In December of 1531, a poor Nahuatl Aztec Indian named Juan Diego was walking through the hills outside of Mexico City on his way to Mass. He heard sweet music and a woman’s voice calling his name from a hill called Tepeyac.
Juan Diego climbed the hill and found a woman who looked like she was also Aztec and dressed in traditional Aztec clothing. She identified herself as the Virgin Mary and instructed Juan Diego to tell his bishop to build a shrine on Tepeyac to encourage faithfulness in the people of Mexico City.
When he heard Juan Diego's request, the bishop was skeptical and asked for a sign as proof. When Juan Diego went back and gave this message to Mary, she instructed him to go to the top of Tepeyac hill and pick the roses he would find there. Juan Diego gathered the roses in his tilma, a cloak-like a poncho, and Mary arranged the flowers and told him to take them to the bishop.When Juan showed the bishop the roses, they realized an image of Mary was left upon Juan’s cloak. The bishop, immediately convinced, ordered a shrine be built on Tepeyac. Soon, some 8 million people had come to the faith because of Mary’s apparition. Juan Diego’s tilma was framed and kept in the shrine. It was made of a rough material from cactus and should have decayed within a few decades, but 500 years later is still an object of wonder for millions of pilgrims today.
Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared patroness of the Americas. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast Day is celebrated on December 12th.
(For a short reflection on the importance of this feast during the Advent season, read the following essay from theology professor and Guadalupe scholar Maxwell Johnson here.)
Join us on Saturday, December 12th as we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a Notre Dame Family. Beloved ND priest Fr. Pat Neary will celebrate mass from Holy Redeemer Parish in Portland, Oregon. For many years Fr. Pat celebrated Spanish mass for ND students and celebrated this feast day at the Sacred Heart Basilica.
There will be some traditional songs sung before mass begins at 12 pm PT. Tune in on the Holy Redeemer Facebook page for the live stream