Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Today we honor the apparition that appeared to Saint Juan Diego in 1531. Under the Title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, she was named Patroness of Mexico City in 1737, Patroness of Latin America in 1910, Patroness of the Philippines in 1935, and Patroness of the Americas in 1946.
To prove her authenticity to the local bishop, Our Lady instructed Juan Diego to collect in his tilma (cloak) the out-of-season roses that were growing at her feet. When Juan Diego opened his tilma to drop the roses before the bishop, both men were astounded to see an image of Our Lady painted on the cloak. That image still exists today, 486 years after the events, defying all explanations for its creation and preservation. (For more about this remarkable image, including scientific documentation of a baby’s heartbeat in the area where its womb would be, click here.)
A MARIAN MOMENT
What’s a “guadalupe”? The word Our Lady actually used was the Aztec “coatlaxopeuh” (pronounced “guadalupe”), which means one “who crushes the serpent”. This is apparently a reference to Genesis 3:14-15 – “And the Lord God said to the serpent … ‘I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed. She shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.'” It is worth noting that the Aztec empire used to sacrifice 50,000 human lives each year to their serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. Our Lady was essentially crushing that religion and its god, attracting 8 million converts in the 7 years following her apparition!
“My little son, do not be distressed and afraid. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the fountain of your joy? Are you not in the fold of my mantle, in the cradle of my arms?” – Our Lady of Guadalupe