Our Lady of Guadalupe (1474-1548)

Br. Robert Lentz, OFM

Artist's Narrative:
Ten years after the bloody Spanish conquest of Mexico, the Mother of God appeared to an Aztec craftsman named Juan Diego. She appeared as an Aztec herself and addressed him in Nahuatl, the Aztec tongue; in a manner one would address a prince. She appeared several miles outside Mexico City, which had become the center of Spanish power; she insisted, however, that a shrine in her honor be built on that spot among the conquered people. She sent Juan Diego back to the Spanish clergy to "evangelize" them -- ones who felt they already had all the truth. In each of these ways she restored dignity and hope to native people who had been dehumanized by foreign oppression.

A shrine was later built where Mary appeared, and Juan Diego spent the remaining 17 years of his life there, repeating her message of hope and liberation to all who would come. About eight million Native Americans became Christians in response to this message.

Her feast day is December 12.


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