Woman finds holy carvings inside broken rooster statue (w/video)
Jennifer Lee Preyss
May 30, 2014 at 12:30 a.m.
Updated May 31, 2014 at 12:31 a.m.
Rose Garcia was at work when it happened.
Bear, a curious feline who enjoys climbing on kitchen cabinets, knocked over Garcia's prized kitchen rooster statue, shattering the bird across the floor.
"My daughter picked up the pieces of the rooster, and she set them aside," Garcia said, mentioning that she enjoyed the rooster decor in her Victoria kitchen. "She didn't tell me what she found."
Garcia said when she discovered her broken rooster, she was angry and noticed Bear sitting on the refrigerator.
She'd purchased the bird 20 years ago from a dollar store - a great deal, she said, for the size and weight of the bird.
Of the dozen roosters in her kitchen, it was her favorite piece of decor.
But her initial anger for the cat's destructive behavior subsided as she gazed closer at the broken pieces.
This was no ordinary rooster, she realized, picking up several holy objects that fell out of the bird's belly.
A few carved hands holding small angels with wings, grass with unlaced shoes and flowers and other smaller statues were inside the bird.
"I've had the rooster for all this time and never knew anything like this would be in there," she said. "I thought maybe it was some kind of sign, so I called my friend, Lisa. She always knows what to do."
Lisa Montez and Garcia spent the next few hours staring at the rooster and the smaller prayer statues inside, trying to figure out why someone would carve holy statues into the belly of a dollar store rooster statue.
"It doesn't make any sense," Montez said.
Hoping to find answers, she placed the bird in a cardboard box with all its broken pieces and drove it to Our Lady of Sorrows for the priest to examine.
"He said whoever designed it probably wanted to add weight to the statue," Montez said. "But I don't think so. They could have used anything to make it heavier. That's a lot of work on those carvings just to add weight."
Montez then returned the rooster to the original Dollar King store on North Laurent Street where her friend purchased the statue 20 years ago and asked the owner if he knew anything about the mystery objects.
"The only thing he told me was that all of his merchandise comes from China," Montez said. "He'd never heard of this before."
Another woman, Heather Andrews, 27, recently made headlines in Lynnville, Tenn., when her garden gnome broke and a Jesus statue was discovered inside.
Her statue, too, was made in China.
Other theories have been suggested to the women, such as the birds were made to smuggle religious articles out of communist China, where public religious practice, especially Christianity, may not always be lawful.
But none of the details about the bird have been verified or confirmed.
After hitting a dead end for several days, Montez and Garcia decided to visit a Victoria card reader at Velas y Mas.
"He may have an idea about what this is all about," Montez said, before driving to the store.
"Or maybe, he'll say it's good luck," Garcia added. "That's what I want to hear."
Jesus Castillo, a card reader and spiritual healer, also known among some Catholic Hispanics as a curandero, or spiritualist, was pleased to meet the women and examine the broken bird.
After holding the objects for several moments and looking inside the belly of the statue, Castillo said, "This is good news."
Roosters, he explained, are strong, fighting animals.
If someone were to place religious materials inside, they would put them in a rooster to symbolize peace and harmony within the fight.
"Keep the pieces inside," he said. "It will bring you good luck."
Both Montez and Garcia are still waiting for more of an explanation for why the bird was stuffed with holy relics.
But for now, they're content Garcia's favorite rooster brought good luck into their lives.
"I just hope at some point someone comes forward and says what this means," Montez said.