On Dec. 12 we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is the feast of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego, a native Mexican peasant who experienced apparitions of Mary on the Hill of Tepeyac in present-day Mexico City.
There are many stories of saints that inspire us. One saint in particular that always seems to inspire is St. Juan Diego. Perhaps it is because Juan Diego’s story is so humbling. We know he was a simple man whose faith and persistence ultimately impacted millions of people to convert to Catholicism. Even today his story impacts us. Why did Mary choose Juan Diego to appear to? Why did he listen? To answer this, we need to examine what transpired on that day (Dec. 9) in 1531.
While walking up the hill of Tepeyac, Juan Diego — a weaver, farmer and laborer — encountered a beautiful lady who appeared to him, humbling him to his knees. He learned that she was Mary, the mother of Jesus. She spoke to him in the native language of the Aztecs. After identifying herself to him she spoke these words:
My son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-Virgin Mary; mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth and I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask for my help in their work and in their sorrows will know their mother’s near in this place. Here I will see their fears and I will console men and they will be at peace.
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