Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Tilma of St. Juan Diego

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of all the American continents is December 12th.

At dawn on December 9, 1531, on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City, Our Blessed Lady appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian (canonized on July 31, 2002, as Saint Juan Diego by Pope John Paul II). While on his way to attend mass he heard sounds of chirping birds and beautiful music, wondering where it was coming from and its meaning. Then he heard a voice calling him. There she revealed herself to him as "the Ever Virgin Mother of the True God," and made known her desire that a Shrine be built there to bear witness to her love, her compassion, and her protection. She sent him to Bishop Juan de Zumarraga in Mexico City to request her great desire.

Detail of the Our Lady's face on the tilma

The Bishop dismissed the humble Indian without paying attention to his story. Two more times Our Lady appeared to Juan, requesting him to deliver the same favor. He did as she asked and finally the Bishop asked for a sign. So, Juan reported this to her and she promised to grant a sign the following morning.

On December 12, while on his way to bring a priest to his dying uncle, Our Lady appeared to him for the fourth time. She assured him of his uncle's recovery and told him to gather fresh roses which he would find growing on the frosty summit of the rocky and barren hill. This done, she arranged the castilian roses in his tilma (cloak) and hurried him to the Bishop, giving him an account of their origin. This is what is known as "The Miracle of the pink roses."
Symbolism of the tilma (click to make it

To the Bishop's amazement, when Juan opened up his tilma before him there was painted upon it a miraculous beautiful image of Our Lady exactly as she had appeared on Mount Tepeyac. The Bishop prostrated himself in veneration and soon after began the building of the Shrine on the top of Mount Tepeyac. The Basilica in Mexico City is the most important Shrine to Our Blessed mother, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe in all the American continents.

Juan Diego's cloak, marvelously preserved, can still be seen behind the main altar in the new Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is near the original Basilica site she requested. Millions from all over Mexico and the world make their way to venerate Our Blessed Mother and to implore her intercession. She stated to Juan, "Am I not here as your Mother?"

Juan Diego was canonized on July 31, 2002.

Interior of the Basilica

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The tilma

I talked briefly to a classmate of mine who is Hispanic and immigrated from Mexico at an early age. I told him today was the feast of la Virgen de Guadalupe (which he already knew, obviously), and said he was at his church (St. Therese's in Appleton, they have a big Hispanic program) from 11 o'clock last night! As Blessed John Paul II said, "95% of Mexicans are Catholics, 98% of Mexicans are Guadalupeans." 

- Saying from Bob and Penny Lord's book, 
The Many Face of Mary, a Love Story

Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe, ruega por nosotros!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

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