Saints alive! Statue has a heartbeat, residents say

Will Bredderman checks statue for a heartbeat
Arthur De Gaeta

The statue of Saint Anthony of Padua standing in front of a 62nd Street home in Bensonhurst is so lifelike, it actually has a pulse, neighborhood Catholics claim.

Cal Stansu, who lives near 17th Avenue, said he bought the statue after his father passed away more than 10 years ago.

But he realized it was more than a piece of plaster when it began to excrete an oily substance and the water in the flower vase in front of it turned pink a few weeks ago.

But that wasn’t all: when you touch the statue, you can feel a heartbeat, some claim.

“The statue felt sticky, like sweat,” said Stansu, who claims that his statue of Saint Anthony of Padua — the patron saint of lost things — has found quite a following in the neighborhood.

“I didn’t say anything, but five or six days ago people started bringing it small flowers,” Stansu said. “And people said to me that when they were touching it, they felt a heartbeat.”

The devout Catholic and first-generation Italian-American has since put a glass case over the statue to protect it from miracle seekers.

He did allow this paper to examine the statue, but no heartbeat was detected — even with a stethoscope.

The statue was warm, though it had been sitting in the sun all day.

Calls to the Brooklyn Diocese about the statue were not returned, but Monsignor David Cassato, pastor of Saint Anthanasius Church on 61st Street and 21st Avenue, said he hadn’t heard about the pulsating icon.

And the mystery behind the statue’s alleged heartbeat won’t be solved overnight, he said.

The Vatican must follow a strict investigative process before determining if an event is a miracle or a yet-to-be explained phenomena like the bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary found in Baton Rouge, La., or the 10-year-old cheese sandwich bearing the Virgin Mary’s image that has yet to mold — and was sold for $28,000 on eBay.

“The Vatican will usually bring in church officials and see if there is some natural reason for what’s going on,” the monsignor said.

“If there’s no natural explanation for it, they’ll say it’s a miracle,” he said.

The Pope makes the final ruling on the nature of all alleged miracles, Monsignor Cassato said, adding that there has never been a holy appearance in Brooklyn.

But the Catholic Church already regards Saint Anthony of Padua as a miracle worker, Cassato said.

“He’s a powerful intercessor,” the monsignor said, adding that he has visited the saint’s shrine in Italy.

“It’s surrounded by all the crutches of people who have gone there with illness and have been cured.”

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