Over 20 million pilgrims visit each year, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located on the edge of Mexico City, which is the most visited shrine not only throughout the Central and South America but also in Lourdes and Fatima.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Holy Virgin appeared for the first time in this region on December 9 in 1531 to Juan Diego in Cuautitlan, (in Aztec Cuauhtiatohuac, "one who cries like an eagle" was born in 1474 and baptized in 1525 under the name of Juan Diego). A "poor Indian" belonging to the indigenous macehuales. Juan Diego had recently converted to Catholicism and cultivates a deep relationship with the Queen of Heaven, which he considered his mother.

That morning while he was crossing the hill of Tepeyac to reach the city and go to the Church of Santa Cruz, where he would celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Indian was attracted to celestial sounds and the sweet voice of a sweet woman with a superhuman beauty, cloaked as a bright shining as the sun, who told her to be "The Virgin Mary, the mother of the true God" and ordered him to go to the Bishop to tell him that you want to put up a temple at the foot of the hill. Juan Diego set out to reach the residence of the bishop and tell him the message of the Lady of Heaven. But the bishop did not give him weight, promised only that he would have thought, though in reality she had not believed.

On the way back to Juan Diego on Tepeyac again encountered the Virgin Mary, reported his failure with the response of the bishop and asked to be relieved from office declared unworthy. Maria reassured him and encouraged him and invited him to come back the next day by the Bishop. Juan Diego gladly accepted and returned the following day by the bishop, and urged him to fulfill the desire of the Heavenly Mother. This time the Bishop began to believe him but to the native poses many questions about the place and circumstances of the apparition, and then asked for a sign from heaven. Juan Diego thanked the Bishop and ran to report the answer to Mary Bishop. The Virgin promised to give the sign the next day.

The next day Juan Diego could not return to the Madonna because he found his uncle Juan Bernardino seriously ill, suffering from a strong fever, since the conditions of the sick continued to deteriorate in Tlatilolco decided to run to call a priest. Arrived in sight of Tepeyac in order to avoid an encounter with the Lord decided to change direction and get around the hill. But the Lady appeared before him, wrapped in a bright light and asked why such a hurry. Juan Diego fearful and confused he fell at his feet and asked forgiveness for not being able to carry out the task entrusted to him because of the serious illness of his uncle.

The Madonna brightened and said not to worry because his uncle was already healed, then invited him to climb the hill Tepeyrac to pick flowers. It was December 12 and was certainly not the season and even the place, that desolate stony ground for the growth of flowers. Juan Diego to his astonishment reached the top of the hill he found the fresh and beautiful Castilian roses miraculously blossomed out of season.

Widening his mantle (cloak) as if it were picked up her apron, and took them to Mary. But she told him to take it to the bishop as proof of the truth of the apparitions. Juan Diego obeyed, and came in front of the bishop, told the message of Madonna and while he opened his white coat, which until then had held tightly to her chest: when the roses fell, appeared on the mantle for all to see the beautiful image of S. Virgin, that which can be admired today in the sanctuary of Teper. Faced with such a miracle, the Bishop with all present fell to their knees deeply touched. The next morning, accompanied by the archbishop Juan Diego went to Tapeyac to see the place where Our Lady had asked to erect a temple. The news of the miracle spread quickly around, spreading more and more. Zumarraga first ordered the construction of a chapel on the site of the apparitions, and then he immediately forward the plans for the construction of a basilica.

For the Mexican people, Mary proclaims salvation through the flowers and the singing. The Lady of the Sky is in Nahuatl language, promising aid and protection to all men. The image of a Mexican Mary miraculously imprinted on his cloak, the local language used by her title as devotional relationship with the ancient gods and the miraculous events connected with the apparitions stimulated a mass conversion among the Aztecs: nearly nine million of indigenous people were baptized in a few years.

In 1600 the chapel was considerably enlarged for the first time in 1622 and restored again. In 1694 it was finally laid the foundation stone for the foundation of a great basilica in 1709 the icon of the miraculous image of Our Lady altar was moved. The extraordinary icon stood for 178 years to the influence of time, the candle smoke and sweat of the pilgrims. Even today, despite the centuries passed, we can contemplate a Virgin bright colors emanating from an infinite tenderness.

The cloak and a rough coat (168x105cm), woven in a typical Mexican agave fiber, consisting of two pieces of this material sewn with white thread. On it is engraved the image of the Virgin of the stature of 143 cm. Mary Brown, as the Indians, joined hands, and the noble pink dress trimmed with flowers. A veil or sea-blue robe embroidered with golden stars covers her head and fall to his feet resting on the moon. Twelve rays of the sun frame the face.

In 1929, a detailed scientific examination conducted by experts found that the pupils of the eyes of Mary is reflected in a photographic film as the image of Juan Diego himself, with the bishop and a group of other people present at that moment when the miracle of roses. But more surprising results came from the studies on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, carried on two wires from fragments of the cloak of Juan Diego, the director of the chemical section of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Heidelberg, Dr. Richar Kulm (Nobel prize for chemistry in 1938): in 1936 he found that the fibers of the fabric there is no trace of dyes or vegetable or mineral, or animal colors have no earthly origin and the materials are completely unknown.

Soon Maria was considered the patron saint of Mexico. Numerous copies of the image painted on the mantle of Diego were reproduced and became objects of worship. In 1737 the SS. Virgin was declared patron saint of Mexico.
In 1754 a party was established with the major papal brief Equidem not east and the Basilica of Guadalupe was elevated to the rank of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.
Pope Leo XIII ordered that October 12, 1895 was celebrated the coronation of the miraculous.
Pope John Paul II declared Mary "Mother of the Americas." Today Guadalupe is the heart of the South American pilgrimage.

Unexplained phenomena, miraculous events that reveal the source of the image and communicate a message of hope to repeat every year. Our Lady of Guadalupe invites us to open our hearts to the work of Jesus who loves us and saves us. Asking the school of Mary is indispensable because she is a teacher of humanity and faith, and shows us how to walk the trails to get to follow the Son Jesus.

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