Our Lady of Guadelupe (1531)
On December 9, 1531, St. Juan Diego, an Aztec who had converted to Catholicism, was on his way mass. The Blessed Mother appeared to him as a native woman and told him in his native tongue to go to Bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga, the bishop of current Mexico City, and request a shrine to be built on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. St. Juan Diego did as he was told. However, the bishop did not believe St. Juan Diego and asked him to prove that Mary appeared to him.
On December 12, St. Juan Diego’s uncle got very sick and St. Juan sought a priest to administer the last rites to his uncle. Our Lady visited him again and he told her the bishop’s answer. The Blessed Mother directed St. Juan to go to the hill where he will gather Castillan roses to bring to the bishop. She also assured Juan Diego that his uncle would recover and he did. St. Juan Diego found many roses on the hill despite the fact it was the winter and they were out of season.
St. Juan Diego rushed to show the roses to the bishop. He opened his mantle and dozens fell out and a miraculous picture of a pregnant indigenous woman dressed in turquoise was imprinted on his mantle. The bishop, also witnessing the icon of the Our Lady of Guadalupe that appeared on his mantle, ordered that a church be built on Tepeyac Hill in honor of the Blessed Mother. As soon as the mantle was displayed miracles started occurring. These miracles are responsible for the conversion of millions of people.
The Blessed Mother is known under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To this day the tilma (mantle) bears the image of the Blessed Mother and has not been affected by almost 500 years of history. It is displayed for veneration at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The shrine on Tepeyac Hill, built in Our Lady’s honor, is second to St. Peter in Rome for Catholic pilgrimages.