On December 12, 1531, Our Blessed Mother appeared clothed in the sun with the moon at her feet and transformed the Aztec/Mayan people who were practicing human sacrifice. Within 9 years of her appearance, 9 million were baptized into the Catholic Church. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the reason that Mexico became a Catholic country.
Our family visited the shrine in 2006 and my husband Mark brought home a life-sized replica of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image. He uses it during presentations that he is frequently invited to give on this amazing story.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Americas and of the unborn, giving us great hope to overcome the culture of death of today. Our family looks upon her every day since her image is prominently displayed in our living room. I pray often for her intercession, simply saying, “Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.”
Nearly 12 years after Hernan Cortes landed with Spanish soldiers, and nine years after the end of their battles, conversions to the Catholic faith occurred at a snail’s pace. It even seemed that the natives were ready to revolt against the Spanish. Bishop Zumarraga prayed for Our Blessed Mother to intervene in the situation. He wrote in his journal that he had asked for a sign that his prayer would be answered: roses from his homeland of Castile, Spain.When Juan Diego returned as the bishop requested with a sign that the apparitions were real-- Castilian roses—that alone was a miraculous sign since they did not grow in Mexico, let alone in the middle of December. Juan did not realize until after he opened his cloak to show the roses, that image of Our Blessed Mother was emblazoned on his tilma.
The Bishop and others in the room fell to their knees as they saw the miraculous image. But the roses were not a just a decoy, merely serving to hide the bigger surprise. Mary had provided a clear and personal sign to the bishop. Not only did Juan Diego speak the truth about the apparitions, but also Zumarraga had received a personal message from Our Lady of Guadalupe that his prayer would be answered.
Juan Diego was a simple, humble peasant. Bishop Zumarraga was a bishop of a volatile, developing country. The Blessed Mother was a dear mother to them both. The story gives assurance to us all, for she is our dear mother too.
For more inspiration, check out Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families. Your children will laugh while learning big spiritual lessons with Dear God, I Don't Get It! and Dear God, You Can't Be Serious.