The year was 1531. Juan Diego, a peasant convert, made his way through the hill country of central Mexico on his way to the chapel. As he approached the foot of Tapioca Hill, he encountered a beautiful woman. She was surrounded by light as bright as the sun. She started speaking to him:
"My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother's Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard."
Juan left immediately for Tenochtitlan. Although never having been there he knew where it was. He arrived at the palace of the Bishop-elect Fray Juan de Zumarraga and asked to see
the bishop. The bishop's servants, who were suspicious of the rural peasant, kept
him waiting for hours. Finally, the he arrived. The bishop-elect told Juan that he would consider the request of the Lady and
told him he could visit him again if he so desired. Juan Diego was so sad. He felt that he had failed Our Lady. Who would pay attention to an old peasant man?
Juan Diego left the bishop's palace to return to the apparition site that very afternoon. Mary was waiting in the same spot for him and upon seeing her he prostrated himself before her. Explaining what the bishop had told him he suggested that she might want to get someone of more esteem to take over for him. To that Mary responded:
“Hark, my son the least, you must understand that I have many servants and messengers, to whom I must entrust the delivery of my message, and carry my wish, but it is of precise detail that you yourself solicit and assist and that through your mediation my wish be complied. I earnestly implore, my son the least, and with sternness I command that you again go tomorrow and see the bishop. You go in my name, and make known my wish in its entirety that he has to start the erection of a temple which I ask of him. And again tell him that I, in person, the ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God, sent you.”
The next day, Juan Diego went to the bishops palace for the second time. He asked to see the bishop and encountered the same difficulty. Eventually, the bishop arrived. After Juan Diego had told the bishop the request from Our Lady and after answering many questions put forth by the bishop, the bishop then said that he would need a sign from the lady to be sure that it was Our Mother. He dismissed Juan Diego.
The poor peasant man made his way back to the same place to deliver the message to her. She listened intently and replied to him:
“Well and good, my little dear, you will return here tomorrow, so you may take to the bishop the sign he has requested. With this he will believe you, and in this regard he will not doubt you nor will he be suspicious of you; and know, my little dear, that I will reward your solicitude and effort and fatigue spent of my behalf. Lo! go now. I will await you here tomorrow.
Juan Diego went to visit his uncle, Juan Bernardino, that evening. Finding him sick, he called a doctor. He was too ill. He requested that Juan Diego leave early the next day and summon a priest because he didn't feel he would live and wanted his confession heard. Juan Diego left before day break for Tlatilolco to get the priest. As he approached the trail that he usually used, he thought better of it. He knew Our Lady would be there and he had to get to Tlatilolco for the priest. He went the long way to avoid seeing her. As he rounded the hill, there she was. She sad to him:
He explained to her about his uncle and that he had to get to the priest and promised to return to her the next day. She listened and then said:
“Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. Be assured that he is now cured.”
Juan Diego was so happy upon hearing these words. Our lady asked of him:
“Climb, my son the least, to the top of the hill; there where you saw me and I gave you orders, you will find different flowers. Cut them, gather them, assemble them, then come and bring them before my presence.”
Juan Diego did as he was asked. Upon reaching the top of hill he saw many beautiful Castilian roses in full bloom. That was amazing to Juan because it was December and the freeze would have surely caused the roses to stop blooming. On the rugged hill top, there were never flowers of any kind. There was the occasional weed but with the freeze of December they weren't even there. Juan gathered the roses and placed them in his tilma. He went back to Our Lady where she removed the roses from his tilma then replaced them saying:
“My son the least, this diversity of roses is the proof and the sign which you will take to the bishop. You will tell him in my name that he will see in them my wish and that he will have to comply to it. You are my ambassador, most worthy of all confidence. Rigorously I command you that only before the presence of the bishop will you unfold your mantle and disclose what you are carrying. You will relate all and well; you will tell that I ordered you to climb to the hilltop, to go and cut flowers; and all that you saw and admired, so you can induce the prelate to give his support, with the aim that a temple be built and erected as I have asked.”
Juan left immediately for the bishop taking great care of his precious cargo. He waited for along time before he was announced to the bishop but once the bishop knew he was there, granted him an audience immediately. He explained to the bishop what Our Lady had said to him and presented the bishop with the proof he had asked for. As he unfolded his tilma, the roses were sent cascading to the floor. On his tilma was an image of Our Mother the Mother of God.
After his return home, Juan Diego was told by his uncle, Juan Bernardino, that a beautiful woman appeared to him on the occasion of his being healed and told him that she had sent his nephew to see the bishop. She further instructed Juan Bernardino that he was to tell the bishop that she was to be known as the Holy Mary of Guadeloupe.
Juan Bernardino was brought before the bishop to inform him.
Both he and his nephew were the guests of the bishop in his home for a period of time, until the temple, dedicated to the Queen of Tepeyacac, was built where Juan Diego had seen Our Lady. The bishop had kept the tilma containing the sacred Image in his private chapel. Upon completion of the main church, he transferred the Sacred Image so that all may see.
The first chapel was built about 1533. The construction of a second chapel was begun in 1695. Because of faulty ground upon which the basilica was built, it sank and leaned to such a point that a new basilica was constructed in 1964. The old basilica still stands next to the new one, but is not open to the public for safety reasons.
It was in 1737 that the Most Holy Mary of Guadeloupe was chosen as the patroness of the city of Mexico. Eventually, other Latin American countries adopted Her as their patroness, and in 1910 Pope Pius X declared Her the patroness of all Latin America, and in 1935 Pius XI extended this to the Philippines
Our Lady of Guadelupe
Prayers to Our Lady of Guadelupe Go back to Our Mother
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