Our Lady of Guadalupe PDF Print E-mail

One of the most phenomenal Marian apparitions occurred in 1531 at Guadalupe in central Mexico. An Aztec Indian named Juan Diego (age 57) was walking near Tepayac Hill when a beautiful woman appeared to him, surrounded by a brilliant ball of light. She spoke to him in Aztec:

"My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother's Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard." Juan Diego went to the palace of Bishop-elect Fray Juan de Zumarraga and requested an audience. Zumarraga told Diego that he would consider Our lady’s request, and asked for proof. Juan Diego was disappointed and asked Mary to send someone else. She instructed him thus:

"My little son, there are many I could send. But you are the one I have chosen"

"My little son, am I not your Mother? Do not fear. The Bishop shall have his sign. Come back to this place tomorrow. Only peace, my little son."

"Do not be distressed, my littlest son. Am I not here with you who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Your uncle will not die at this time. There is no reason for you to engage a priest, for his health is restored at this moment. He is quite well. Go to the top of the hill and cut the flowers that are growing there. Bring them then to me."

Although the weather was freezing Juan found a blooming bush of Castilian roses at the  top of the hill. He cut them and put them in his tilma, a poncho woven of cactus fiber. Mary rearranged the roses and sent Juan Diego back to see Zumarrage:

"My little son, this is the sign I am sending to the Bishop. Tell him that with this sign I request his greatest efforts to complete the church I desire in this place. Show these flowers to no one else but the Bishop. You are my trusted ambassador. This time the Bishop will believe all you tell him."

When Juan Diego opened his tilma, there was found a picture of the Virgin Mary, exactly as Diego had described her. She also appeared to Diego’s uncle, and gave him a message:

"Call me and call my image Santa Maria de Guadalupe".

Some scholars think that the word Guadalupe is a Spanish mistranslation of the Aztec language. It is probable that the correct word was Coatlallope, meaning “One who treads on snakes”. Some six million Aztecs converted to Christianity within six years after this apparation appeared. The tilma with its portrait has been marvelously preserved from decay and damage for nearly five centuries; usually they last only a few years. It can still be seen in the cathedral that was built for it.

The Blessed Virgin said the following to Juan Diego on December 9, 1531:

"Know for certain that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God . . . Here I will show and offer all my love, my compassion, my help and protection to the people. I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping and their sorrows . . . their necessities and misfortunes . . . Listen and let it penetrate your heart . . . Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?"

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