Our Lady Of Guadalupe
Year : 1531
“He (God) has not done thus for any other nation.” The story began on December 12, 1531. A Saturday, an elderly Indian convert Juan (59) Diego, was on his way to Mass at the Franciscan mission of Tlaltelolce just north of Mexico City early at dawn. Juan took a short cut over the hill of Tepayac, once the shrine of an Aztec goddess, Teonantrin.
Suddenly he heard warbling of birds, sweeter and more cheerful than he had ever heard songsters give. The singing ceased as suddenly as it had begun. A voice from the hilltop called him, “Juanito, Juan Dieguito!” Though startled, he was not afraid, a strange joy filled his soul as he hurried up the hill; then he saw her, looking for all the world like a sweet Indian maid. Her robes sparkled as if she had just stepped out of the early sun; the rock on which she stood glowed iridescent colors, rainbow hues tinted the earth. Even the mesquite and prickly pear became things of strange beauty. She spoke, “Juanito, littlest of my little ones, where are you going?” Except for his Christian name, she spoke in perfect Indian. “I go to Mass and to catechism instruction,” Juan explained. “Know, littlest of my little ones,” she said charmingly, “that I am Mary, Virgin Mother of the God for whom we all live, Creator of the world, Master of Heaven and earth. I desire a temple to be built in my honor on this spot so all may know my love and compassion, my desire to help and protect. For I am a Mother of Mercy to you and to all who live in this land; all who love, trust me and implore my aid. Go to the bishop and tell him what I desire. I shall be grateful and fill your own life with blessings.”
Bowing, Juan began the 3-mile walk to Mexico City. Bishop Zamuraga received the convert kindly, but did not believe him, dismissed him and told him to come some other time. Discouraged, Juan Diego trudged back to Tepayac; Mary was waiting on the crest of the hill; falling at her feet, he confessed his failure: “Pick some noble messenger”, he begged; “they will never believe me, I am like an old rope, a broken ladder, a worthless little man.” Patiently Mary explained she had thousands of competent messengers to choose from, but didn’t want them. She wanted her little Diego to help her. Her look of love warmed his heart, no longer tired, discouraged—next day he would go back to the Bishop.
Juan with a supreme effort repeated Mary’s message. The Bishop explained he must have some sign or proof. Juan offered to ask Mary for a sign and the Bishop “left it up to the Lady.” When Juan left; the prelate sent men to follow him; they lost him in the fog, returned disgruntled telling the Bishop Juan was a trickster. When he reached the hill, Mary said to Juan, “Come here tomorrow and I shall give you the sign the Bishop requests.” Juan did not come; his uncle (only living kin) was dying. All night and the next, Juan kept vigil. Tuesday his uncle asked Juan to get the friars to administer the last sacraments. Juan took no short cut, thinking Mary will want to detain me with the Bishop’s sign, and he went a longer way. Mary stood before him, “Don’t be angry”, he pleaded; “I shall return.” Mary smiled, “I am your Mother, you are close to my heart. Your uncle is cured. Go to the top of the hill and pick the flowers there and bring them to me.”
Bleak December, the ground frozen, yet gorgeous Castilian roses miraculously bloomed everywhere. Gathering them in his cloak, Juan brought them to Mary who arranged them into a design and told Juan to show them to no one but the Bishop.
The Bishop fell on his knees and stared, not, at the roses, but at the image Mary had painted on Juan’s coarse cloak—enchanted dawn hues, salmon pink garment covered with shimmering lace of gold, veil of blue-green covered with stars, a brooch bearing a cross at her throat, the moon at her feet, a winged angel bearing her up.