In the Spring of 1979, while I was Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in Florida, I was approached by  Jody B. Smith, a professor of aesthetics and philosophy at the College Pensacola, speaking on behalf of himself and Dr. Philip Serna Callahan, a biophysicist at the University of Florida and an expert in infrared photography,  who are both specializing in painting and members of NASA, asked me to intercede on their behalf with the Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery of Tepeyac in Mexico City with the request that they be permitted to photograph the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe under infrared light and scan at very high resolutions since they were both specializing in painting and members of NASA. 

They wished to photograph the image under infrared light and scan at very high resolutions the resulting photographs.  The Abbot and the monks of that Abbey had total charge of the image of Our Lady.  I pointed out to them that it was highly unlikely that the Abbot would grant the request since the image had been damaged in previous examinations and permissions such as they were seeking were rarely granted.  Professor Jody Smith said that because I was former Benedictine from St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania perhaps the Abbot would be more likely to grant the permission.  I said I would write.  I did and wonder of wonders, the letter granting permission  was sent to me.  Doctors Callahan and Smith went to Tepeyac, did their research and made the starling discovery that in the pupil of the Virgin Mary’s eyes there was recorded the scene of the presentation of the Tilma to Archbishop Zumarraga by Saint Juan Diego.  Their work was reported by Callahan in his monograph:
Callahan, P.S. (1981) The Tilma: under infra-red radiation. CARA studies on popular devotion, Wash. D.C. Vol II: Guadalupan studies, No. 3. 45 pp.
- Abyssum

  Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been the subject of numerous technical studies since 1751 and extensive scientific investigations in recent years, and none of the result offered any sound scientific explanation which, up to this very day, defies science and all human reasoning as it continuous to baffle scientists and even skeptics.Below are only some of the findings that were drawn from the scientific investigations conducted on the image and the fabric itself which were commissioned by the authorized custodians of the Tilma in the Basilica, and in every case the investigators had direct and unobstructed access to it: The Fabric
The “Tilma” (a kind of cloak worn by native Mexicans) of Juan Diego that bears the miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a coarse fabric made from the threads of the maguey cactus fiber which usually lasts no more than 20 to 30 years, and yet the fabric has maintained its structural integrity – without cracking or fading, or any sign of deterioration for nearly 500 years. It consists of two pieces of coarse cloth fibers of about 1.70 by 1.05 meters (69.99 by 41.3 inches) held together in the center by a seam of thread made of the same material and is typical of the cloaks used by the Nahuas in the 15th and 16th centuries called “Ayates.” The seam is visible up the middle of the figure, turning aside from the face.
For centuries the Tilma was exposed to the rigors of all natural elements without any kind of protection against infrared and ultraviolet radiations from the tens of thousands of candles near it and the humid condition, dusty and salty air around the Basilica. Despite the constant contact of hands and kisses of thousands of pilgrims who venerated the Image and the continuous manual handling of the Tilma including the many different objects that touched it during the countless times it was subjected to scientific examinations, the Tilma remained in a state of perfect condition. No explanation was also offered by scientists as to why the Tilma is repellent to insects and dust.