December 12

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico

The story goes that on this date in 1531, the Virgin appeared to native convert St. Juan Diego as he was going to get a priest to give last rites to his uncle. It was not the first time Juan Diego had seen the Mother of God. She had already asked him three times to have the bishop build a church on Tepeyac Hill outside Mexico City. But the bishop had not believed. The Virgin assured Juan Diego that his uncle would be well and gave him a sign to take right away to the bishop: roses suddenly blooming on the hill. Juan Diego gathered some, placed them in his cloak, and took them to the bishop's palace. When the bishop-elect finally gave him audience, Juan Diego shook out the roses, and there on his cloak was a fine image of the Lady he had seen. Meanwhile, the Virgin appeared to his uncle and healed him. Her miraculous portrait, on fiber of giant agave, is in the Basilica of Guadalupe, successor to the shrine on Tepeyac Hill, which draws over 5 million pilgrims a year. The Pope named Our Lady of Guadalupe patron saint of "New Spain" in 1754 and of the Americas in 1946. (Information from the Basilica's site,, and other sources. Picture from  

Que viva la Reína 
de los Mexicanos, 
la que con sus manos 
sembró rosas bellas 
y puso en el cielo 
millares de estrellas.

Now long live the Queen of
the Mexican people
who sowed by the handful
such beautiful flowers
and put in the heavens
bright stars without number.

(chorus of the popular hymn "Virgen Ranchera")

Also commemorated this date:

bulletNotre Dame de la Libération, Ambazac, Haute-Vienne, Limousin, France. Gothic statue installed in new chapel, 1948.
bulletVirgen de los Dolores, Virú, La Libertad, Peru. Multi-day patronal fiesta. Mass, night procession.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly