The Blessed Virgin Mary, by her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, is the Patroness of Mexico and the Americas. On December 9, 1531, Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego, an Indian Christian, whom she sent to the bishop with the request to build a Church in her honor on the hill where she appeared. The bishop asked Juan Diego for a sign to prove that the Virgin had appeared to him. Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego again on December 12 and promised that his uncle would be healed. She directed Juan Diego to gather a bouquet of roses that miraculously appeared on a bush nearby (roses do not bloom at this time of the year) to present to the bishop. Juan Diego gathered the roses in his tilma (cloak). When he opened his tilma before the bishop, the roses fell to the floor, and the bishop was amazed to see the miraculous image of the Mother of God imprinted on the cloak. The image persuaded the bishop to believe what Juan Diego had told him, and the Church was built.
The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be ‘born’ again among the peoples of the New World, and is a message as relevant to the ‘New World’ today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego.
God of power and mercy, you blessed the America’s at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary at Guadalupe. May Her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through your justice present in our hearts, may your peace reign in the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.