Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish name: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) is a 16th-century image, a Roman Catholic icon, Mexico’s most popular religious image and patron saint of the Americas, including our Parish.
The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the 16th century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.
A poor man named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.
Juan was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared, and within it stood an Indian maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.
Eventually, the bishop told Juan to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Juan to try to avoid the lady. Nevertheless, the lady found Juan, assured him that his uncle would recover, and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.
On December 12, when Juan Diego opened his tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth, in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground, and the bishop sank to his knees. On the tilma where the roses had appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac. The tilma which should have deteriorated in 20 years shows no sign of decay over 450 years later and still defies all scientific explanations of its origin. (source FranscianMedia.org and Sancta.org)
Mary’s message of love and compassion, and her universal promise of help and protection to all mankind, as well as the story of the apparitions, are described in the “Nican Mopohua”, a 16th century document written in the native Nahuatl language.
There is reason to believe that at Tepeyac Mary came in her glorified body, and her actual physical hands rearranged the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma, which makes this apparition very special.
An incredible list of miracles, cures and interventions are attributed to Her. Yearly, an estimated 10 million visit her Basilica, making her Mexico City home the most popular Marian shrine in the world, and the most visited Catholic church in the world next to the Vatican.
Altogether 25 popes have officially honored Our Lady of Guadalupe. His Holiness John Paul II visited her Sanctuary four times: on his first apostolic trip outside Rome as Pope in 1979, and again in 1990, 1999 and 2002.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th. In 1999, Pope John Paul II, in his homily from the Solemn Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, during his third visit to the sanctuary, declared the date of December the 12th as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent.
During the same visit Pope John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to her loving protection, and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born. (Source: www.Sancta.org)
Father Paul’s Reflection on Our Lady of Guadalupe
This expert from Father Paul’s homily on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe explains the profound impact of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
History Of The Our Lady of Guadalupe Painting In Our Church
In 2013, the OLG Parish unveiled a newly-restored painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. You see this painting at the front of our church. Here is an article about the restoration and unveiling on the Daily Breeze
Additional resources about Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe (FranciscanMedia.org)
Shrine of Guadalupe (Catholic Encyclopedia: NewAdvent.org)