December 12th, Our Lady of Guadalupe

Ever heard of this day? It’s a beautiful story.

Picture a cool December day all the way back to 1531. Juan Diego raised by his uncle in the Aztec pagan religion converted to Roman Catholicism, some time around 1524. Was a devote worshiper and walked 15 miles each day to morning mass.

This guy can really say, uphill, in the snow, with no shoes. I found two articles I enjoyed about Juan’s life. This one from Catholic.org, gives a little more detail about the event I’m going to share with you. While this article from Vatican.va shares more information around Juan’s life.

On December 9th, 1531, Juan, on his morning mass walk, was interrupted by a woman who called to him. She radiated beauty and introduced herself as “ever-perfect holy Mary, who has the honor to be the mother of the true God.” In other words, Virgin Mary, Mother Mary, and a variety of other names she goes by. She explained she wanted Juan to go to his Bishop and request a shrine to be built at Tepeyac Hill. Now known as Mexico City. In turn she would pour out her grace upon those who gave requests to her. Juan tried to explain this would be difficult as he was no body and likely they would not listen to him. She persisted and Juan obeyed, going to his Bishop.

Juan was correct, the bishop didn’t believe his story and requested proof this Mary and her request. My first thought her was, seems easy enough, if she is still there, right?

This bishop interaction has a few variations in my findings. Some say he demanded proof, some say he requested it, while others say he simply asked for time to contemplate the information. I leave how you want to interpret this to you.

From here he journeyed back to Virgin Mary to explain what happened and sharing his need for proof. She asked Juan to return the next day, then she would provide him with the proof he needed (December 11th).

Here is the deal though, even back in the 1500’s people had lives to live and distractions from spiritual connections. See where this is going…

The next day Juan intended to return, but his beloved uncle, who raised him, was struggling with his health. He became very ill, and Juan didn’t want to leave his side this day. Now the next day, December 12th, Juan’s uncle became too sick Juan went to find a priest for him. Knowing he might encounter Virgin Mary and he was in such a hurry for his uncle, while carrying the guilt of ghosting her…Now that’s anxiety!

I do always find it funny in these stories when people try to outsmart a Deity, Goddess, God, or another Spiritual being.

Of course, she found him and asked him what was wrong. After explaining his uncle’s situation and that he must find a priest, she asked him “No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?)

I think at this point I wouldn’t have words and would be staring at her with my mind flooding with thoughts and fear.

She assured Juan she would cure his uncle and requested he climb Tepeyac Hill and collect the flowers growing there (…in December, on a rocky hill…). He did find beautiful roses that were not native to the land and gathered them in his cloak and returned to Mary.

She arranged the flowers in Juan’s cloak and said he should return to the bishop and present his findings to him. He of course did. Upon finding the bishop, Juan opened his cloak presenting not only roses falling to the floor, but also now an image on the inside of his cloak!

This image in Juan’s cloak still exists today! You can learn more about his cloak here.

The next day Juan found his uncle fully recovered and his own miraculous story of meeting Mary. She requested the erection of the structure, but also that she would be known as the Lady of Guadalupe.

Give the series of events, within a year a chapel was completed. The imprinted cloak was put on display and later Juan was granted permission to live on the land of Tepeyac where he also was buried later.

I find this story so beautiful. The love for his uncle. The humility that persisted around everyone. And acceptance of a miracle only spirit can deliver. I did a lot of readings on this to feed my curiosity. There’s a lot of writings you can find, which I included links to some of my favorites throughout this article.