A statue of the Virgin Mary in Kg Mahandoi that was bought from the Philippines a year ago began to shed "tears" after it was blessed by a Catholic Archbishop a week ago.
Michael George, the owner of the statue, said his sister-in-law purchased the 33cm high statue for his wife, Mary Fabian, during a trip to Manila.
He said the statue was initially kept in her sister-in-law's house as his house was still undergoing renovation then.
When Archbishop John Wong came for the celebration of Mass at the Our Lady Queen of Peace Church at Kg Kobusak on Sunday, Michael took the statue with him to church to have it blessed.
He said the statue was brought to his house after the Mass. The next day at 8.30pm, his youngest son, Melvin, 14, noticed liquid in the form of droplets streaming out from the statue's eyes.
"He immediately called us and asked why the statue had tears on it," he said. He said he didn't believe it at first until he actually saw the tears.
Astonished, he called a church leader and following that a rosary prayer session was held in his house.
Michael said he initially wanted to keep the matter hushed but someone took a picture of the weeping statue and it went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp.
As soon as word spread about the crying statue, many people, some from as far as Tambunan, came to his house for rosary prayers before the statue, he said.
While the church has yet to react, he said that ever since the statue started to shed droplets from its eyes, he felt a wanting to become closer to God.
"It is as if I don't remember anything about my kesusahan (problems). Macam ringan saja perasaan saya (I feel light).
"I also can sleep better," he said, adding that his family also could feel that there was a change in the house.
According to him, the statue's tears seemed to have a healing effect on others as evidenced by a visitor who had three years of unsettled grudges with his friend but decided to make peace with him.
And Michael now is more inclined to do God's work, a earning that he has kept in his heart for long.
The tears, he said, did not flow at specific times.
On the second day after the first instance, the statue shed tears at night, he said, while on the third day, at 5pm.
The self-employed Kadazan said he was advised by a priest that he should consider keeping the statue in church.
"The priest told me that there would be more people flocking to my house, even from outside Sabah.
"He said this would cause inconvenience to my family because of the people coming to see the statue," he said.
To this, he may build a small place for the statue on his land for the convenience and comfort of the visitors.
Or, he could also give it to the church where visitors will have a wider access to the statue. In 2012, a hospital in Subang Jaya became famous for a purported image of the Virgin Mary on one of its window panes.
Devout Catholics and curious visitors were drawn to the hospital complex after word of the apparition spread.
Subsequently, the window pane with the supposed image of the Virgin Mary was removed from the hospital and handed over to the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, the Sabah Catholic Church is aware of the statue shedding tears in Mahandoi and priests are assessing the situation.