"The lady from Heaven"
Did you know?
- Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego on December 9, 10 and 12, 1531.
- The image left on Saint Juan Diego’s tilma is the only true picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in existence.
- The image has remained intact with all its original vibrancy for 475 years. The natural life span of a cloak made with fiber from the gave or maguey plant is only about 30 years.
- The image is a pictograph which could be read and understood by the Aztec Indians.
- Our Lady appears as a beautiful young Indian maiden and Queen.
- Her eyes are looking down with humility and compassion. She is human, not God.
- She is wearing a blue-green mantle (the color worn by royalty) covered with stars.
- The stars signify she comes from heaven – the Queen of Heaven. The constellations are in the exact position as appeared before dawn on the morning of December 12, 1531.
- Her robe is colored rose or pale red and covered with Aztec flowers, symbolic of an Aztec princess.
- In the center of her robe, overlying her womb, is a four petal quincunx flower in the shape of a cross which is the sign of the Divine and the center of the cosmic order to the Aztec. The Virgin’s Baby, Jesus, is Divine and the new center of the universe.
- Her hands are joined in prayer and, therefore, she is not God but clearly there is one greater than she and she points her finger to the cross on her brooch.
- Her fur cuffs symbolize royalty.
- She wears a black maternity band signifying she is with Child.
- A black cross is on the brooch around her neck. This signifies she is a follower of the God of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ who died on the cross for all.
- She stands in front of the sun. The sun symbolizes the greatest Aztec god – Huitzilopochtli. She announces the God who is greater than their sun god.
- She stands on the moon. The crescent moon symbolized the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent moon god. She has clearly crushed and defeated him.
- An angel with eagle’s wings supports the Mother of God. The eagle was the “bird of the sun.” Here the eagle is the servant of the Virgin. She holds her mantle in one hand and robe with the other, signifying the Son she bears is from both heaven and earth.
- To date the image cannot be explained by science.
- The image on the tilma was able to do what up to that time the missionaries were not able to do significantly. Namely, clearly explain Christianity to the Indian people. The proof is in the fact that after the apparitions, eight million natives of Mexico converted to Catholicism from 1531 to 1538.
Guadalupan Expert: Msgr. Eduardo Chávez Sánchez
Msgr. Eduardo Chávez Sánchez is co-founder and rector of the Institute for Guadalupan Studies, and is a canon of the Basilica of Guadalupe. Born in Mexico City, he studied philosophy and theology in the Institute for Ecclesiastical Studies at Mexico’s Conciliar Seminary. He was ordained on Aug. 15, 1981, in the Archdiocese of Mexico. He holds a diploma in philosophy from the Universidad del Valle de Atemajac in Guadalajara and, a doctorate in Church history from the Pontifical Gregorian University.