*We highlight these Saints to inspire our students and contribute to their growth in Catholic education by fostering understanding and appreciation for Catholic values and teachings. We encourage parents to share the stories of these Saints with their children to deepen their spirituality and motivate them to live their faith with conviction, following the examples of these admired role models.*
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a beloved figure for Catholics around the world, and she is especially revered in Mexico, where she is known as the “Empress of the Americas.” Her apparition to Juan Diego in 1531 and the miraculous image that was imprinted on his tilma (cloak) are some of the most well-known and beloved events in Catholic history. Our Lady of Guadalupe is special to our community because of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School, located in Deer Park, NY.
In 1531, Our Lady appeared to a humble Aztec peasant named Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill, near what is now Mexico City. She asked him to tell the bishop to build a church on that spot, so that she could be close to her people and help them to know and love her Son, Jesus Christ.
Juan Diego obeyed, but the bishop was skeptical. He asked for a sign to prove that Our Lady was truly who she said she was. Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac Hill, where Our Lady gave him a bouquet of roses to bring to the bishop.
“I will give Him to the people in all my personal love, in my compassion, in my help, in my protection: because I am truly your merciful Mother, yours and all the people who live united in this land and of all the other people of different ancestries, my lovers, who love me, those who seek me, those who trust in me.”Our Lady of Guadalupe
Juan Diego’s uncle, Juan Bernardino, had fallen ill, and Juan Diego needed to care for him. On the day that he was supposed to go to the bishop with the roses, Juan Diego decided to take a different route to avoid Our Lady. But she appeared to him anyway.
“Where are you going, my son?” she asked.
Juan Diego told her that his uncle was ill and that he needed to go home to care for him.
“Am I not here,” she said, “I, who am your Mother? Do not let anything worry you. Your uncle is already cured.”
Juan Diego went home and found his uncle completely healed. The next day, he took the roses to the bishop, and when he opened his tilma to show the roses to him, a miraculous image of Our Lady was imprinted on the fabric.
The bishop was convinced, and he ordered a church to be built on Tepeyac Hill. The news of Our Lady’s apparition and the miraculous image spread quickly, and people from all over the country began to come to the church to pray and to ask for her intercession.
Our Lady’s compassion for her people was evident in her desire to help them to know and love Jesus Christ. She knew that they were suffering greatly under the Spanish conquest, and she wanted to bring them hope and consolation. She appeared to Juan Diego in the form of a mestiza (half-Spanish, half-Indian) woman, as a sign of her identification with the Mexican people. She also spoke to Juan Diego in Nahuatl, their native language, so that they could understand her message. In the next few decades after the apparition, countless natives converted to Catholicism and began to love and have a relationship with Jesus and Our Lady.
“Let not your heart be disturbed… Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”Our Lady of Guadalupe
We can take many things from this wonderful story! But, let’s focus on one thing: trust. When Juan Diego’s uncle was ill, Our Lady taught him a beautiful lesson: “”Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?” Just like Juan Diego, Our Lady tells us that she is always with us, that she knows our concerns, that she understands our struggles, and that she is taking care of us. We need to let go of everything, and trust that Our Lady will take care of it. In the same way as Juan Diego, when we do what God has asked us to do, Jesus and Our Lady will take care of the rest. We have nothing to worry about!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!