One morning in December, a woman of mixed ancestry appeared before a Mexican farmer who went by the name of Juan Diego. She spoke to him in his mother tongue, Nahuatl: the language of the Aztecs. She identified herself as the Virgin Mary, “mother of the very true deity”. She asked for a church to be erected at that site in her honour.

Based on the words of her sighting and apparition, Juan Diego then sought the Archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, to convey to him what had happened. The archbishop did not believe Diego. Nevertheless, Juan Diego saw the young woman again. She instructed him to continue insisting. The Archbishop then asked for a miracle to be performed to prove her identity.

The Virgin agreed and told Juan Diego to return to the hill the next day. Unfortunately, this was not possible, as when the next day came; Juan Diego had to make a detour to visit his dying uncle. Fortunately, the woman caught Juan Diego trying to sneak around the hill he was supposed to meet her on. When he admitted to his reasons, the woman said to him, “Am I not here, I who am your mother?”

The woman instructed him to climb the hill and gather the flowers that were there. The hill, which was normally barren in December, was bursting with Castilian roses which came from Spain. The woman helped to gather the roses in his cloak. When he presented the blooms to the once skeptical archbishop, they found the cloak covered in the image of the woman who had appeared to him.

When Juan Diego finally returned to his uncle, he found his uncle fully healed by the gifted woman. She then asked to be known as Guadalupe. The archbishop finally accepted these miracles and started the construction of a chapel on Tepeyac Hill.

The Lady of Guadalupe has come to represent mestizos: a people of mixed native and European heritage. She is regarded as a symbol of peace, healing and unity.

Leave a Comment