Advent Spotlight: Our Lady of Guadalupe

The image of Mary, the Mother of God as Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas and has been beloved for centuries. Here is more about the history of this beautiful apparition. 

Juan Diego, an indigenous man who had converted to Christianity, would make regular visits to a Franciscan mission for religious education, typically passing by Tepeyac Hill. On the morning of December 9, as he walked past the hill, the Virgin Mary appeared before him with a message: Request that the bishop have a chapel built in her name in this location as a place for those in need to pray for her intercession. After two more Marian apparitions—and a demand for proof from Bishop Juan de Zumárraga—on December 12, Juan once again encountered Our Lady, who uttered these famous words: “Am I not here, I who am your mother?” She instructed Juan to gather flowers, and when he did, she arranged them in his tilma, or cloak.

When Juan returned to tell Bishop Zumárraga about this latest encounter, he opened his tilma, the flowers fell onto the floor before the prelate, and emblazoned upon Juan’s cloak was an image of the Virgin Mary. Being the culmination of the four Marian appearances to Juan Diego, December 12 is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Today Juan Diego’s tilma is housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico, where it is visited by up to 20 million pilgrims each year.