in July but, following news reports a week ago, the crowds grew larger.

The visitors, some on crutches and canes, clutched rosaries and prayed to the statue.

A few used cotton balls to collect the oily substance. They used it to bless their homes and friends, and claimed it had cured sick relatives.

All the publicity was a stark turnaround for Windsor, which is known for its young drinking age, all-nude dancing and lax enforcement of prostitution laws.