The science of digital image processing provides a window into the unique nature of the Guadalupe image, said a scientist who used the methods he learned at Mexico’s IBM Scientific Center when he began studying the eyes of the image on the tilma of Juan Diego.
Dr. José Aste Tonsmann, a civil engineer with a doctorate from Cornell University, used digital imagery to isolate 13 human figures in the corneas of the Guadalupe image which he says correspond to the persons who were present when Juan Diego presented his tilma to Bishop Juan Zumarraga in 1531.
He showed high-resolution digital photos taken from the corneas of the right and left eyes of the Guadalupe image, outlining with color enhancement the figures he found. Tonsmann said that the presence of the figures suggests that before leaving her image on the tilma, Our Lady appeared across from the people in the bishop’s office, and the human figures were reflected in her eyes, as objects are reflected in any human eyes. Then, when she imprinted her image on the tilma in their presence, the same figures were preserved in the corneas of her image.
It was a fascinating theory that appeared to be fully backed up by the photographic evidence he presented. Tonsmann showed that the same figures are seen in both the right and left eyes, and even show differences that would correspond to the angle of the head shown in the image of Guadalupe.
The 13 figures appear to be centered around Juan Diego as he unfolds his tilma before the bishop, to show him the winter roses that Our Lady asked him to bring to the prelate as a sign of her identity.
According to Tonsmann, the figures are:
1. Juan Diego, unfolding his tilma and wearing a native hat of the period
2. Bishop Zumarraga, staring at the tilma
3. An Aztec servant of the bishop sitting in the style of an Indian
4. A Spaniard of the bishop’s staff
5. A Spaniard who learned the indigenous language and served as the bishop’s translator
6. A black African female servant girl – documentary evidence shows, in fact, that the bishop did have an African female servant
7. Seven members of an indigenous family – a mother carrying a baby on her back, a father, a grandmother and grandfather, and two young children.
Tonsmann said that for him the most important message of the eyes is the central position of the Indian family. The family, he said, is the center of civilization, and continues to be the foundation of the culture of love and of life.
Everyone who attended this lecture, and saw the evidence, must be further convinced of the miraculous nature of the Guadalupe image, and the answers that science can give and the conclusions that faith can draw.