THE APPEARANCE OF GUADALUPE
Want to know more about Our Lady of Guadalupe? Scholars offer many versions of the miracle story.
It goes something like this…
Juan Diego, a humble peasant was passing by the ruins of an Aztec temple that once honored the earth goddess, when he was suddenly stopped in his tracks by the smell of a heavenly fragrance and the sound of celestial music. Then he saw a luminous radiant glowing cloud surrounded by rainbows. From the light the blessed Mother Mary appeared, robed in regal blue-green, rose and gold. She calmed his fears, calling him "little son," and urged him to return to the city and ask the bishop to build a shrine to her, on the site of former temple of the earth goddess.
The bishop did not believe Juan Diego and dismissed him. The Virgin appeared to him again asking him to prove the miracle to the Bishop. She directed Juan to pick Castilian roses (a rose indigenous to the Bishop’s native Spain but impossible to grow in a dry, rocky desert terrain of Tepeyac hill) yet grew in abundance there. She assisted Juan Diego to arrange the flowers in his tilma, a muslin cloak. She told him not to put them down until he was in the presence of the bishop and other dignitaries.
When he did this, in the cathedral of Tlatelolco, they saw that the front of his tilma was emblazoned with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the miraculous rose blossoms lay at her feet. The Virgin also known as The Dark Madonna, was immediately embraced by the indigenous people, and other miracles quickly followed, in which floods and pestilence were overcome and the personal prayers and needs of her many believers were answered. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City was built on the exact site the Virgin requested. Each year 18-20 million people make pilgrimages to the Basilica where Juan Diego’s tilma is on display.
Today, flowers – most often red roses - adorn shrines to Our Lady of Guadalupe throughout the Americas. These appear in churches, homes, gardens and roadsides as visual prayers to the patroness for comfort in times of sorrow, protection, peace, prosperity, health and healing.