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Our Lady of Guadalupe: Miracles, Facts and Fancy

 

 

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most dramatic appearances of Mary in history, when Mary, in the guise of an Aztec princess, appeared to Saint Juan Diego (his pre-conversion name of Cuauhtlatoatzin translates as “Talking Eagle”), a Mexican convert, on December 9, 1531 as he strode to Mass and was passing by the base of Tepeyac hill.  She spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native tongue, and told him to go to Archbishop Juan de Zumarraga, the primate of Mexico, and tell him that she wished for a shrine to be built on Tepeyac hill.  She also gave him this message: 

“I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me , of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.”  

The Archbishop told Diego he would not believe in his encounter with Mary unless he had a sign.  Our Lady told Diego to visit the Archbishop again, but Zumarraga repeated his request for a sign.   Returning to Tepeyac, Diego again encountered Our Lady who told him to present himself to  Archbishop Zumarraga and give to him roses he was instructed to pick.  Roses growing in Mexico in December were a miracle in and of themselves.  Diego did as he was bidden, and when he presented the roses to the Archbishop, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted on his tilma, his peasant’s cloak, where the roses had been held by him.  News of the miracle spread throughout Mexico and before the decade was out some eight million Mexicans converted to the Faith.  A chapel was built on Tepeyac and Diego cared for it and the image as a religious hermit until his death in 1548 at 73. 

Doubts have been raised about whether Juan Diego existed due to the lack of contemporary accounts.  However, these doubts were quashed, at least any reasonable doubts, in 1995 with the coming to light of the Codex Escalada which has been dated to the sixteenth century.  It bears the date of 1548 and is an illustrated account of the apparition with text in Nahuatl describing the encounter between Juan Diego and Mary.  The document bears the signature of  Father Bernadino de Sahagun, a missionary priest and historian in Mexico, and a contemporary of Juan Diego.  The first mention of the image in Spanish is in 1556 in a sermon preached by Archbishop Alonso de Montufar, the successor to Archbishop Zumarraga, in which he recommended devotion to the image.  Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe spread rapidly throughout the Catholic world, with Genoese Admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria having a copy of the image on his flagship during the decisive Christian victory at the battle of Lepanto in 1571.

The image I believe is miraculous in nature.  However, many spurious claims have been made about the image, and the video below is a good compilation of some of the wilder ones.

 

Go here to read a very good article which separates fact from fancy regarding the image.  It points out the true miraculous feature of the image:

Again, this is misplaced over-excitement. There is paint ALL OVER the tilma, BUT NOT IN THE FACE AND THE HANDS OF THE VIRGIN. The above observation is correct only with reference to the Face and the Hands.

As a matter of fact the original figure, including the rose robe, blue mantle, hands and face … is inexplicable. In terms of the infrared study executed over the tilma in the 70s, there is no way to explain either the kind of color luminosity and brightness of pigments over the centuries. It seems that the facial image is formed from the very woof and weft of the fibers of the cloth.

There is no need to gild the lily in regard to the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe;   it is quite miraculous enough without that, both the miracle intrinsic to itself and the faith, always the greatest of miracles, in God it has fostered in human hearts.

O Immaculate Virgin Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church! You, who from this place revealed your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection: hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer. Mother of Mercy, Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love. We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities, and our sorrows. Grant peace, justice and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother. We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church: hold us always with your loving hand. Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the bishops, that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls. Contemplate this immense harvest, and intercede with the Lord that He may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole People of God, and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious, strong in faith and zealous dispensers of God’s mysteries. Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children. Our hope, look upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus and, if we fall, help us to rise again, to return to Him, by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the Sacrament of Penance, which gives peace to the soul. We beg you to grant us a great love for all the holy Sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left on earth. Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which comes to us from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


Pope John Paul II

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

25 Comments

  1. Our Lady of Guadalupe ended human sacrifice in Mexico. The Aztecs were wont to sacrifice thousands of other human beings by cutting their heart out with a stone knife. Human sacrifice was shown to be an heresy and Our Lady of Guadalupe’s motherly love for her children brought it to end. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us in America to end the human sacrifice of abortion and preserve our nation unto yourself, and Jesus.

  2. Apocalipto, Mel Gibson’s Mayan story from a few years ago was stirring.
    Blood sacrifice today and yesterday the same…just different alters. Abortion mills provide todays alters. Soooo many Gods…so many.

  3. When Our Lady appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure and showed her an image of the Miraculous Medal, Saint Catherine asked if that was all. Our Lady caused the medal to spin around and asked that there be an oval frame on the medal which the medal bears today.
    .
    Please see the oval on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The oval depicts her personal space, the space wherein Mary’s sovereignty begins and ends for Mary as a person, but never as Queen of heaven and earth.
    .
    Mary’s sovereignty as a person is framed for our benefit as the truth about the human person. The truth about the human being’s sovereignty, that is, discipline over himself and the privacy of his personal space. The frame also demarcates the length any other person has to an individual, unless, with informed consent the two frames become joined as in matrimony, enabling there to become a third sovereignty, another frame of a sovereign person.
    .
    How necessary is Our Lady of Guadalupe today when conscience, privacy, freedom and informed consent are being violated and trespassing against another person’s privacy, personal space and countenance (sovereignty) has become civil law.

  4. Philip: “Apocalipto, Mel Gibson’s Mayan story from a few years ago was stirring.
    Blood sacrifice today and yesterday the same…just different alters. Abortion mills provide todays alters. Soooo many Gods…so many.”
    .
    I did see Mel Gibson’s Apocalipto. The film recounts, quite realistically, the flight of persons pursued to be captured and used as human sacrifices to have their hearts cut out of their breasts to appease the god of the drought. The script ends with the victim falling on his knees in the harbor where Cortez’ ships have put anchor. Cortez’ men, many of whom also had their hearts cut out when captured, subdued the Aztecs and ended the barbarity of human sacrifice. I do not know if Cortez came before our Lady or after.

  5. The Spanish conquerors who took the Aztec capital in 1521 were the ones who abolished human sacrifice–immediately. The first Franciscan missionaries arrived in 1524 and had great difficulty making converts. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in 1531 but she did not trigger sudden mass conversion of the Indians. There was much hard evangelization work yet to be done. Different aspects of the Guadalupana have been stressed over the years, the early view was her motherly care for Spaniard and Indian alike. Although valid, the pro-life angle is an insight of the later 20th C.
    This uniquely beautiful image should not be sullied by silly fantasies!

  6. “The Spanish conquerors who took the Aztec capital in 1521 were the ones who abolished human sacrifice–immediately.”

    Yep. In fact, that was what prompted the first skirmish in Mexico City between the Spaniards and Aztecs: the former stopping a planned human sacrifice by the latter.

    Hernan Cortes had his flaws, but in this he was one of the world’s great inadvertent humanitarians.

  7. Cortez’ primary goals were glory and profit. He’ll never be canonized as a saint, but….he achieved much the same noteworthy accomplishment as Charles Martel.

    It is important to note that the Aztecs, emperors of Mexico and the architects and builders of a great city, were HATED by the other Indian tribes they ruled over. The Aztec practice of human sacrifice was not just backward but evil. Cortez made an alliance with the Tlaxcalan Indians, who were fierce warriors and fought on the side of the Spanish throughout the campaign. It was a relative of Montezuma who, in a dream, foretold of the coming of the Spanish conquistadores and of the end of the Aztec empire.

    Cortez and his men did on purpose smash the ugly stone images of the Aztec gods, some of them caked with dried human blood. He ordered the areas to be cleaned and in their place, put statues of the Virgin and the Christ Child. Once, he was mocked – “You expect ME to bow down to a woman and a baby!” and Cortez erupted in rage.

    For better or for worse, most of the leaders of the Aztecs ended up being put to death – this after some of Cortez’ men were sacrificed – La Noche Triste (The Sad Night).

    That is the extremely redacted Cliffs Notes version of the conquest of Mexico.

    Conversions to the Catholic faith came later. Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe helped to convert millions to the Catholic Church – far more than Luther, Calvin and Henry Tudor took out. It led to more than two thirds of the Western Hemisphere being Catholic – from Northern California to Tierra del Fuego, Florida, Texas and the American Southwest, Quebec, Western New York, Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley and everything south of the Rio Grande.

    There never has and never will be another be such a mass conversion to any Church. Islam swept through Arabia and North Africa and into Europe, but it was beaten back from Europe. The Church did not use war and the threat of death – not like Islam did and does – to evangelize the Americas.

    Given that without Catholic help (Spain and France) the American Republic would not have come to be – this Hemisphere should be consecrated in its entirety to Mary.

  8. The onslaught against the veracity of the Guadalupe story, and especially contra Juan Diego, is typical of a nihilist/rationalist age: certain facts arenecessarily ignored or discarded, such as the contemporaneous record of Juan Diego’s (“Cuauhtlatoatzin”, his Nahuatl name) death record in the archives of the University of Mexico (now UNAM), of all places, his death being on May 30th, 1548. This fragment was separate from the discovery of the Codex Escalada and was well known in the 1980’s—by those who cared to study the matter of “original records”.

    In many ways, those who questioned the existence of Juan Diego have now fallen silent, just as those “rationalists” did who previously claimed with increasing force in the 1st part of the 20th century, that no Latin historical record of a “Pontius Pilate” existed, so the Gospels were an obvious fiction—-all with increasing vigor in their assertions, until the 1961 archaelogical discovery at Caesarea Maritima, subsequently incontrovertibly verified, of a facing stone naming Pontius Pilate as “prefect of Judaea” responsible for building the theatre called the “Tiberium”, a record on a dedicatory slab in that city, sometime during the period AD 26-36. How silent they become, while they switch tactics!

  9. Mary De Voe: “Please see the oval on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The oval depicts her personal space, the space wherein Mary’s sovereignty begins and ends for Mary as a person, but never as Queen of heaven and earth.”

    Thank you Mary, I unwittingly think I have read and know everything on matters Catholic (an awful thing to admit: I am disproven every day): I did not know this and that is a profound statement (Mary as human person: Mary as sovereign Queen of Heaven and Earth).

  10. How very fascinating this post is.
    .
    Steve Dalton: Like Jesus, Mary willed to be in perfect conformity to the will of God. Mary told one of the seers, I believe at Fatima, that she comes from heaven at the will of God.

  11. Boy, am I embarrassed: Steve Phoenix. May I join your club.
    extenuating circumstances are that the website can only be accessed correctly through my e-mail and then only when I make a comment. At that time the other comments become visible. Sorry.

  12. I am thinking that if Mary had come before Cortes, the converts would have been slaughtered as well as the heathens, maybe even more.
    .
    “Hernan Cortes had his flaws, but in this he was one of the world’s great inadvertent humanitarians.”
    .
    I like use of the word “inadvertent humanitarian(s).”

  13. Ah, Hernan Cortes, one of the most fascinating of the Great Captains of History! I have always thought these words from Lepanto were perfectly applicable to him:

    But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
    The voice that shook our palaces – four hundred years ago:
    It is he that saith not ‘Kismet’; it is he that knows not Fate;
    It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey in the gate!

    Cortes was a Crusader. Always greedy for gold and lands and titles, he was no less greedy for the conversion of souls to Christ. He pleaded with the Spanish crown to send out priests who loved not wealth and ease, but who would meekly preach the Gospel and bring the souls of the Indians to Christ. As a ruler he stressed fair treatment of the Indians, and it was noted at the time that although he often came into conflict with Spanish settlers, the Indians usually liked and respected him, and looked to him for protection. Endlessly resourceful and endlessly optimistic he pulled off the equivalent of a military miracle and helped establish the foundation of a new civilization.

    Las Casas, who was ever the foe of Spanish mistreatment of the Indians, had nothing but good to say of Cortes:

    “And as to those who murmur against the Marqués del Valle [Cortés], God rest him, and who try to blacken and obscure his deeds, I believe that before God their deeds are not as acceptable as those of the Marqués. Although as a human he was a sinner, he had faith and works of a good Christian, and a great desire to employ his life and property in widening and augmenting the fair of Jesus Christ, and dying for the conversion of these gentiles… Who has loved and defended the Indians of this new world like Cortés?… Through this captain, God opened the door for us to preach his holy gospel and it was he who caused the Indians to revere the holy sacraments and respect the ministers of the church.”

  14. Sandra Miesel: “Although valid, the pro-life angle is an insight of the later 20th C.
    This uniquely beautiful image should not be sullied by silly fantasies!”
    .
    While I very much appreciate the information about the timing of Guadalupana, thank you, Cortes was the immediate cause of the cessation of human sacrifice and sent by Divine Providence, Our Lady is the constant cause of the cessation of human sacrifice from the beginning of time until the end of time.
    .
    Until the 20th century, abortion was not a cultural issue. Abortion has been legalized and inculturated and the people are being forced against their will by taxation to support the killing of innocent human beings in the womb. Divine Providence, God, has sent the Guadalupana to stand against any violation of the human person.
    .
    As a child of Mary, you know that Jesus Christ is a Divine Person and a human Person, a sovereign person who is enfranchised and entitled to every civil right of freedom that the state must observe. The crucifixion must bring us to our knees.

  15. chris c.: “I have no interest in pushing questionable science, but the article linked to above, doesn’t fully address all the scientific claims, some of which are recounted here.
    .
    The article is also a bit suspect because it states that St. Juan Diego was an Aztec, which he was not. He belonged to another native tribe that unlike the Aztecs, did not practice human sacrifice.”
    .
    If St. Juan Diego was not an Aztec,(questionable history) then, he (St. Juan Diego) was lucky to have escaped being human sacrifice, as are every person alive today, whose heart beats at eighteen days, of having escaped being aborted and having their heart and soul ripped from the womb.

  16. chris c.:
    “I’m not sure what point or points you are making Mary. Juan Diego was not an Aztec, but belonged to another native tribe, the Chichimeca.”
    .
    The link you offered is very good. I read it. My point is that abortion and infanticide is human sacrifice and abortionists and those committing infanticide are modern day Aztecs. Our Lady is as necessary now as She was in 1531.
    .
    The Virgin of Guadalupe came to call all men back to their initial virginity and innocence from their conception, through the Catholic Church and the Sacraments, the Aztec and the Chichimeca.

  17. Did I hear or read that Our Lady is depicted on the tilma as pregnant? In a town in which you can see a million images of her, including tattoos and pickup window art, Planned Parenthood is in the process of building a new abortion busines$s outlet that will do late term [i.e., up to the last day before birth, thank you Roe v Wade] abortions. On many days, every baby killed in this new horror chamber will be Hispanic, furthering PP’s RETA policy -Racial Eugenic Targeted Abortion. But for this policy in Texas, every statewide office would be held by a Hispanic person – but those murdered Hispanic babies cannot vote. Please ask Our Lady to shut down construction of this child sacrifice temple. Guy McClung, San Antonio

  18. Guy Mcclung: “Did I hear or read that Our Lady is depicted on the tilma as pregnant? In a town in which you can see a million images of her, including tattoos and pickup window art, Planned Parenthood is in the process of building a new abortion busines$s outlet that will do late term [i.e., up to the last day before birth, thank you Roe v Wade] abortions. On many days, every baby killed in this new horror chamber will be Hispanic, furthering PP’s RETA policy -Racial Eugenic Targeted Abortion. But for this policy in Texas, every statewide office would be held by a Hispanic person – but those murdered Hispanic babies cannot vote. Please ask Our Lady to shut down construction of this child sacrifice temple. Guy McClung, San Antonio”
    .
    “An individual substance of a rational nature” is St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of a person. There is no proof that an Hispanic would make an otherwise less than perfect servant of the people. Every person must be afforded due process of law for freedom to exist. That an unborn child, who is a person, brought into existence through an invitation by the conjugal act is criminally causing the death of his mother must be proved in a court of law. Capital punishment, the death penalty, can only be applied for capital one homicide. Prove it. Assisted suicide, too, must have informed consent. The person achieves informed consent at emancipation.
    .
    The mad mob mentality of Planned Parenthood is maniacal. Hitler would be vindicated.

  19. When Mary appeared to Juan Diego at Guadalupe, Mary appeared in both body and soul. If Mary had appeared in spirit only Mary’s hands could not have arranged the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma.
    .
    Saint Catherine Laboure placed her head in Our Lady’s lap. Catherine could not have placed her head in Mary’s lap if Mary was only a spirit.
    .
    Our Lady of Fatima held the children back from falling into hell with her hands.
    .
    Our lady of Mount Carmel handed St. Alan a scapular and rosary with her hands when Mary appeared.
    .
    The devil has no body. The devil cannot appear with a human body because the devil does not have a human body.

  20. When Our Lady appears at Medugorje, Mary accepts bibles and rosaries and medals and all kinds of sacramentals and blesses them and hands these physical things back to the seers, blessed. Mary could not hand these sacramental back to the seers if Mary was only a spiritual appearance.
    .
    The devil has no hands.

  21. Our Lady does not appear to the “seer$s” of Medugorje. Long ago I met a man from there and asked him what happened. He told me that some gypsy teenagers got caught smoking pot and lied that they had seen the Virgin-and the rest is history. Look at the real apparitions: poor children, poor innocents who never make a dime off apparitions. And look how they lived after the apparitions-they died poor or under vows of poverty. None of them lived on millionaire’s row in Medugorje. The seer$s have said Our Lady said things that are contrary to the magisterium; the young man whom Our Lady allegedly said was supposed to be ordained instead married a US beauty queen; and one seer$s number of daily apparitions increased when she needed more money for a house. The devil does not need his own hands when he has the hands of these s$eers-just follow the money flowing into their besotted filthy money-dirtied hands and the truth about this fraud is crystal clear. And then-apparently of little import to devotees-the magisterium on this point is that nothing supernatural happened or happens there. And then of course there is the history of the priests and nuns who fostered the entire fraud for their own benefit. Guy McClung, San Antonio.

  22. Guy Mcclung : ”
    Our Lady does not appear to the “seer$s” of Medugorje. Long ago I met a man from there and asked him what happened. He told me that some gypsy teenagers got caught smoking pot and lied that they had seen the Virgin-and the rest is history.”
    .
    Saint Pio, Padre Pio, believed in Our Lady of Medugorje and I base my belief on his. The truth will out. Too many people have crossed the line between church and state and I believe that this may be the case with the seers.

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