Considered the hardcore start of the holiday season, December 12 aptly starts off with Virgin de Guadalupe. Appearing to Juan Diego on December 9, 1531, on the Hill of Tepeyac, (now a suburb of Mexico City) Mother Maria spoke to Juan in his native Nahuatl language (said to be the language of the Aztec empire.) the maiden identified herself as the Virgin Mary, “mother of the very true deity” and asked for a church to be built at that site in her honor. This was one helluva task for Juan but he went to big wigs of the still new Catholic Church in the part of the world and they told him to bring back a miracle or GTFO. He tried to avoid the next progress meeting with Maria and took another route home. But She being of magical multi-locational abilities found him and asked why Juan didn’t come to Her in the first place?
“¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?”
(Am I not here, I who am your mother?)
Being a reasonable project manager, She miraculously healed Juan’s Uncle then told Juan to go back to Tepeyac Hill and bring back the flowers blooming there. Juan remarked it was December and doubtful anything was growing butfollowed her instructions because, orders. Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, were blooming there. Good choice, Juan!
“The Virgin arranged the flowers in Juan’s tilma, or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before archbishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.”
The cloak still exists in the church on the hill Our Lady asked Juan Diego to build.
It’s a fascinating story and there are old documents from the Catholic Church of the meetings and the cloak is a puzzler much like the Shroud of Turin. In recent years the Virgin of Guadalupe has been made Empress Saint of the Americas and she resides over issues that seem more convenient for the Church than for what she was asking. The Nahuatl religion was folded into Catholicism.
She brought blooming roses in December and healed a dying man. She made the leaders of the Church take orders from a 56 year old dirt farmer. As far as saints’ stories go, this is pretty, sweet, funny. No disembowlments or burning at the stake. Maybe Mother Maria really was the original Nahuatl deity finding a way to help her people go into the inevitable Catholic Church takeover without blood and suffering.