Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. It is a during this peace-filled season of Advent that we recall the appearance of Our Lady to Juan Diego. Early one morning as he was making his way to Mass, Juan Diego hears beautiful birds and goes to explore. He then comes face to face with an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The humble peasant famer is amazed at his conversation with Mary who chose him to carry message to the Bishop.
Mary appeared to him as a native princess and her words were sweet. She instructs Juan Diego to ask the Bishop to build a Church on the site of her appearance, so that she could hear the petitions and heal the suffering of those who visit there. Juan Diego was greatly troubled and went to speak to the Bishop who did not believe him at first.
Juan Diego recounts this to the Blessed Virgin Mary and asks for a sign so he could prove it to the Bishop. The Blessed Virgin instructed him to climb to the top of Tepyac Hill and gather the wild flowers he sees and to keep them in his tilma until he reaches the Bishop. He gathers the beautiful roses and places them under his cloak. When he reaches the Bishop he opens his tilma and the roses fall to the floor. On his tilma is the painted image of the Blessed Virgin as he first described her. The Church was built and Juan Diego’s tilma is still preserved today in it. Millions of people make pilgrimages to Mexico to see the miraculous tilma and to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. Let us pray this day for all who seek the protection of Our Lady of the Americas. May she always continue to bless and protect us.
Pat Schifini, OSU