Our Lady of Guadalupe

Juan Diego and the Blessed Mother

Juan Diego, the roses he had gathered, and the image that appeared on his cloak

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe which has a very interesting history. To sum it up very briefly, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Juan Diego, a local indian on a hill near what today is Mexico City. This was in December of 1531 as he was walking to Mass a mere 10 years after the fall of the Aztec Empire. The Virgin asked Juan to ask the local Bishop to build her a church on the spot of her appearing. The Bishop asked Juan to obtain a sign from the Virgin to prove that Juan was not imagining things. When Juan passed on the Bishop’s request, the Virgin sent Juan to the top of the hill to gather roses which, of course, were not in season nor were they the local variety. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) describes what happened next:

She told him to go up to the rocks and gather roses. He knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses, but he went and found them. Gathering many into the lap of his tilma a long cloak or wrapper used by Mexican Indians he came back. The Holy Mother, rearranging the roses, bade him keep them untouched and unseen till he reached the bishop. Having got to the presence of Zumárraga, Juan offered the sign. As he unfolded his cloak the roses fell out, and he was startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him: the life size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as he had described her, was glowing on the poor tilma. A great mural decoration in the renovated basilica commemorates the scene. The picture was venerated, guarded in the bishop’s chapel, and soon after carried processionally to the preliminary shrine. 

The whole story is told  in Nican Mopohua, a document written in 1545 in the native Nahuatl language. You can find it (in translation, of course) at the University of Dayton’s  Marian Library and Research Institute , a wonderful resource, to which I have linked in the past.

  Pope John Paul the Great visited her sanctuary a number of times. In 1999 he declared Dec. 12 a Liturgical holiday for the continent.     

The Queen of Mexico

The Queen of Mexico

He also placed the lives of children, particularly those whose lives are endangered by abortion in her care. 

Protector of children

Protector of children

Explore posts in the same categories: Liturgical Feasts

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