Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patroness of Mexico and the Americas – Dec. 12th.

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE • Catholics Celebrate the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (by her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of Mexico and the Americas) before Juan Diego, an indigenous convert to Roman Catholicism, on the Mexican hill of Tepeyac in 1531.

According to tradition, on December 9, 153, on the Tepeyac Hill, now a suburb of Mexico City. a beautiful lady that looked like a native princess appeared to Juan Diego, a man of Aztec descent who had converted to Christianity. She asked Juan Diego in his native language to build a “casita” in her name on the spot where she had appeared. The local bishop dismissed Juan Diego’s story.

The Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego again on December 12 and asked him to pick roses, to take them to the bishop as proof that she was the Virgin Mary. Juan Diego found Castilian roses, which were neither in season nor native to the region, he collected them in his tilma [poncho], and went before the bishop, when he opened his tilma to show him the roses, dozens of roses fell to the floor and his tilma had a beautiful image of Our Lady of Guadalupe imprinted on his tilma.

The bishop and everyone who witnessed the event were stunned by the miracle and a shrine was built in her honor on Tepeyac Hill since at least 1556. An account in the indigenous language (Nahuatl) was published in 1649 and widely accepted as accurate. The news spread rapidly and were a catalyst to the conversion of millions of indigenous people to Catholicism. Since then, the banner of the Lady of Guadalupe has been a symbol of the Mexican people in major battles for freedom.

  • In 1754 Pope Benedict XIV approved her patronage and granted her a proper feast and mass for December 12.
  • In 1910, Pope Pius X proclaimed her patroness of Latin America.

In spite of the objections, Pope John Paul II,  canonized Juan Diego and declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Americas—accepted the authenticity of the early documents and point also to various oral accounts of the apparition..

Questions you might ask about “Our Lady of Guadalupe”

Q.- What was Juan Diego doing on the hill of Tepeyac?
A.- The Aztecs used to make a pilgrimage to the Hill of Tepeyac to honor Tonantzin, a Nahua goddess.

Q.- Has the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe been studied?
A.- Many scientists have made test on the tilma, and offered no explanation on how it was painted.
 
Q.- What is the tilma [poncho] of Juan Diego made of?
A,-  The tilma [poncho] is made of a rough cactus fibers, yet the surface where the image is, feels smoth like silk.
 
Q.- Why is she called Our Lady of Guadalupe?
A.- The Virgin identified herself to Diego as the one who crushes the serpent”in his native language, which sounded like “Guadalupe” to the Spanish friars who gave it that name.

Children’s books about Our Lady of Guadalupe you might like to read.

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