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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Lady of Guadalupe

In 1531 the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego as he was crossing a hillside near present day Mexico city. Imagine an average peasant man seeing the appearance of a dark skinned woman speaking Nahuatl, Juan Diego's native language. The woman asked Juan Diego to build a little house on the hill. Diego tried to relay the story to his local priest a couple of times. Doubt filled the bishop asked for proof.

On December 12th the lady appeared again to Juan and asked him to gather some flowers at the top of the hill. This seemed to be a strange request as it came in December when flowers were not in season. However, Juan Diego did as he was instructed and went and located an array of Castilian roses. 

The lady with the request helped him arrange them in his cloak and he returned to the bishop with them as evidence. As he was with the bishop the flowers tumbled out and when the men looked they were able to view a life size image of Virgin Mary on the inside of the cloak. The image became known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. While the Roman Catholic church did not declare the event a miracle it did however change the culture of the western world. 

Communities in Mexico, Latin America and the Southwestern United States hold this image of the Virgin Mary as a very dynamic and powerful figure. The image appears every where and on everything. Buildings, sides of trucks, tattooed on individuals are all common places for the image. In addition it is a strong statement of both America's Christian right and Catholic gang members. 

It is believed thru the image the virgin offers protection, listens to believers sorrows and alleviates their pain. The image can help to precede faith of believers by interceding on behalf of those who ask her for blessings. Spanish Missionaries were able to tell the story of the Lady of Guadalupe to the Aztecs during the 16th century. Thru the story many Aztecs were converted in beliefs away from the many gods that were worshiped. 

Today, some see the Lady of Guadalupe less than a religious symbol an more of general cultural symbol. The Lady represents as the champion of the underdog. A win for the Indians and all those that lack power in society. Therefore the Lady of Guadalupe remains relevant in the world as long as there are those that suffer.

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