“ Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed. Do not fear this sickness of your uncle or any other sickness, nor anything that is sharp or hurtful. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more?”
~ Words Spoken to St. Juan Diego
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac, a suburb of Mexico on December 9, 1531. Juan Diego, a man of humble background, was born during Aztec rule but converted to Christianity. He was on his way to attend catechism when he passed by the hill and heard what sounded like birds singing. For a moment, he felt unsure whether he was still on earth or had been transported to heaven. There, he encountered the Blessed Virgin Mary who spoke very kindly to him. She introduced herself as the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the True God and sent him on an errand. She asked him to go and tell Bishop Zumarraga that she requests a temple to be built on the hill where people can experience her compassion. Juan Diego immediately sought audience with the Bishop but was met with skepticism.
Juan Diego returned to the hill and disappointingly told the Blessed Virgin what had transpired during their meeting. He implored her to send someone with greater influence in order for her message and request to be heard but the Blessed Virgin assured him that it is he who she has rightfully chosen to be her ambassador. She told him to repeat her message to the Bishop the following day.
Hearing Juan Diego’s message from the Blessed Virgin the second time, Bishop Zumaraga asks for a sign to confirm the authenticity of the apparition. The Blessed Virgin told Juan Diego to return to the hill the next day and a sign will be there for the Bishop.
Juan Diego’s uncle, Juan Bernardino, fell very ill and was dying. Rather than returning to Tepeyac Hill, Juan Diego was now on an errand to bring a priest to his dying uncle. While traveling and intentionally trying to avoid the hill where the Blessed Virgin Mary was waiting, Juan Diego saw her walking down the hill to meet him. Quite embarrassed, he explained his predicament. The Blessed Virgin Mary told him that he has nothing to fear and that his uncle’s health has been restored.
The Blessed Virgin Mary instructed him to cut Castilian roses that miraculous grew on the top of the hill and to deliver them to the Bishop. Using his tilma, Juan Diego carried the flowers carefully to the Bishop. As he let the flowers fall down to the floor in the presence of the Bishop and other witnesses, an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was seen on the tilma. The image was as Juan Diego had described the Blessed Virgin to the Bishop days before.
Later, Juan Diego returned to his uncle, who was indeed cured of his illness. He tried to explain to him why he was gone for sometime but Juan Bernardino already knew for he was visited and healed by a lady who introduced herself as Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the Philippines, is celebrated on December 12.
Memorare to Our Lady of Guadalupe from http://www.sancta.org/prayers.html
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, that in thy celestial apparitions on the mount of Tepeyac, thou didst promise to show thy compassion and pity towards all who, loving and trusting thee, seek thy help and call upon thee in their necessities and afflictions.
Thou didst promise to hearken to our supplications, to dry our tears and to give us consolation and relief. Never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, either for the common welfare, or in personal anxieties, was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Mary, ever Virgin Mother of the True God! Though grieving under the weight of our sins, we come to prostrate ourselves in thy august presence, certain that thou wilt deign to fulfill thy merciful promises. We are full of hope that, standing beneath thy shadow and protection, nothing will trouble or afflict us, nor need we fear illness, or misfortune, or any other sorrow.
Thou hast decided to remain with us through thy admirable image, thou who art our Mother, our health and our life. Placing ourselves beneath thy maternal gaze and having recourse to thee in all our necessities we need do nothing more. O Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. (Here mention your petition.)
Five Hail Marys…in gratitude for the four apparitions to Juan Diego and the one to Juan Bernardino.
~ Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City (Watch Live Streaming from the Basilica)
Plaza de las Américas 1, Villa de Guadalupe, Villa Gustavo A. Madero, 07050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
~ Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, Wisconsin, USA
5250 Justin Road, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601
~ Servants of Mary Center for Peace, Ohio, USA
6601 Ireland Road, Windsor, OH 44099