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To: nickcarraway
A little bit about the cloak:

Guadalupe--La Virgen Indígena

"La Reina de México"

By Dale Hoyt Palfrey

(Dale Hoyt Palfrey, a freelance writer, translator and public relations consultant has called Ajijic, Jalisco home since 1972.)

In 1523, just two years after the Aztec capital of Tenochitlan fell to Hernán Cortés and his Conquistadors, the first Roman Catholic missionaries arrivd to begin the religious conquest of Mexico.

Fray Bernadino de Sahagún and his fellow Franciscan brothers immediately immersed themselves in the intensive study of indigenous tongues along with the history, customs and religious practices of the Mexicas, whom they called Aztecs. Soon fluent in Nahuatl, they proceded to translate religious texts and teach the Christian doctrines.

Among their first converts was a man baptized with the Christian name Juan Diego. On the chilly morning of December 9, 1531, Juan Diego crossed the barren hill called Tepeyac to attend Mass. He was brought to a sudden halt by a blinding light and the sound of unearthly music. Before him appeared virgin of guadalupe an astounding vision--a beautiful dark-skinned woman who, calling the Indian "my son," declared herself to be the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. She told Juan Diego it was her desire to have a church built on Tepeyac hill, and asked him to relay that message to Bishop Juan de Zumarraga.

It was no easy task for the humble Indian to be granted an audience with the top prelate, but the persistent Juan Diego was finally admitted. The incredulous Bishop demanded that he be provided with some proof of the unlikely encounter. Confused and fearful, Juan Diego avoided Tepeyac for several days, but on December 12, while rushing to find a priest to attend a seriously ill uncle, he took a short cut across the hill. The Virgin once again appeared and Juan Diego told her of the Bishop's request. The Virgin instructed him to pick roses from the usually sere and desolate hill and deliver them to Zumarraga as the sign.

Juan Diego gathered up the miraculous blossoms in his mantle and hurried off to complete his mission. Once again before the Bishop, he let the roses spill out before him. To the wonder of all assembled, a perfect image of La Virgen Morena (the Dark Virgin) was revealed emblazoned on Juan Diego's cloak.

By order of the Bishop, a small church was soon constructed on the site designated by the Virgin. Skeptics are quick to point out the unlikely coincidence of the Virgin's appearance on Tepeyac, the very site of an Aztec temple dedicated to Tonatzin (earth godess, mother of the gods and protectress of humanity) which had been devastated by order of Bishop Zumarraga.

The original church was replaced by a larger structure built in 1709. The Miracle of Guadalupe was officially recognized by the Vatican in 1745. The second sanctuary was declared a Basilica in 1904, but by then it had begun to slowly sink into the soft, sandy soil beneath it. A new Basilica, of modern design and enormous capacity, was dedicated in October of 1976.

In this and other churches dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe throughout the nation, millions of the faithful will gather December 12 for processions, prayers, songs, dances, and fireworks to honor "La Reina de México" (the Queen of Mexico).

Juan Diego's mantle, carefully preserved in the new Basilica, has been subjected to extensive analysis over the years. Experts have authenticated the fabric as dating to the 16th century, but have been unable to determine the type of pigment from which the image was rendered. It seems doubtful that in the Colonial era in Mexico human hands were capable of creating a portrait of its exquisite nature. Most wonderous of all, after 465 years, the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe remains clearly imprinted on the miraculous cloak without visible signs of deterioration.

7 posted on 12/06/2003 2:35:38 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All; nickcarraway
The Legend of Guadalupe

The Legend Of Guadalupe

The Legend of Guadalupe

For more than three hundred years, the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe has been celebrated and revered in Mexico as the Patroness of Mexican and Indian peoples, and as the Queen of the Americas.

She stands on home altars, lends her name to men and women alike, and finds herself at rest under their skin in tattoos. Guadalupe’s image proliferates on candles, decals, tiles, murals, and old and new sacred art. Churches and religious orders carry her name, as do place names and streets. Far from vulgarizing her image, these items personalize her and maintain her presence in daily life. She is prayed to in times of sickness and war and for protection against all evils.

The story of Guadalupe begins in December 1531 in Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) when the Virgin Mary appeared four times to the Indian peasant Juan Diego. He was on his way to mass when a beautiful woman surrounded by a body halo appeared to him with the music of songbirds in the background. As the birds became quiet, Mary announced “I am the Entirely and Ever Virgin, Saint Mary”. Assuring Juan Diego that she was his “Compassionate Mother” and that she had come out of her willingness to love and protect “all folk of every kind, she requested that he build a temple in her honor at the place where she stood, Tepeyac Hill, on the eastern edge of Mexico City. (This spot has been identified as the site where once stood a temple to the Aztec goddess Tonantzin.)

Juan Diego went directly to the bishop of Mexico, Zumarraga, to relate this wondrous event. The churchman was skeptical and dismissed the humble peasant, who then returned to Tepeyac Hill to beseech the Virgin Mary to find a more prominent person who was less “pitiably poor” than he to do her bidding. Rejecting his protestations, the Virgin urged him to return to the bishop and “indeed say to him once more how it is I Myself, the Ever Virgin Saint Mary, Mother of God, who am commissioning you.”

Juan Diego returned to the churchman’s palace after mass, waited, and was finally able to enter his second plea on behalf of the Virgin. This time, Zumarraga asked the humble native to request a sure sign directly from the “Heavenly Woman” as to her true identity. The bishop then had some members of his staff follow Juan Diego to check on where he went and whom he saw.

The next day, Juan Diego hastened to the bedside of his dying uncle, Juan Bernadino. The old man, gravely ill, begged his nephew to fetch a priest for the last rites of the church. The following morning, before dawn, Juan Diego set off on this mission. He tried to avoid the Virgin because of his uncle’s worsening condition, but she intercepted him and asked “Whither are you going?” He confessed that it was on behalf of his uncle that he was rushing to summon a priest. During this third meeting, she assured him that the uncle was “healed up”, as she had already made a separate appearance to him. This visitation would start a tradition of therapeutic miracles associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe. She also comforted Juan Diego with the assurance that she would give him sure proof of her real identity.

On December 12, 1531 the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego for the fourth time and bade him to go to the top of Tepeyac Hill and pick “Castilian garden flowers” from the normally barren summit. She helped him by “taking them up in her own hands” and folded them into his cloak woven of maguey plant fibers. Juan Diego then set off to Zumarraga’s palace with this sure sign of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe’s identity. As he unwrapped his cloak, the flowers tumbled at the churchman’s feet, and “suddenly, upon that cloak, there flashed a Portrait, where sallied into view a Sacred Image of that Ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God.”

This imprint of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, the “Miraculous Portrait” as it is often called, hangs today in the Basilica of Gudalupe in Mexico City.




8 posted on 12/06/2003 2:54:30 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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