Marian devotions for the month of November--->
<---Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
After Columbus discovered America and after the Spaniards first set foot on what is now Mexico, God in a special way showed His love for all human kind by sending to us His Mother. And His Mother gave to us a unique and wonderful gift: Her own self-portrait miraculously impressed upon the tilma of Juan Diego, a humble unlettered Aztec Indian.
The portrait itself had confounded art experts through the centuries who have examined it minutely. By all natural laws the tilma, a coarsely-woven cloak of cactus fiber, should long ago have disintegrated, especially so since for over a century it hung in the open, whereas now it is covered with glass.
No art expert has ever been able to explain the method of application of the media used for impressing the portrait on the tilma. No painting known to exist has the natural life-like quality of the portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe - and certainly nothing comparable to it was known or is available dating back to the early part of the 16th century.
Moreover, of a group of five ophthalmologists who examined the eyes of the portrait through their ophthalmoscopes in May of 1956, each found he was "looking into a human eye" (this is authenticated by a certificate dated May 26, 1956, signed by the five).
This portrait was left to us by Our Lady in the year 1531. The Indians saw something in the Image of Our Lady that the Spaniards did not comprehend. In that period, the Indians did their writing in hieroglyphics, so to them the Image was a "hieroglyphic letter." The fact that the natives "read" the picture is most important in understanding the purpose of Our Lady's Apparitions. Even for us, over four centuries later, the Image is to be "read," looked at, mentally contemplated.
To the Indians, the Image depicted a beautiful Lady standing in front of the sun, a
sign to them that she was greater than the sun god whom they worshiped. The crescent beneath her feet showed that their moon god was less than nothing since she was standing on it.
Among the phenomena in the skies at some early date in Indian history was a comet which caused untold destruction. This long comet was looked upon as a god in wrath, shaped like a fiery flying serpent that sought vengeance and demanded living sacrifices. Many Mexicans have told me it was that serpent which Mary crushed.
The Indians noted that the Lady was not of this world, for an angel with wings was holding her aloft with his two arms; he is dressed with a tunic like the Virgin's and has a golden brooch without a cross fastened to it, which indicates that the angels were not redeemed by the cross as was man. At the Lady's throat was a brooch, with a small black cross in the center, reminding them that this was the emblem of the Spanish Friars, and her lovely hands were joined in prayer, showing that there was ONE greater than she.
It is interesting to note that the Gospel of the Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe is that of the Visitation, when Mary was with Child. Father Dennis McAuliff, O.P., says the waist band which she wears is the Aztec sign of pregnancy.
Thus it was the Virgin Mother's appearances to Juan Diego, her words: "I am the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God," the miraculous appearance of her Image on his tilma - and what the Indians read in this "picture-letter" - that converted more than 8,000,000 natives in seven years to the Catholic Faith.
Everything to be found on the Image taught them something of great importance. It portrays a beautiful young girl in regal attire, carried through space by an angel. She stands before the sun, surrounded by clouds. All this denotes that her present abode is not in this world.
Through her Image, she also taught them that she is no goddess. Her hands are folded in supplication, her posture indicating that she is interceding for them at the throne of THE TRUE INVISIBLE GOD.
After studying her figure, the Indians were sure that she had at one time been an inhabitant on earth, a human being subject to death, and her appearance to Juan Diego proved to them the immortality of the human soul.
The dignity and majesty of her figure, as it covers the sun, assured them that she is greater than the sun, and therefore the sun could not be a god to whom human sacrifices were due. Is it surprising that she, whose only Son was sacrificed on the Cross for the redemption of mankind, should want to dry the tears of the mothers, sisters, and friends of the sacrificed Indians by teaching them through her Image that such sacrifices were useless?
When they heard the story how Almighty God took a human form, being born of the Virgin Mary - that He was crucified, died, was buried, and rose again from the dead - they were astounded. He was the DIVINE VICTIM, THE SON OF GOD, Who had offered Himself to the Invisible God for the salvation of the human race. Convinced that the human sacrifices which they had been making were utterly unnecessary, the Indians embraced Christianity joyfully.
Today Our Lady of Guadalupe stands before a GODLESS WORLD - atheists, communists, and extreme liberalists proclaim there is no God. Mary said to Juan Diego, "I am the Mother of THE TRUE GOD, Author of life, Creator of all, and Lord of the heavens and of the earth, Who is present everywhere."
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE ~ EMPRESS OF THE AMERICAS ~
On October 12, 1945, His Holiness Pope Pius XII proclaimed Mary, Virgin of Guadalupe, as Empress of all the Americas and the Unborn. On this glorious and memorable day at Rome, the Holy Father asked for world peace and unity - the very foundations of correct living. He added that to obtain this peace and unity one must have recourse to the Virgin Mary, to her who is the Voice of Faith and Hope of Christians.
In 1663, Pope Alexander VII granted in perpetuity the petition of the Bishops to hold the twelfth of December as the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
On March 25, 1966 Pope Paul VI presented Guadalupe with the Golden Rose. The year before this he had presented the Golden Rose to the Sanctuary at Fatima, Portugal.
THE HISTORY AND HOW IT HAPPENED
The story of the Virgin of Guadalupe is one of a mystery within a miracle. Guadalupe; That is a Nahuatl word which means: Beyond the river or river hidden. Hence the name of Virgin of Guadalupe.
In 1531, a 57-year-old Aztec Indian named Juan Diego (1474–1548), whose native name Cuauhtlatoatzin means "eagle that sings" (or in some translations, "eagle that talks"), claimed to have encountered the Blessed Virgin Mary on four occasions in desolate regions outside of Mexico City.
At first She appeared as a beautiful young woman all lightened, who then revealed herself as the "ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God." During later appearances, the Virgin Mary told Diego that she wished a church built to her in the place where she appeared to him–Guadalupe, the river of the wolf.
Our Lady spoke to Diego with gentle voice and full of tenderness: "Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish.
Am I not here, who is your Mother?
Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health?
Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish?
Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."
(Words said by of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego)
What comforting words for Juan Diego to hear. And, the Blessed Virgin Mary talked to him in his language, Nahuatl. She called him with tenderness and with a Mother´s voice. ";Juanito, Juan Dieguito";
"the most humble of my sons"; "my son the least"; "my little dear".
He was 57 years old, certainly an old age in a time and place where the male life expectancy was barely 40. Juan worked hard all his life and was an example of humility.
As proof of her holy appearances, the Queen of Heaven projected an image of herself upon his tilma (cloak). It is that artifact that brought Bishop Juan de Zumarraga (1468–1548) of Mexico City and his entire household to their knees when he asked for some kind of tangible sign from the Holy Mother.
It is that same image on the tilma, set in gold at the center of an elaborate altar, that still awaits today's pilgrim at the basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
It has been said that the dark-skinned image of Mother Mary as a virginal Native American girl helped the Spanish priests convert millions of Mexican Indians to Catholicism. After an extensive examination, the committee from the Holy See in Rome declared the apparitions seen by Juan Diego to be authentic, thus making the miracle one of seven appearances of Mother Mary officially recognized by the Vatican.
Then, in 1929, an image was discovered within the right eye of the image of the Virgin on Juan Diego's tilma. Alfonso Marcue, official photographer of the old Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, discovered what appeared to be a clear image of a bearded man reflected within the right eye of the Virgin.
At first doubting his own senses, Marcue made many black-and-white photographs of the image; and after he had examined them exhaustively, he went to the authorities of the basilica with his incredible finding. He was told to remain silent about his discovery, and out of respect for the church officials, he did.
On May 29, 1951, Jose Carlos Salinas Chavez was examining a particularly good photograph of the face of the Virgin and rediscovered what clearly appeared to be the image of a bearded man reflected in both the right and left eyes of Mother Mary. Since that time, more than 20 experts, including a number of ophthalmologists, have carefully inspected the eyes and the mysterious image.
On March 27, 1956, Dr. Javier Torroella Bueno, a prestigious ophthalmologist, certified the presence of the triple reflection (Samson-Purkinje effect) characteristic of all live human eyes and stated that the resulting images of the bearded man were located precisely where they should be according to such an effect. Bueno also pointed out that the distortion of the images agreed with the normal curvature of the cornea.
In that same year, another experienced ophthalmologist, Dr. Rafael Torrija Lavoignet, using an ophthalmoscope, studied the apparent human figure in the corneas of both eyes, with the location and distortion of a normal human eye, and found that the Virgin's eyes appeared "strangely alive" when he examined them.
While working at IBM in 1979, Dr. Jose Aste Tönsmann, Peruvian scientist and research, a graduate of environmental systems engineering of Cornell University, scanned a photograph of the Virgin's face on the tilma and was astonished to discover what he believed to be other human figures reflected in the eyes.
After filtering and processing the digitized images of the eyes to eliminate "noise" and enhance them, he reports he made some astonishing discoveries: not only the "human bust" was clearly present in both eyes, but another human figures were seen as reflected in the eyes too.
Dr. Aste Tönsmann published his last studies on the eyes on the tilma in the book; "El Secreto de sus Ojos", with complete details and photographs of his work . Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the studies is his conclusion that Our Lady of Guadalupe not only left us her miraculous image as proof of her apparition but some important messages too.
These messages were hidden in the eyes on the image until our times, when new technologies would allow them to be discovered, when they are most necessary.
That would be the case with the image of a family in the center of the Virgin's eye, in times when families are under serious attack in our modern world. The image of various human figures that seem to constitute a family, including various children and a baby carried in the woman's back as used in the 16th century, appears in the center of the pupil, as shown in this great image of the right eye highlighting the family, generously provided by Dr. Tönsmann.
Another mystery that had puzzled academic researchers into the phenomena surrounding the Virgin of Guadalupe was how the colored image of the apparition could have been impressed upon the simple tilma of a poor Aztec tribesman and how it could have lasted for centuries(more than 470 years)without falling apart.
As early as the eighteenth century, scientists discovered that it was impossible to paint such an image in a fabric of such texture. The ayate fibers used by the Aztecs at that time deteriorated after 20 years. Richard Kühn (1900–1967), a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, stated in his report of the tilma that it had not been painted with natural, animal, or mineral colorings. Since there were no synthetic colorings in 1531, the possibility of a native artist accomplishing a hoax seems out of the question.
In January 2001, Dr. José Aste Tönsmann, now with the Mexican Center of Guadalupan Studies, revealed at a conference at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome that advances in digital photography now revealed that the images in the Virgin's eyes were those assembled with Bishop Juan de Zumarraga when Juan Diego first unfurled his tilma and displayed the miraculous image.
By magnifying the iris of the Virgin's eyes 2,500 times and, through mathematical and optical procedures, Aste Tönsmann feels that he is able to identify all the people imprinted in the eyes. In other words, the Virgin's eyes bear a kind of instant photograph of what occurred the moment the image was unveiled before the bishop.
Many other examinations by ophthalmologists have been done of the eyes of the image on the tilma after these first ones. With more or less details all agree with the conclusions of the ones mentioned above.
THE GREAT MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
In 1523, just two years after the Aztec capital of Tenochitlan fell to Hernán Cortés and his Spanish Conquistadors, the first Roman Catholic missionaries arrived to begin the religious conquest of Mexico.
Among their first converts was a man baptized with the Christian name Juan Diego. On the chilly morning of December 9, 1531, Juan Diego crossed the barren hill called Tepeyac to attend Mass.
He was brought to a sudden halt by a blinding light and the sound of heavenly music. Before him appeared an astounding vision--a beautiful dark-skinned woman who, calling the Indian "my son", declared herself to be the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. She told Juan Diego it was her desire to have a church built on Tepeyac hill, and asked him to relay that message to Bishop Juan de Zumarraga.
It was not easy task for the humble Indian to be granted an audience with the top prelate, but the persistent Juan Diego was finally admitted. The incredulous Bishop demanded that he be provided with some proof of the unlikely encounter. Confused and fearful, Juan Diego avoided Tepeyac for several days, but on December 12, while rushing to find a priest to attend a seriously ill uncle, he took a short cut across the hill.
The Virgin once again appeared and Juan Diego told her of the Bishop's request. The Virgin instructed him to pick roses from the usually barren and desolate hill and deliver them to Zumarraga as the sign.
Juan Diego gathered up the miraculous blossoms in his mantle and hurried off to complete his mission. Once again before the Bishop, he let the roses spill out before him. To the wonder of all assembled, a perfect image of La Virgen of Guadalupe was revealed emblazoned on Juan Diego's cloak.
Juan Diego's mantle, carefully preserved in the new Basilica, has been subjected to extensive analysis over the years. Experts have authenticated the fabric as dating to the 16th century, but have been unable to determine the type of pigment from which the image was rendered. It seems doubtful that in the Colonial era in Mexico human hands were capable of creating a portrait of its exquisite nature.
It is even doubtful it can be done in Mexico today. Most wonderous of all, after 465 years, the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe remains clearly imprinted on the miraculous cloak without visible signs of deterioration.
By order of the Bishop, a small church was soon constructed on the site designated by the Virgin. Skeptics are quick to point out the unlikely coincidence of the Virgin's appearance on Tepeyac, the very site of an Aztec temple dedicated to Tonatzin (earth godess, mother of the gods and protectress of humanity) which had been devastated by order of Bishop Zumarraga.
The original church was replaced by a larger structure built in 1709. The Miracle of Guadalupe was officially recognized by the Vatican in 1745. The second sanctuary was declared a Basilica in 1904. A new Basilica, of modern design and enormous capacity, was dedicated in October of 1976. This is found in the northern section of present-day Mexico City.
In this and other churches dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe throughout the nation, millions of the faithful will gather December 12 for processions, prayers, songs, dances, and fireworks to honor "La Reina de México" (the Queen of Mexico).
In essence, the Spanish conquest of 1519-1521 destroyed the core of Aztec religion-the cult of warfare and human sacrifice. The Aztecs were no longer able to feed the sun, yet the universe survived, and Huitzilopochtli was discredited. Aztec religion had lost its focus by 1531.
The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice on a wholesale scale.
We must remember that the Aztecs offered annually at least 20,000 men, women and children in human sacrifice to their gods. In 1487, just in a single 4 days long ceremony for the dedication of a new temple in Tenochtitlan, some 80,000 captives were killed in human sacrifice.
THE SCIENCE SURPRISED BY GUADALUPE'S VIRGIN EYES
The Mystery was in Our Lady's eyes of Guadalupe.
According to many scientists who have inspected the image, it seems that in her eyes, in both of them and in the precise location as reflected by a live human eye, could be seen many figures that have been extensively analyzed and seem to correspond to the shape and size of human figures located in front of the image.
In 1929, Alfonso Marcue, who was the official photographer of the old Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, found what seemed to him to be a clear image of a bearded man reflected in the right eye of the Virgin. Initially he did not believe what was before his eyes. How could it be?
A bearded man inside of the eyes of the Virgin?.
After many inspections of many of his black and white photographs he had no doubts and decided to inform the authorities of the Basilica. He was told that time to keep complete silence about the discovery, which he did.
Engineer Sees a Reflection, Literally, From a Scene in 1531.
ROME, JAN. 14, 2001 (ZENIT.org) .- Digital technology is giving new leads in understanding a phenomenon that continues to puzzle science: the mysterious eyes of the image of Virgin of Guadalupe.
The image, imprinted on the tilma of a 16th-century peasant, led millions of indigenous Indians in Mexico to convert to the Catholic faith. Last week in Rome, results of research into the famed image were discussed by engineer José Aste Tönsmann of the Mexican Center of Guadalupan Studies during a conference at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.
For over 20 years, this graduate of environmental systems engineering of Cornell University has studied the image of the Virgin left on the rough maguey fiber fabric of Juan Diego’s tilma. What intrigued Dr. Tönsmann the most were the eyes of the Virgin.
Though the dimensions are microscopic, the iris and the pupils of the image’s eyes have imprinted on them a highly detailed picture of at least 13 people, Tonsmann said. The same people are present in both the left and right eyes, in different proportions, as would happen when human eyes reflect the objects before them.
Tonsmann says he believes the reflection transmitted by the eyes of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the scene on Dec. 9, 1531, during which Juan Diego showed his tilma, with the image, to Bishop Juan de Zumárraga and others present in the room.
In his research, Tönsmann used a digital process used by satellites and space probes in transmitting visual information.
He insists that the image "that has not been painted by human hand." As early as the 18th century, scientists showed that it was impossible to paint such an image in a fabric of that texture. The "ayate" fibers used by the Indians, in fact, deteriorated after 20 years. Yet, the image and the fabric it is imprinted on have lasted almost 470 years ago.
Tonsmann pointed out that Richard Kuhn, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, has found that the image did not have natural, animal or mineral colorings. Given that there were no synthetic colorings in 1531, the image is inexplicable.
In 1979, Americans Philip Callahan and Jody B. Smith studied the image with infrared rays and discovered to their surprise that there was no trace of paint and that the fabric had not been treated with any kind of technique.
"[How] it is possible to explain this image and its consistency in time without colors, on a fabric that has not been treated?" Tonsmann asked. "[How] is it possible that, despite the fact there is no paint, the colors maintain their luminosity and brilliance?"
Tonsmann, a Peruvian engineer, added, "Callahan and Smith showed how the image changes in color slightly according to the angle of viewing, a phenomenon that is known by the word iridescence, a technique that cannot be reproduced with human hands."
The scientist began his study in 1979. He magnified the iris of the Virgin’s eyes 2,500 times and, through mathematical and optical procedures, was able to identify all the people imprinted in the eyes.
The eyes reflect the witnesses of the Guadalupan miracle, the exact moment that Juan Diego unfurled his tilma before the bishop, according to Tonsmann. In other words, the Virgin’s eyes have the reflection that would have been imprinted in the eyes of any person in her position.
In the eyes, Tönsmann believes, it is possible to discern a seated Indian, who is looking up to the heavens; the profile of a balding, elderly man with a white beard, much like the portrait of Bishop Zumárraga, painted by Miguel Cabrera, to depict the miracle; and a younger man, in all probability interpreter Juan González.
Also present, Tönsmann believes, is an Indian, likely Juan Diego, of striking features, with a beard and mustache, who unfolds his own tilma before the bishop; a woman of dark complexion, possibly a Negro slave who was in the bishop’s service; and a man with Spanish features who looks on pensively, stroking his beard with his hand.
In a word, the Virgin’s eyes bear a kind of instant picture of what occurred at the moment the image was unveiled in front of the bishop, Tönsmann says.
Moreover, in the center of the pupils, on a much more reduced scale, another scene can be perceived, independent of the first, the scientist contends. It is that of an Indian family made up of a woman, a man and several children. In the right eye, other people who are standing appear behind the woman.
Tönsmann ventured to express why he believes the Virgin’s eyes have a "hidden" message for modern times, when technology is able to discover it. "This could be the case of the picture of the family in the center of the Virgin’s eye," he says, "at a time when the family is under serious attack in our modern world."
SAINT JUAN DIEGO
S. Ioannis Didaci Cuahtlatoatzin, that means: saint loved Juan Diego. Yes, that would be the much loved Saint Juan Diego of Guadalupe as he is designated in the new Solesmes Antiphonale Monasticum for December 9th. Here is the official Collect for his feast with my English translation:
Deus, qui per beatum Ioannem Didacum,
sanctissimae Virginis Mariae dilectionem,
erga populum tuum ostendisti:
eius nobis intercessione concede,
ut, Matris nostrae monitis Guadalupae datis obsequentes,
voluntatem tuam iugiter adimplere valeamus.
O God, Who, through Saint Juan Diego,
didst show forth the special love of the Most Holy Virgin Mary
toward Thy people,
at his intercession, grant us
so to obey the admonitions given by our Mother of Guadalupe,
that we may ever be able to fulfil Thy will.
The painting of Saint Juan Diego is by Mexican artist Martha Orozco.
SAINT JUAN DIEGO A MODEL OF HUMILITY
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will." (Mt 11, 25-26)
In April of 1990 Juan Diego was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. The following month, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, during his second visit to the shrine, John Paul II performed the beatification ceremony.
On July 2002 he was canonized by the Church, and declared a saint, during a ceremony celebrated by John Paul II, again in the Basilica of Guadalupe.
He was the first Mexican to achieve sainthood. Replicas of the miraculous image can be found in thousands of churches, including the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
WHO WAS JUAN DIEGO?
Most historians agree that Juan Diego was born in 1474 in the calpulli or ward of Tlayacac in Cuauhtitlan, which was established in 1168 by Nahua tribesmen and conquered by the Aztec lord Axayacatl in 1467; and was located 20 kilometers (14 miles) north of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City).
His native name was Cuauhtlatoatzin, which could be translated as "One who talks like an eagle" or "eagle that talks".
The Nican Mopohua describes him as a 'macehualli' or "poor Indian", one who did not belong to any of the social categories of the Empire, as priests, warriors, merchants,...but not a slave; a member of the lowest and largest class in the Aztec Empire. When talking to Our Lady he calls himself "a nobody", and refers to it as the source of his lack of credibility before the Bishop.
He devoted himself to hard work in the fields and manufacturing mats. He owned a piece of land and a small house on it. He was happily married but had no children.
Between 1524 and 1525 he was converted and baptized, as well as his wife, receiving the Christian name of Juan Diego and her wife the name of Maria Lucia.
He was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries.
According to the first formal investigation by the Church about the events, the Informaciones Guadalupanas of 1666, Juan Diego seems to have been a very devoted, religious man, even before his conversion. He was a solitary, mystical character, prone to spells of silence and frequent penance and used to walk from his village to Tenochtitlan, 14 miles away, to receive instruction on the doctrine.
His wife Maria Lucia became sick and died in 1529. Juan Diego then moves to live with his uncle Juan Bernardino in Tolpetlac, which was closer (9 miles) to the church in Tlatelolco -Tenochtitlan.
He walked every Saturday and Sunday many miles to church, departing early morning, before dawn, to be on time for Mass and religious instruction classes. He walked on naked feet, as all the people of his class, the macehualli.
Only the higher social classes of the Aztecs wore cactlis, or sandals, made with vegetal fibers or leather. He used to wear in those chilly mornings a coarse-woven cactus cloth as a mantle, a tilma or ayate made with fibers from the maguey cactus. Cotton was only used by the upper Aztec classes.
During one of this walks to Tenochtitlan, which used to take about three and a half hours between villages and mountains, the First apparition occurred (See The apparitions page), in a place that is now known as the "Capilla del Cerrito", where the Blessed Virgin Mary talked to him in his language, Nahuatl. She called him "Juanito, Juan Dieguito" , "the most humble of my sons", "my son the least", "my little dear".
He was 57 years old, certainly an old age in a time and place where the male life expectancy was barely above 40.
After the miracle of Guadalupe and with the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego moved to a room attached to the chapel that housed the sacred image, after having given his business and property to his uncle, spending the rest of his life as a hermit.
There he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus, and propagating the account of the apparitions to his countrymen.
He died on May 30, 1548, at the age of 74.
Juan Diego deeply loved the Holy Eucharist, and by special permission of the Bishop he received Holy Communion three times a week, a highly unusual occurrence in those times.
Pope John Paul II praised Juan Diego for his simple faith nourished by catechesis and pictured him (who said to the Blessed Virgin Mary: "I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf") as a model of humility for all of us.
THE BASILICA OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is an aspect of the Virgin Mary who appeared to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, an Aztec convert to Roman Catholicism, in 1531. According to the traditional account, on Saturday, December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a recently widowed and childless local Indian who was one of the Spanish missionaries first converts, was on his way to Saturday Mass Juan Diego was walking between his village and Mexico City when Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared, speaking to him in his native Nahuatl language. She told him to build a church at the site.
When Juan Diego spoke to the Spanish bishop, the bishop did not believe him, asking for a miraculous sign to prove his vision's authenticity. The Virgin appeared to Juan Deigo again and, although it was winter, to him to gather flowers. Miraculously, Spanish roses bloomed right at his feet.
When Juan Diego presented these to the bishop, the roses fell from his apron (the Tilma) and an icon of the Virgin was miraculously imprinted on the cloth. The bishop ordered a church built at once, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe has proved extremely popular in Mexico ever since. Spanish missionaries used the story of her appearance to help convert millions of indigenous people in what had been the Aztec Empire.
Our Lady of Guadalupe still underpins the faith of Catholics in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, and she has been recognized as patron saint of Mexico City since 1737. Her patronage continued to extend until it included all of America by 1946. Much of the recent increase in Marianism in the Catholic Church, including the call to recognise Mary as co-redemptrix, stems from the cult of Guadalupe.
On November 14, 1921, a factory worker placed a bomb a few feet away from the apron. The explosion demolished the marble steps of the main altar, blew out the windows of nearby homes and bent a brass crucifix, but the fabric suffered no damage. Since 1993, the apron has been protected by bullet-proof glass.
Today is the feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas and the Unborn. The second most visited shrine in the world after the Vatican can be found a few miles north of Mexico City in an area called La Villa de Guadalupe.
High on the wall of the circular basilica hangs a nearly 500-year old tilma or cloak, mysteriously imprinted with the image of a dark-skinned woman clad in a star-spangled blue veil. She is Our Lady of Guadalupe.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
O our Lady of Guadalupe,
make intercession for Holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary,
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from thy most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance.
The following may be added.
fruitful Mother of Holiness,
teach me Your ways of gentleness and strength.
Hear my prayer,
offered with deep felt confidence to beg this favor...
(Here add the favor who we wish to get).
PRAYER TO THE VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE BY POPE JOHN PAUL II
O Virgin of Guadalupe,
Mother of the Americas,
grant to our homes the grace
of loving and respecting life in its beginnings,
with the same love with which
you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God.
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of Fair love,
protect our families
so that they may always be united
and bless the upbringing of our children.
Our hope, look upon us with pity,
teach us to go continually to Jesus,
and if we fall help us to rise again
and return to him through the confession of our faults
and our sins in the sacrament of penance,
which gives peace to the soul.
We beg you to grant us a great love
of all the holy sacraments,
which are, as it were,
the signs that your Son left us on earth.
Thus, Most Holy Mother,
with the peace of God in our consciences,
with our hearts free from evil and hatred,
we will be able to bring to all others
true joy and true peace,
which come to us from your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
who with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns for ever and ever.