In Mexico in 1531, Our Lady appeared to a humble Indian, St. Juan Diego, and asked him to go to the bishop and ask for a church to be built where she appeared. St. Juan Diego took miraculous roses (this was winter time) in his tilma (cape) to the bishop as a sign of Our Lady’s request; when he opened his tilma, a beautiful image of Our Lady as she appeared to St. Juan Diego miraculously appeared on the tilma.
Our Lady’s words are so motherly and comforting: “Dear little son, I love you. I want you to know who I am. I am the ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life.” She went on: “I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all who live united in this land, and of all mankind, and of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me. Here, I will hear their weeping and their sorrows and will remedy and alleviate their sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.” (As she requested, the church was built.)
She also said to St. Juan Diego, “Listen, and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son, do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your Fountain of Life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”
The image has never disintegrated and is venerated to this day. Our Lady’s feast day under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12. In 1946 Pope Pius XII declared her Patroness of the Americas.
This beautiful Our Lady of Guadalupe prayer dates back to the early 20th century. Regarding the title “Mystical Rose,” Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction explains:
“Our Lady of Guadalupe has also been associated with the title Mystical Rose – a title associated with the words of the Beloved in Canticle of Canticles 2:1, ‘I am the Rose of Sharon. I am the Lily of the valleys.’ Tradition has understood the Beloved of this biblical love poem to be not only an image of Israel, but also of the Church, the new Israel.
“Mary, because she signifies the Church by her very person, has also been associated with these words as has every soul that is generous in responding to the love of God. For Saint Bernard, the delicate beauty of a rose is in contrast to its thorns and signifies the spiritual passion and purity of charity.
“He teaches that, in contrast with Eve’s disobedience by which we lost access to God, Mary’s obedience gave us Christ Jesus – the image of the invisible God, the One who is our total access to all true worship of the Lord.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe’s miraculous image shows her pregnant. She is a special patroness of the unborn. Let us ask for her powerful intercession to end the scourge of abortion in our land and throughout the whole world!
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
make intercession for holy Church,
protect the sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke you in their necessities,
and since you are the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from your most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
of burning charity, and the precious gift
of final perseverance.