Our Lady of Guadalupe
Patroness of the Americas and the Unborn
On the American continent, Marian devotion is frequently centered around the figure of our Blessed Mother as she appeared in December of 1531 to the native American Saint Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill in the area of modern-day Mexico City. Our Blessed Mother actually appeared four times to Saint Juan Diego and once to his dying elderly uncle, Juan Bernardino. The fourth appearance to Saint Juan Diego was the most wonderful. A brief account of the apparitions will help to appreciate better God the Father’s purpose in sending the Blessed Mother to the American continent at Tepeyac and the important meaning of devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The first apparition took place on December 9, which at that time was the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in the Spanish Empire, of which Mexico was then a part. Our Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Juan Diego, an older native American who had recently lost his dear wife. Juan Diego himself died in 1548, seventeen years after the apparitions, at the age of 74. On May 6, 1990, Pope Saint John Paul II, during his second pilgrimage as Pope to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, declared Juan Diego blessed. Pope Saint John Paul II later canonized Juan Diego on July 31, 2002.