On December 12th each year, all of Mexico celebrates the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the nation’s most beloved miraculous image. It is permanently printed on a 400 year old piece of ordinary agave cloth which hangs in the basilica in Mexico City at the foot of Tepeyac Hill. It is on that hilltop that Mary with the complexion and royal colors of an Aztec appeared to a lowly peasant, Juan Diego, four centuries ago. Saint Juan Diego was canonized recently by Pope John Paul II.
The story of how the image came to be is woven with Castilian roses, a native species of Damascus, Syria brought by the Romans to Europe. In the story, Juan Diego must convince the bishop that he has indeed seen the “Shining Lady” in the midst of winter. She instructs Juan to climb Tepeyac Hill to gather fresh roses growing out of season at her command. He gathered them into his cloak to carry to the bishop. When he opened the cloak the flowers spilled out revealing the miraculous image on the cloth for the first time.
After Juan’s earlier visits to the bishop about the Lady, the priest did not believe the Indian. Secretly the bishop prayed for a sign of Castilian roses from Spain, knowing that would be impossible in the New World and in the winter. Juan’s miracle was not merely the image but the fact that the roses he gathered were indeed redolent Castilian perfume roses growing on the other side of the world from his homeland.
Discover Mo Gilmer’s path to garden spirituality and details of the story of the miraculous tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe with God In The Garden and Rooted In The Spirit.
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