December 12 is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas. In 1531, an indigenous peasant, Juan Diego, saw a beautiful woman who identified herself as the Mother of God when she appeared to him on the hill of Tepeyac, Mexico. She asked Juan to have a shrine built for her on that same spot so she could be close to all believers. No one believed Juan. Upon seeing the beautiful woman again, Juan asked for a sign to prove his claim about her. She provided him with an armful of Castilian roses in the middle of winter. Juan carried them to the local archbishop and upon seeing the roses and the beautiful colored image of the Virgin Mary herself imprinted upon the inside of Juan’s cloak, the Archbishop was astounded. A shrine was built and now millions of believers visit the basilica each year drawing comfort and healing from Mary’s image and her love for them.
By Joyce Iten, OSB