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The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most beloved celebrations among Hispanics, especially for people of Mexico. Over time this celebration of “La Morenita,” as we call Our Lady of Guadalupe to refer to her as the “one with dark skin,” has spread throughout the world as well. Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated every 12th of December. We begin celebrating her with the feast of Saint Juan Diego whose feast is just three days prior to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day on December 9th. Our Lady and Saint Juan Diego had a mission to fulfill one which we too are called to fulfill. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe has conquered the hearts of the Mexican people and many others who fell in love after hearing her story. Like many advocations of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe has its unique story as well. If you don’t know it, Vatican News tells the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe like this:

Our Lady first introduced herself as the mother of God and the mother of all humanity when she appeared on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico in 1531. An indigenous peasant, Juan Diego, saw a glowing figure on the hill. After she identified herself to him, Our Lady asked that Juan build her a shrine in that same spot in order for her to show her love and share her compassion with all those who believe. 

Juan Diego visited the Archbishop of Mexico City, Juan de Zumárraga to tell him what he saw. Zumárraga dismissed him in disbelief and asked that the future Saint provide proof of his story and proof of the Lady’s identity. Juan Diego returned to the hill and encountered Our Lady again. The Virgin told him to climb to the top of the hill and pick some flowers to present to the Archbishop. 

Although it was winter and nothing should have been in bloom, Juan Diego found an abundance of flowers of a type he had never seen before. The Virgin bundled the flowers into Juan’s cloak, known as a tilma. When Juan Diego presented the tilma of exotic flowers to Zumárraga, the flowers fell out and he recognized them as Castilian roses, which are not found in Mexico. What was even more significant, however, was that the tilma had been miraculously imprinted with a colorful image of the Virgin herself.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego remind us that God is always at work. We all have a mission to fulfill, whether we are aware of it or not, it is God who calls us to be bearers of good news. It was God’s will to send his mother to this peasant 489 years ago to help our Mexican brothers and sisters to grow in their faith. It is God who gives us a mission, even though we might think that we are not good enough for the task that he is asking from us. He knows we are capable because he has created us. Let us trust in our mother who is always accompanying us on this journey of faith, and like Saint Juan Diego let us be courageous, never losing hope until we see God’s will come to fulfillment in our own lives.    

Note:

We will be live streaming a Vigil Mass in Spanish on Friday, December 11, 2020, at 7 pm from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Join us for the virtual Mass at aod.org/livemasses.