Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of
Antioch, 1st c. A.D
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady, as an instrument of the Holy Ghost, is responsible for the
conversion of the Mexican people in the 16th c. when she appeared to
St. Juan Diego, a peasant. On this date in 1531, Juan saw a Lady Virgin
on Tepeyac Hill in what is now Mexico City. She requested that he go to
the Bishop in order to have a church built.
The Bishop, though, didn't believe Juan. Later that same day, Juan met
the Lady again, and she insisted that he return to the Bishop and make
her request again.
Once more, the Bishop disbelieved. He told Juan to ask the Lady for a
sign to prove who she is, so Juan returned to the place where he saw
the Lady. This time, she told Juan that she would give him a sign the
next day if he'd return to the hill.
By the time the next day came, Juan's Uncle had become very sick, so
Juan busied himself with getting a priest to visit with him. He was
embarrassed at not heeding the Lady's request, so took a route to avoid
the hill where he'd met the Woman. But the Lady appeared to him anyway
on that divergent path, and she admonished him for not returning to the
hill as she'd asked. She said to him, "¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu
madre?" ("Am I not here, I who am your mother?").
She told him, too, that his Uncle had been healed and that he should
now go to the hill and pick the flowers he'd find there. He obeyed, and
gathered up roses -- roses which shouldn't have been blooming at all at
that time of year. He wrapped them up in his cloak -- his "tilma" --
and rushed off to show the Bishop the sign that the Lady gave. And when
he unfurled his tilma before the Bishop, and the roses scattered to the
floor, there appeared on his cloak a miraculous image of the Lady he'd
(partially duplicated in the painting above), the nature of which is
unexplained by science, is extant today, though that tilma should have
disintegrated centuries ago. It is kept in the "New Basilica" a few
miles northeast of Mexico City, in the neighborhood of Villa de
Today's Feast remembers Our Lady's appearance to St. Juan Diego, and as
she is Patroness of the Americas, it is a very
important Feast for those who live in "the New World" to thank God for
favorite daughter/mother/spouse in such a miraculous and effective way.
In Mexico City, twelve days of prayer -- a "dozavario" -- precede this
feast. The time from December 1 to to today is filled with Masses,
processions, Rosaries, and fireworks, and
culminates with Catholics lighting torches from fire lit in the
sanctuary of the Basilica and bringing the fire, which symbolizes the
light of Christ, back to their own parishes and homes in relays. And
all the while, millions of pilgrims pour
into the city. On the eve of this feast, churches are filled in
anticipation of serenading the Virgin early the next day, on "the
morning of the Guadalupana.".
And, of course, there is special music for the day. One song heard
throughout the celebrations is La
Guadalupana, which you can listen to below. Lyrics follow:
Desde el cielo
una hermosa mañana (2x)
La Guadalupana, la Guadalupana,
La Guadalupana bajo al Tepeyac (2x)
Suplicante juntaba sus manos (2x)
Y eran mexicanos, y eran mexicanos
Y eran mexicanos su porte y su faz. (2x)
Junto al monte pasaba Juan Diego (2x)
Y acercose luego, y acercose luego
Y acercose luego al oír cantar. (2x)
A Juan Diego la Virgen le dijo (2x)
Este cerro elijo, este cerro elijo
Este cerro elijo para hacer mi altar. (2x)
Desde entonces para el mexicano (2x)
Ser Guadalupano, ser Guadalupano,
Ser Guadalupano es algo esencial. (2x)
From Heaven, one
beautiful morning (2x)
La Guadalupana, La Guadalupana,
La Guadalupana came down to Tepeyac. (2x)
Both her hands she folded in prayer, (2x)
And her hands were Mexican! And her hands were Mexican!
And her hands were Mexican as was her face! (2x)
Juan Diego crossed over the hilltop, (2x)
But he came near and stopped, but he came near and stopped,
But he came near and stopped when he heard a song. (2x)
To Juan Diego the Virgin did say, (2x)
"This hill I have chosen, this hill I have chosen,
This hill I have chosen to become my shrine." (2x)
Since then for every Mexican (2x)
Being a Guadalupano, being a Guadalupano,
Being a Guadalupano is essential. (2x)
Elsewhere in Mexico and in North American parishes with large Mexican
populations, this day is particularly celebrated, with processions,
dancing, traditional Mexican and Indian costumes, a blessing of roses,
and delicious Mexican foods, such as tamales, gorditas, tacos al
pastor, and buñuelos -- fried cakes of dough
either drizzled with honey or syrup, or coated with sugar and cinnamon.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup cold water
As desired: honey, syrups, cinnamon-sugar mixture
Mix flour, powder, salt, and the sugar. Add the shortening
and mix until you get a mixture that may remind you of wet sand.
Gradually add the water, a tiny bit at a time until it's all
incorporated. Knead a few times on on a floured surface, then cover the
dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Pour about an inch of the oil into a large skillet and heat
up to medium heat.
When your oil is hot enough, grab pieces of the dough and
form into balls that are about 2 1/2 inches in size (you should have
around 24 balls. Keep them covered as you roll them up.). Next, roll a
couple of the balls out to form very thin disks about 5 inches around.
Keep the dough covered wile you fry the rolled out circles in the hot
oil for about 2 minutes, and then flip and fry for about 2 minutes
more. Drain on paper towels, and either sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar
mixture, or serve with honey or syrups. Repeat with the rest of the
In parts of Puerto Rico, celebrations being in the pre-dawn hours, in
the morning -- la mañana -- which gives to the proceedings the name
"Las Mañanitas." A parade, Mass, and great communal breakfast mark the
occasion. "Las Mañanitas" is also the name of the birthday song sung in
Mexico and many South American countries, and this song is sung to the
Virgin on this day there.
And speaking of music, I have to bring your attention to a seven-voice
musical group called Savae, which uses the traditional wind and
percussion instruments of the Aztecs to make beautiful Catholic music,
a fusion of Indigenous American and Colonial Spanish music. Their music
is historically authentic, based on musical transcriptions found in
cathedral archives in Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. In other words, their
music reflects what the Church Militant would have heard in 16th.
century Central and South America. A sample of their work: De La
When all the singing, dancing, and feasting is done, it is a
too, to reflect deeply on Our Lady's appearance at Fatima,
her warning about Russia spreading "her errors," and the brutal reality
of that prophecy come true, both in terms of literal Communism and in
terms of cultural Marxism -- in Mexico, in Spain, in China, Cuba,
Brazil, the U.S.A., etc. Recall these two apparitions, study the
history of Revolutions (from the traditional Catholic perspective),
read papal encyclicals concerning Communism and Freemasonry, learn
about the brave Mexican Cristeros who held out as best they could
against Masonic revolution, and pray that all will come to know that
Christ is King.
By the way, the
miraculously blooming roses found by the
now-Sainted Juan Diego were "Castilian Roses" (also called "Damascus
Roses"), or Rosa damascena, which didn't grow in Mexico but
were native to Spain.
As to movies, for the Spanish-speakers, there is a one about the
appearance of Our Lady to St. Juan Diego: "Las Rosas del Milagro"
Another movie that may be of interest on this day is "For Greater Glory" (2012),
about the Mexican Cristeros.
And to get a feel for the sort of world that was converted by the
Spanish, watch Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto,"
a visually stunning movie that shows the nightmarish world Our Lady of
Guadalupe helped change. It's a violent movie, not for children, so be