Submitted by Javier,
Hastings Learning Centre, Hastings Racecourse, Vancouver
The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego for the first time on December 9th, 1531. She appeared on the mountain of Tepeyac when he was walking in the direction of the church to visit his uncle, Juan Bernardino, who was gravely ill and was not recovering his health.
Juan Bernardino received a spiritual healing from the Virgin of Guadalupe, and he recovered his health. The Virgin asked Juan Diego to build a church on the Mountain of Tepeyac where the ground was flat and the hills of the mountain would protect the church.
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The Franciscan Friar and Bishop Juan de Zumarraga did not approve this request, but the Virgin of Guadalupe persisted with her request to build the church.
The next day Friar Juan de Zumarrago examined the faith of Juan Diego and asked for proof that the Virgin of Guadalupe had appeared to him. So the Virgin of Guadalupe told Juan Diego to take some flowers into his cloak to show the bishop.
The Virgin of Guadalupe gave him roses, which are not native flowers of Mexico and never grow there. So it was a miracle that the Virgin created these roses.
Juan Diego put the roses in his cloak and went to show the bishop. When the Bishop received him, Juan Diego opened his cloak and the roses spilled out.
Then the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared on the inner folds of his cloak. She appeared like the true mother of God for whom all people are living.
The long, outer folds of her cloak were inlaid and adorned with an exact copy of the constellations as they appeared in the sky at that time and place in Mexico. The Bishop was transformed spiritually by the heavenly image and fell down on his knees in prayer and worship.
Then Juan de Zumarraga approved the construction of the Church on the mountain of Tepeyac.
Now, in the 21st century, four million people go every year to visit the Basilica de Guadalupe. It is the second most visited church in the world, after St. Peter’s at the Vatican. Sometimes in December, there are more people visiting the Basilica de Guadalupe than there are visiting St. Peter’s Cathedral at the Vatican.