In 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to an Indian convert named Juan Diego in Mexico. She asked simply that a Church be built in her honor on the hill where she had appeared. Juan was supposed to ask the bishop to build the church. Now the bishop was not about to go and build a church till he really was sure that it was the Blessed Virgin asking this. So he asked her to give him a sign.
Juan Diego went back to Mary and asked for a sign. She told him to pick the beautiful roses growing on the hillside. When Juan looked around he was surprised to actually see roses blooming there. It was the wrong time for flowers to be blooming, and there were no native rosebushes in Mexico at this time. So Juan very carefully cut the roses and put them in his tilma (a cape).
When Juan returned to the bishop he told him that he had the sign. He knelt down and opened up his tilma. The roses fell out onto the floor and there on his tilma the picture of Mary was imprinted. Juan Diego’s tilma remains today at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Studies have been done through the centuries but no scientist has been able to figure out how the portrait was impressed on the fabric. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of all the Americas.
Prayer to Say
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
Lace Up Tilma
Obtain a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe for each child. Give each child a piece of construction paper that is larger than the holy card so that holes can be punched along the edges. After gluing the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the front of the construction paper, colorful yarn can be laced through the holes around the edge. Leave a loop at the top, and the picture becomes a wall-hanging for the child’s room or a gift for someone else.
Invite someone from Mexico or of Mexican descent from your community to tell the story of Juan Diego and share some of the songs that celebrate the feast.