Today is the Feast Day for the Virgin of Guadalupe,commemorating the appearances of the Virgin Mary to the poor Aztec (Nahuatl) Juan Diego in 1521. Juan had already converted to Christianity. For those of you who remember "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue," you know this is within thirty years of the discovery of the Americas.
Mary appeared to him four times, with a message for the Bishop. When the Bishop demanded a sign, Mary
The Virgin appeared with dark skin, like the Aztecs, and spoke in their native language. "La Morena" also reminded Aztecs of the goddess Tonantzin. They converted to Catholicism by the millions.
A shrine was built on the site of the appearances, in what is Mexico City today. Today's basilica, home to Juan Diego's mantle, is one of the most important sites within the Catholic Church.
|Banner from Hidalgo's Revolt|
The Virgin of Guadalupe holds a special place in the history of Mexico, in addition to religious matters. Migual Hidalgo y Costilla claimed her as the Patron Saint of his revolt against Spain. Her image appeared on their banners, and their battle cry was "Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe." Similar banners appeared with Emilio Zapata in 1914 and later rebels 1926-29.
This is Darlene Franklin, and Mexico has held a special place in my heart for many years.