Our Lady of Guadalupe
El Rostro de la Virgen Guadalupe, Public Domain

This Sunday, December 12, we will have a dual celebration – Gaudete Sunday and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. While I’m excited to celebrate the joy of the third week of Advent, my Marian heart rejoices at the opportunity to venerate the BlessedVirgin Mary under another of her beautiful titles. For those of us in the Americas, this feast has particular significance.

If you are not familiar with the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I strongly encourage you to become familiar with them. Briefly, the Blessed Mother appeared four times in December 1531 to the Native American St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill in the area of modern-day Mexico City. She appeared as “the woman clothed with the sun” from the Book of Revelation with the moon under her feet and a crown of stars on her head. What’s even more striking about this vision is that our Lady was pregnant with the Child Jesus. She instructed Juan Diego to build a chapel in her honor on Tepeyac Hill So that she might show the mercy and majesty of God to all the children of the Americas. To prove to the local bishop that the apparitions were real, she caused a cluster of beautiful roses to grow on the hill in the middle of winter and left an image of herself as she had appeared imprinted on the tilma of the humble saint. This image, which is the only true image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Is a pictograph that could be read by the Aztec Indians and conveyed religious symbolism and theological messages and truths that could be easily understood by the Aztecs. This miraculous image cannot be explained by science and has been encased and displayed through the centuries in the Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. In the seven years following the apparitions, eight million people of Mexico were converted to the Catholic faith. 

We are blessed to have the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe here in the US, which is located in La Crosse Wisconsin. I’ve been there myself and it is one of the most beautiful Marian pilgrimage sites that I’ve visited. You can learn more about the shrine itself and the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe here.

I love that the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe takes place as Christmas approaches. There are two things, in particular, that strike me: the fact that Mary was pregnant and that she had the moon under her feet – a symbol of her power over Satan. She is the Virgin Most Powerful who crushes the serpent’s head and brings forth the Savior of the world. She is exactly what our country, our world, our Church need right now.


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