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La virgen De Guadalupe
On December 9, 1531, on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City, Our Blessed Lady appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian (canonized on July 31, 2002, as Saint Juan Diego by Pope John Paul II). While on his way to attend mass he heard sounds of chirping birds and beautiful music, wondering where it was coming from and its meaning. Then he heard a voice calling him. There she revealed herself to him as "the Ever Virgin Mother of the True God," and made known her desire that a Shrine be built there to bear witness to her love, her compassion, and her protection. She sent him to Bishop Juan de Zumarraga in Mexico City to request her great desire.
On December 12, while on his way to bring a priest to his dying uncle, Our Lady appeared to him for the fourth time. She assured him of his uncle's recovery and told him to gather fresh roses which he would find growing on the frosty summit of the rocky and barren hill. This done, she arranged the castilian roses in his tilma (cloak) and hurried him to the Bishop, giving him an account of their origin. This is what is known as "The Miracle of the pink roses."
To the Bishop's amazement, when Juan opened up his tilma before him there was painted upon it a miraculous beautiful image of Our Lady exactly as she had appeared on Mount Tepeyac. The Bishop prostrated himself in veneration and soon after began the building of the Shrine on the top of Mount Tepeyac. The Basilica in Mexico City is the most important Shrine to Our Blessed mother, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe in all the American continents.
Juan Diego's cloak, marvelously preserved, can still be seen behind the main altar in the new Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is near the original Basilica site she requested. Millions from all over Mexico and the world make their way to venerate Our Blessed Mother and to implore her intercession. She stated to Juan, "Am I not here as your Mother?"
The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Indian Juan Diego in December of 1531 generated the conversion of Mexico, Central and South America to Catholicism. Indeed, the Blessed Virgin Mary entered the very lifestream of Central America and became an inextricable part of Mexican life and a central figure to the history of Mexico itself. To this date the most important religious celebration in Mexico and Central America is December 12, the feast-day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her appearance in the center of the American continents has contributed to the Virgin of Guadalupe being given the title "Mother of the Americas."