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Tuesday, 23 April 2024
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Our Lady of Guadalupe


On December 9th, 1531, early in the morning, Juan Diego, a Mexican Christian convert, was on his way to attend Mass. Suddenly, Juan heard beautiful music and a woman's voice calling him to the top of Tepeyac Hill which he was just passing. At the top of the hill he saw a radiantly beautiful woman, who revealed that she was the Virgin Mary and instructed him to go to the bishop and tell him that a temple should be built in her honour at the bottom of the hill.

Juan Diego went immediately to Tlatelolco, to the palace of Bishop Juan de Zumárraga, a Franciscan friar. The bishop received him well but was reluctant to believe Juan Diego's story. And so a discouraged Juan Diego went back to the top of Tepeyac Hill and admitted his failure to the Virgin. The Lady directed him to go back again to the bishop and to repeat the request.

Still sceptical, the bishop demanded that he be provided with some proof of the encounter. Confused and fearful, Juan Diego avoided Tepeyac for several days, but on December 12th, while on an errand of mercy, 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 desolate hill, and to deliver them to the bishop as the sign. Juan Diego gathered up the miraculous blossoms in his mantle (jacket) and hurried off to complete his mission.

Once again before the Bishop and other witnesses, Juan Diego opened his tilma and the roses fell to the floor. The Bishop fell to his knees begging forgiveness, for he had not believed. For at the same time as the roses fell to the floor, the image of Our Lady appeared on the tilma. He took the tilma into his private chapel and placed it beside the Blessed Sacrament where he gave thanks and praise to the Lord for having been the recipient of such a wondrous gift. Within two weeks, the first humble house or temple was erected on Tepeyac Hill. Here, the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe would remain. Word of the apparitions spread and people flocked to see the image of Our Lady.

Today it is estimated that 10 million people visit The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe annually. His Holiness John Paul II visited four times: in 1979, 1990, 1999 and 2002.

Mary, who was "intimately united with the birth of the Church in America, became the radiant Star illuminating the proclamation of Christ the Saviour to the sons of these nations." — John Paul II

During his third visit the Pope entrusted the cause of life to her loving protection, and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those in danger of not being born (the unborn). The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th.


St Juan Diego
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Shrine of Guadalupe