Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Our Lady Of Guadalupe – A Pictorial Catechism

Published diciembre 13, 2007  | Available In English

Our Lady of Guadalupe is revered. The Marian apparition dates to the 16th century, making it one of the oldest images of the Blessed Mother.

The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe began in colonial Mexico and continues to modern times.

A man named Juan Diego hurried to Mass in Mexico City on Dec. 9, 1531, when the Blessed Virgin appeared. She sent him to the local bishop to have a church built at the place of the apparition.

To answer the skeptical bishop, Our Lady, in a subsequent apparition (she appeared four times in all), told Juan Diego to gather roses during a season when the flowers were not normally in bloom. He gathered the flowers into the cloak. When Juan Diego next saw the bishop, he unfolded the cloak, the roses fell out and imprinted on the cloak was a figure of the Virgin Mother as he had seen her.

That cloak is now displayed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The entire cloak measures about 5 feet long and 3 feet wide.

In the first 10 years after the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, eight million Indians became Christian. In modern times, the devotion remains strong. Sixty-two years ago, Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared the Patroness of all the Americas by Pope Pius XII. In 1999, Pope John Paul II, during his third visit to the sanctuary, declared the date of Dec. 12 as a liturgical feast for the whole continent. Three years later, Juan Diego was canonized as the first indigenous saint of North America.

The image is a representation of the Immaculate Conception but with the distinctive features common to Juan Diego’s culture. The apparition appeared as a beautiful Aztec princess and spoke to Juan Diego in his native Aztec language.