Our Lady, as an instrument of the Holy Ghost, is responsible for the conversion
of the Mexican people in the 16th c. when she appeared to St. Juan Diego,
a peasant. The History, as taken from the Patron Saints Index website:
The Blessed Virgin
appeared on Saturday 9 December 1531 to a 55 year old neophyte named Juan
Diego, who was hurrying down Tepeyac hill to hear Mass in Mexico City. She
sent him to Bishop Zumárraga to have a temple built where she stood.
She was at the same place that evening and Sunday evening to get the bishop's
answer. The bishop did not immediately believed the messenger, had him
cross-examined and watched, and he finally told him to ask the lady who said
she was the mother of the true God for a sign. The neophyte agreed readily
to ask for sign desired, and the bishop released him.
Juan was occupied all Monday with Bernardino, an uncle, who was dying of
fever. Indian medicine had failed, and Bernardino seemed at death's door.
At daybreak on Tuesday 12 December 1531, Juan ran to nearby Saint James's
convent for a priest. To avoid the apparition and the untimely message to
the bishop, he slipped round where the well chapel now stands. But the Blessed
Virgin crossed down to meet him and said, "What road is this thou takest
son?" A tender dialogue ensued. She reassured Juan about his uncle, to whom
she also briefly appeared and instantly cured. Calling herself Holy Mary
of Guadalupe she told Juan to return to the bishop. He asked the sign for
the sign he required. Mary told him to go to the rocks and gather roses.
Juan knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses, but he went and
found them. Gathering many into the lap of his tilma, a long cloak or wrapper
used by Mexican Indians, he came back. The Holy Mother rearranged the roses,
and told him to keep them untouched and unseen until he reached the bishop.
When he met with Zumárraga, Juan offered the sign to the bishop. As
he unfolded his cloak the roses, fresh and wet with dew, fell out. Juan was
startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him. The life
size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as Juan had described her, was glowing
on the tilma. The picture was venerated, guarded in the bishop's chapel,
and soon after carried in procession to the preliminary shrine.
Her image (duplicated
in the painting above), the nature of which is still unexplained by science,
is extant today, though that tilma should have disintegrated centuries ago.
It is kept in the "New Basilica" a few miles northeast of Mexico City, in
the neighborhood of Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Today's Feast remembers Our Lady's appearance to St. Juan Diego, and as she
is Patroness of Americas, particularly Mexico, it is a very important Feast
for those of the Americas to thank God for using His favorite
daughter/mother/spouse in such a miraculous and effective way.
It is a good day, too, to also recall Our Lady's appearance at Fatima, her
warning about Russia spreading "her errors," and the brutal reality of that
prophecy come true, both in terms of literal Communism and in terms of cultural
Marxism -- in Mexico, in Spain, in China, Cuba, Brazil, the
U.S.A., etc. Recall these
two apparitions, study the history of Revolutions (from the traditional Catholic
perspective), read papal encyclicals concerning Communism and Freemasonry,
learn about the brave Mexican Cristeros who held out as best they could against
Masonic revolution, and pray that all will come to know that Christ is
By the way, the
miraculously blooming roses found by the now-Sainted Juan Diego were "Castilian
Roses" (also called "Damascus Roses"), or Rosa damascena, which didn't
grow in Mexico but were native to Spain (see right).
Read much more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the miraculous tilma of St. Juan Diego here.