Mary 16 – Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

I’m a Texan. I’m not sure that it’s possible to grow up or live in this state and not absorb some knowledge of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose icon from the 16th century is pictured above. She appeared to St. Juan Diego,  a poor Aztec peasant, at Tepeyac, northwest of present-day Mexico city. In that appearance in 1531, a decade after the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, she is reported to have said the following.

“Know and understand well, you the most humble of my son, that I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me; you will accurately relate all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted. Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort.”

The Bishop, however, requested a sign. So St. Juan returned and Mary told him to gather flowers he would find on the hill in mid-December. The flowers were Castillian roses, which could not have been found at that time of year in that place. St. Juan Diego gather the roses in his tilma, a cloth made from cactus fiber. The flowers were arranged by Mary and when he had presented them to the Bishop, the image above had miraculously appeared on the tilma.

Tilma is a poor quality cloth and normally lasts no longer than 15-20 years. The icon above, however, has survived for centuries. Many other miracles are associated with it as well. The Basilica of Guadalupe is the most visited Christian shrine in the world.

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