Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine
Next along the path, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a gift from friends of a distinguished modern day missionary in Brazil. This shrine, in colorful Spanish tiles, commemorates the 1531 visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego in Guadalupe, Mexico. Below is an abbreviated version of the marvelous event.
At dawn on December 9 in Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, a native named Juan Diego was walking across a hill called Tepeyac when he suddenly heard birds bellowing gleeful music in the distance. He then heard a voice calling him, and as he wondered to himself what was happening to him, he saw a beautiful woman. She instructed Juan Diego to tell the bishop to build a church on that very spot. Soon realizing that the lady was indeed the Virgin Mary, he responded and did what she implored of him. After being rejected by the bishop, Juan Diego, ready to give up on his task, was approached again by the Virgin Mary. She reassured him that he alone was to be her messenger.
Juan Diego again visited the bishop, but after a second refusal by the prelate, he was instructed to attain proof of Mary’s visitations. On the third visit from the Holy Mother, Juan Diego surprisingly found roses on the Tepeyac hill in spite of the frost-covered landscape. He picked the roses and placed them inside his cloak, as proof of her presence. Juan Diego returned to the bishop and opened his cloak. The precious image of Mary then appeared impressed on the tough cloth. The bishop, who had now experienced the glory of which Juan Diego had spoken, built the church. Within six years of the apparition, over six million Aztecs converted to the Christian faith.
The image remains intact on St. Juan Diego’s original cloak and is preserved in the cathedral in Guadalupe, Mexico. Millions of pilgrims from all over the world visit the cathedral to pray for healing and renewal.
On the tiled replica of the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe here at Nombre de Dios one will note symbols that were quite familiar to the Aztec natives. For example, the black ribbon symbolizes “woman with child.” The rays of the sun are seen around her body, signifying that Mary is more powerful than the Aztec’s “sun deity.” Similarly, the Aztecs worshiped the moon as a deity; however, in the image, the sacred mother has the moon beneath her feet. Seeing such a depiction would have fed the Aztec’s curiosity about the mother’s child and His importance to the world. Christ had become real to the Aztec people and helped transform their lives through this marvelous image.
For more information on Guadalupe and guidance in devotion to our Blessed Virgin Mary, go to: www.sancta.org.