History of Miracle Sites Guadalupe Mexico Part 1

About Guadalupe, Mexico, history and location of the site of the miraculous appearances of the Virgin Mary.



The Site: Shrine of the Sainted Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, near Mexico City.

Original Miracle: Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian strong and wiry for his 57 years, ran effortlessly from his home village of Tolpetlac to the Church of Santiago in Tlaltelolco, some 5 mi. north of today's Mexico City. It was Dec. 9, 1531, Saturday, a day usually set aside for a Mass celebrated in honor of the Virgin Mary.

It was daybreak, and Juan hurried on his way noiselessly. Converted to Christianity by Franciscan missionaries in 1525 following the Spanish conquest of 1519-1521, Juan lived with his only remaining relative, a 70-year-old uncle, Juan Bernardino, who was also a Christian convert.

Now, as Juan continued his long run over the bleak hills on his way to Mass, a series of extraordinary events were about to begin. The next three days would leave him witness to several miracles, as well as provide the impetus for building one of the world's major religious shrines--Our Lady of Guadalupe.

While passing the barren hill of Tepeyac, once the site of a temple dedicated to Tonantzin, mother of the Aztec gods, he heard a melodious burst of bird chirping. Juan stopped to listen to the unusual sound, because this bleak area rarely entertained birds due to its lack of trees. Furthermore, it was winter and cold. Suddenly he heard a woman's voice calling him from higher up on Tepeyac: "Juan! Juan Diego! Juanito!"

The early clouds had broken, but a heavy mist appeared to hide the woman. Climbing higher, Juan entered the mist and saw a girl of about 16. Although it was too early for sunrise, golden beams splashed over her entire body.

Juan knelt before the apparition, and the girl asked his destination. He told her and she replied that she was the Virgin Mary, mother of the true God. She then told Juan that she wanted a sanctuary in her honor erected on this site, "where I will show my compassion." She told Juan to run to Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) and tell the bishop all that he had seen and heard.

Juan obeyed her instructions, but the bishop failed to believe him. Later that same afternoon, Juan returned to Tepeyac Hill and fell prostrate at the feet of the Virgin Mary. He wept and recounted what had occurred and urged the Virgin to send someone of high rank to the bishop who might more effectively relay her wishes. On Dec. 10, Juan, promised by the Virgin that no harm would come to him, returned to the bishop and repeated the entire story of meeting with the Virgin Mary, and again the bishop doubted him. Only 10 years before, the Spaniards had destroyed the Aztec temple for Tonantzin, and the superstitions of the Indians died hard.

The bishop sent Juan back to his Virgin Mary to ask for some sign or token that would substantiate his story, and he dispatched two servants to follow and report on what they saw or heard, but they lost sight of Juan when he reached the foot of Tepeyac.

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