Our Lady of Guadalupe

Beloved in Christ, today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe[i]
To know about the origin of this Feast, we must go back to the winter of 1531. Juan Diego, a poor Aztec Indian living near Mexico City, encountered a strange event on his way to morning Mass. He heard music coming from Tepeyac Hill, and then a sweet woman’s voice calling his name. He climbed the hill and saw a lady, who looked like and dressed like his own people. She identified herself as the Virgin Mary, and told him to ask the bishop to build a church on the hill.
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So Juan headed to see the bishop, but it would not be easy. Even though the bishop saw that Juan was a humble, well-meaning Catholic, he was skeptical about the message. So Juan went and reported the bishop’s doubt to the Blessed Virgin; she asked him nevertheless, to persevere with the same message.
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Seeing his persistence and faith, the bishop asked for a sign, so that he could know for sure. She gave him a sign. Miraculously, in the middle of winter, roses bloomed on Tepeyac hill – yet there was a greater miracle to come. Juan gathered the flowers in the tilma he was wearing, and Mary, it is said, arranged the roses herself, with her own hands.
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He returned to the bishop and when he opened the tilma, allowing the flowers to fall to the floor, it was revealed that a beautiful image of Our Lady had imprinted itself on the tilma.
The bishop fell to his knees and believed. A church was built on the spot of the apparition, and 8 million people converted to the Catholic Faith.
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The tilma of Juan Diego has been the subject of much modern research. Woven of cactus fiber, it should have disintegrated in 20 years, yet after 500 years, it remains intact. Chemical analysis has not been able to reveal how the imprint was made. No paint or dyes were used. Additionally, the stars on the tilma match exactly the constellations of the Mexican sky in December of 1531.
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This dear Lady appeared at Tepeyac to show her love to the native people; but since 1999, Our Lady of Guadalupe has been declared the Patroness of all the Americas as well, so she is Our Virgin of Guadalupe!
Mary said to Juan Diego: “Understand my child, that nothing should frighten or sadden you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection?”
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She says the same to us.

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[i] Adapted from Catholicculture.org

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