History of Apparitions: Spotlight on Our Lady of Guadalupe

Rome Reports

January 10, 2011. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic landmark in the Americas.

Every year more than 20 million people gather in this basilica located on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico, where the Virgin Mary appeared four times to native-indian saint, Juan Diego in 1531.

During the apparition, the Virgin asked him if he could make a shrine here. The bishop of the area summoned Juan Diego to see if he was indeed telling the truth and asked him to bring roses from the hill where Mary appeared.

Fr. Salvatore Perrella
Vice President, Pontifical Marianum Theological Faculty (Rome)
The Tepeyac hill is very rocky and it’s very hard to find roses, especially in December. Nevertheless, the farmer Juan Diego found what the bishop had asked of him. He put the roses in his cloak and went to the bishop. He said ‘here is the proof that you need’ and opened his cloak, he discovered that in place of the roses was this beautiful image of the Virgin Mary, who appeared dressed like a native Indian, with native Indian features.”

The last vision of the Virgin of Guadalupe was on December 12th, the day the feast is celebrated. It’s a special day for the Americas, especially Mexico, whose patroness is the Lady of Guadalupe.

Fr. Salvatore Perrella
Vice President, Pontifical Marianum Theological Faculty (Rome)
“The Mexican identity owes a lot to Mary, because she made them discover this identity, this unity of the Mexican people.”

Perrella, who is an expert of apparitions, says that when the Virgin appears, she normally asks for the construction of a shrine.

Fr. Salvatore Perrella
Vice President, Pontifical Marianum Theological Faculty (Rome)

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a place of worship in honor of the Virgin. Mary asked the Indian Juan Diego to construct a church to worship the true God. Because of this, the shrine of Guadalupe is not just a Marian shrine, but it is also a sanctuary in which Christ is the center of focus.”

In 1990, during the second journey of John Paul II to Mexico, he declared the indian Juan Diego blessed. In 2002, he became a saint.

In all of the Catholic Church’s history, the Vatican has only recognized 15 apparitions of the Virgin Mary. And the Virgin of Guadalupe is one of these.

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