The title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also recognized as the Virgin of Guadalupe, pertains to the Catholic designation for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.
This title is linked to a sequence of five appearances of Mary, known as Marian apparitions, to a Mexican peasant named Juan Diego and his uncle, Juan Bernardino, taking place in December 1531.
A venerated image on a cloak (tilmahtli) associated with the apparition is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
On February 8, 1887, Pope Leo XIII officially sanctioned the image with a decree for canonical coronation, and it was ceremoniously crowned on October 12, 1895.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patron Saint of all the Americas
|Our Lady of Guadalupe – Feast Day – December 12
|Date of Apparition
|Place of Apparition
|Tepeyac Hill, Mexico
|Patron Saint of
|All the Americas
Our Lady of Guadalupe Life History
On the morning of December 9, 1531, an elderly Mexican man named Juan Diego heads to Mass.
Juan Diego, a humble peasant and laborer with no formal education, was born during Aztec rule and later converted to Catholicism.
Every step he takes on this particular morning becomes a step into historical significance.
The serene morning atmosphere is disrupted by an unusual melody, later characterized by Juan Diego as the enchanting tunes of birds.
Curious about the sound, he alters his route and unexpectedly encounters a luminous vision of the Virgin Mary.
At the age of 57, Juan Diego has just come across the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill, where an Aztec Temple once stood.
Having lost his wife two years prior, he resides with his elderly uncle, eking out a living as a modest peasant farmer.
The question arises: Why would Our Lady select this uneducated man to convey a message to the Bishop? Perhaps it is because she could not find anyone else as humble as Juan Diego.
Juan Diego is mesmerized by the extraordinary beauty and miraculous presence of Our Lady. To him, she takes on the appearance of a native princess, and her words resonate more beautifully than the sweetest music ever composed.
Comforting the surprised traveler, Our Lady assures him of her identity. She directs Juan Diego to approach the bishop and request the construction of a temple at the location where she appeared.
This temple would serve as a place for her to receive petitions and alleviate the suffering of the Mexican people. “Now, go and exert your utmost effort,” instructs Our Lady.
Disturbed, Juan Diego approaches the Bishop, who initially harbors a significant degree of skepticism about his story. The Bishop wonders about the true intentions of this peasant.
Is he seeking attention, fame, or financial gain? Or could he be influenced by demonic forces? Has Juan Diego fallen victim to a trick by the Devil?
The Bishop attentively hears Juan Diego’s narratives but ultimately rejects them. The modest farmer faces disappointment.
Doubting himself, Juan Diego returns to Tepeyac Hill, seeking confirmation of his experiences. Our Lady graciously reappears, just as radiant as before.
Juan Diego conveys to Our Lady that the Bishop did not believe him. She instructs him to return the next morning and make the request once more.
The Bishop is perplexed. Why does this peasant persist in sharing this tale? How can he determine if the peasant is truthful or perhaps mentally unstable?
During their second encounter, the Bishop requests a sign. Juan Diego commits he may not fulfill, pledging to return the following morning with a sign from Our Lady.
However, that night, Juan Diego comes back to his residence to discover his uncle, Juan Bernadino, who is 68 years old, suddenly and severely unwell.
The ailment, well-known in the community, manifests as a scorching fever so intense that it is nearly always deadly.
Juan Diego is unable to fulfill his commitment to the Bishop as he remains at his uncle’s side. He devotes two days to caring for his uncle in an attempt to save him.
As it becomes evident that his uncle is on the verge of death, Juan Diego leaves to locate a priest who can administer the last rites.
Terrified and distressed, Juan Diego rushes urgently, feeling the urgency of time and fearing that his uncle may die without making a final confession.
While on the journey, Our Lady appears to him for the third time. Anxious and fearful, Juan explains his situation. Our Lady asks, “No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?” (“Am I not here, I who am your mother?”).
Feeling rebuked but strengthened by Our Lady’s companionship, Juan Diego requests the sign he pledged to the Bishop.
Recognizing his mistake in doubting Our Lady, Juan Diego is directed to ascend to the summit of Tepeyac Hill, where he will discover unique flowers.
He is instructed to gather these distinctive flowers, unlike any he has encountered before, and conceal them in his tilma until he reaches the Bishop.
Once again, Juan Diego harbors doubt. It’s December, and he questions what flowers could bloom on the hill’s summit in such cold weather.
Nevertheless, he complies with Our Lady’s instruction, ascending the hill to discover a multitude of blossoming roses. He swiftly gathers them into his cloak.
For the third time, Juan Diego is admitted to the presence of the Bishop. The skeptical clergyman has waited for two days to witness the sign Our Lady promised.
Juan opens his tilma, allowing the roses to spill onto the floor. Yet, beyond the roses, both men are astounded to behold what is painted on his modest tilma – a magnificent image of Our Lady.
In the depiction, she stands in the same manner as she appeared – an indigenous princess with prominent cheekbones.
Her head is lowered, and her hands are clasped in prayer to God. The stars on her blue cloak are positioned as they were in the early morning darkness at the time of her initial appearance.
Beneath her feet lies a large crescent moon, symbolizing the ancient Aztec religion. The message is evident – she surpasses the power of the Aztec gods, yet she herself is not God.
While Our Lady is revealing herself to Juan Diego and instructing him to gather flowers on Tepeyac Hill, she simultaneously appears to his uncle, Juan Bernardino, who believes he is near death.
Upon her appearance, the fever subsides, and Juan Bernardino experiences a sudden recovery. Our Lady informs Juan Bernardino that she wishes to be recognized as “Santa Maria, de Guadalupe.”
After this encounter, Our Lady of Guadalupe does not appear again, as her mission is accomplished. The temple is constructed and still stands today in what is now a suburb of Mexico City.
Remarkably, Juan Diego’s tilma, crafted from cactus fibers and with an expected lifespan of only 30 years at best, remains miraculously preserved.
Today’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day Quote:
Our Lady of Guadalupe had this to say to Juan Diego: “Know for certain, least of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, the Master of heaven and earth.
It is my earnest wish that a temple be built here in my honor. Here I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help, and my protection to the people.
I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who lives united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me.
Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.”
Prayer to Our Lady Virgin of Guadalupe by Pope John Paul II
O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church! From this place, you reveal your compassion and mercy to all who seek your protection. Hear the prayer we offer to you with filial trust and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.
Mother of Mercy, Teacher of selfless and hidden sacrifice, to you, who graciously meet us, sinners, we dedicate ourselves completely on this day, along with all our love.
We surrender our lives, work, joys, weaknesses, and sorrows to you. Bestow peace, justice, and prosperity upon our nations, for we entrust all that we have and all that we are into your care, our Lady and Mother.
We desire to be entirely yours and to walk faithfully with you on the path of devotion to Jesus Christ in His Church. Hold us always with your tender hand of love.
Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray for all the Bishops that they may lead the faithful in a life of fervent Christian faith, love, and humble service to God and souls.
Behold this abundant harvest and intercede with the Lord to instill a hunger for holiness in the entire people of God and grant an abundance of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, filled with faith and zealous in the dispensation of God’s mysteries.
Blessed Virgin Mary, grant our homes the grace to love and respect life from its earliest beginnings, just as you cherished the life of the Son of God in your womb. Protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.
Our hope rests in you; look upon us with compassion. Teach us to continually turn to Jesus, and when we stumble, help us rise again, to return to Him through the confession of our faults and sins in the Sacrament of Penance, which brings peace to our souls. Grant us a deep love for all the holy Sacraments, which serve as signs left by your Son on earth.
Therefore, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our consciences and hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring true joy and genuine peace to all, gifts that come to us from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
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