Numerous scientists and researchers subjected the Tilma to extensive research and studies. In 2009, prominent researcher and physicist Dr. Aldofo Orozco, told participants at an International Marian Congress, that there was simply no scientific explanation for the high-quality preservation of the Tilma, as well as the numerous miracles that have occurred in relation to its preservation. He said that the cloak of St. Juan Diego “is completely beyond any scientific explanation.”
In 1977, scientists used infrared photography, along with digital enhancement procedures, to examine the Tilma. They found that the image shows no sketching or outline drawing that would indicate an artist had produced a painting there. The exact technique used to create the image is unknown.
Here are 3 amazing stories about the Miraculous Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast we celebrate every December 12.
The Tilma is "Alive"?
Many doctors and scientists studied the Tilma in more detail. Their conclusion: it is as if the Tilma is alive!
Furthermore, scientists discovered that in the eyes of Our Lady in the Tilma (which is only ⅓ inch in size), miniscule human figures were actually discovered - something that no artist on this earth could have ever painted. The same scene is repeated in each eye. Using digital technology, the images in the eyes were enlarged many times, revealing that each eye reflected the figure of the St. Juan Diego opening his Tilma in front of Bishop Zumarraga. This is a recreation of the exact moment when Bishop Zumarraga beheld the Tilma of Our Lady - as if Our Lady was really there present in the Tilma during that moment, with the scene forever imprinted and recorded in the Tilma. Amazingly, the size of this scene is incredibly small - 1/100th of an inch!
Another scientist discovered that the temperature of Juan Diego’s Tilma maintains a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees - the same as that of a living human body.
Yet another doctor placed his stethoscope below the black band at Our Lady’s waist in the Tilma, and heard rhythmic beats at 115 pulses per minute - the same as that of a baby in the maternal womb.
In 1785, a worker was cleaning the glass encasement of the image when he accidentally spilled strong nitric acid solvent to a larger portion of the image itself. Normally, a solution that strong would have instantly eaten away and destroyed the Tilma permanently. Amazingly, it was reported that over the next 30 days, the Tilma self-restored and practically healed itself! It remains unscathed up to this day, other than a few small stains on parts not bearing the image.
Surviving a Bomb
On the morning of November 14, 1921, a young man entered the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tepayac Hill, Mexico carrying a bouquet of flowers. The young man placed the bouquet of flowers several feet before the Tilma, genuflected, then walked away. A few moments later, the bouquet exploded.
All around the image, everything was a scene of destruction. Windows burst, vases crumbled, and the marble altar railing of the Church was completely destroyed. A brass Crucifix was twisted and bent out of shape.
But amazingly, amid the carnage, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Tilma was as pure and unscathed as the Blessed Virgin herself. The glass casing in which the tilma hung was perfectly intact. No one in the Church was harmed.
No Scientific Explanation for its Preservation
To this day, there is no scientific explanation for the miraculous preservation of the Tilma - from regular wear and tear, from an acid accident, to even a bomb explosion. The Tilma is proof of the existence of God. It is a living reminder to all of us that God loves us, and that He gave us a Loving Mother who can and will protect us from all harm.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!