The story behind this celebration
+ On December 9, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Juan Deigo Cuauhtlatoatzin on a hill near Mexico City.
+ In the apparitions—the last of which took place on December 12—Mary appearance was like that of the Aztec peoples. Mary also spoke Juan Diego’s native language, sending him to the bishop of Mexico City, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga.
+ After hearing Juan Diego’s request that the bishop build a chapel in Mary’s honor on Tepeyac Hill, the bishop asked for a sign.
+ In the final apparition, Mary provided roses for Juan Diego’s to present to the bishop as a sign of her presence. Arranging the roses in Juan Diego’s cactus-fiber cloak (or tilma), the poor man took the roses to the bishop but when he opened his cloak to show the roses to the bishop, his cloak was miraculously imprinted with the image of the woman.
+ Devotion to Mary under the title “Our Lady of Guadalupe” spread quickly and was finally approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1895. Today, Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated as the “Queen of Mexico” and “Empress of the Americas,” and is also honored as the patroness of the unborn.
For prayer and reflection
“Mary, ‘pedagogue of the Gospel,’ journeyed and sang throughout our Continent and therefore the Virgin of Guadalupe is not remembered only as indigenous, Spanish, Hispanic or African American. She is simply Latin American: Mother of a fruitful and generous land in which all of us, in one way or another, can encounter one another, playing the role of protagonist in the building of the holy Temple of the family of God.”—Pope Francis
The Olivetan Benedictine Monks of Our Lady of Gudalaupe Abbey (Pecos, NM): http://www.pecosmonastery.org/
The Capuchin Franciscan Friars of the Custody of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Texas-Mexico: www.capuchinos.org
The Franciscan Friars of the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe: www.swfranciscans.org
The Trappist Monks of Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey (Carlton, OR): www.trappistabbbey.org
The Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague and Our Lady of Guadalupe (San Antonio, TX): www.carmelsanantonio.org
The Poor Clare Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Roswell, NM): www.poorclares-roswell.org
O God, Father of mercies,
who placed your people under the singular protection
of your Son’s most holy Mother,
grant that all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe,
may seek with ever more lively faith
the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and of peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.Access our archives of daily saint biographies here