Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Virgin of Guadalupe is the most dearly loved Catholic religious icon amongst Mexicans. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is the most recognized social, cultural and political icon amongst Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
The Latino History and Culture, book published by HarperCollins on 2007, tells that on December 12, 1531, the Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company cites Saturday December 9 as the first day, the Virgin de Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, an indigenous peasant, in Mount Tepeyac near today’s Mexico City.
Guadalupe, our Lady, instructed the peasant to go directly to Juan de Zumárraga, the bishop of Mexico City at the time, to request the building of a church in her honor.
The Virgin of Guadalupe promised to support the Mexican people in their tribulations. As you may imagine, the bishop did not pay attention to Juan Diego; furthermore, he asked for a sign. She appeared a second time to Juan Diego after hearing of his rejection. She asked him to cut some roses from a nearby bush which did not bloom at that time of the year to bring to the bishop in his cloak. When Zumárraga opened the cloak, which is a wrapper used by Mexican Indians, the image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe appeared.
Today, the Basilica de Guadalupe stands where the virgin asked Juan Diego to build the church in her name.
There are two churches at the top of Mount Tepeyac. The new Basilica contains the original cloak of Juan Diego that shows the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every year on December 12th several million people visit this site in pilgrimage.
There is no doubt that the Virgin de Guadalupe is one of the most important symbols of Hispanic religion for Mexicans, who continue to revere and use stamps, images and statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe to profess their faith.
Excerpt from: hispanic-culture-online.com/virgin-de-guadalupe.html, by Marcela Hede.