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She entrusted Juan Diego with a mission—to go and ask the bishop to build a shrine in her name. To convince the bishop, Our Lady gave Juan Diego a sign: She made roses bloom, even though it was the dead of winter. That tilma is still hanging, almost years later, in the Basilica built not far from the site where she first appeared.

Alongside great founding figures and events in the history of the Americas, Guadalupe and Juan Diego hardly rate a footnote. But I believe that this event is in fact the crucial moment in the history of the United States, and of every country in the Americas. Writing in a time of chaos and conflict in the early Church, St.

It is as if we have woken up to discover that our society is no longer Christian. Of course, in many ways our nation has never lived up to Christian values. We could point to the original sin of slavery, to the tragic mistreatment of native populations, to ongoing injustices such as racism, and to the million or more abortions performed each year. This is what is changing right now. We face an aggressive, organized agenda by elite groups who want to eliminate the influence of Christianity from our society. As America faces spiritual crisis, some urge a return to the vision of the Founders.

We would do better to turn to Our Lady, America's true foundress. Our Lady did not appear only for the Mexican people. Her intentions were continental and universal. We are all children of Guadalupe and Guadalupe gives us the true history of America. A new world of faith. Within a few years of this apparition, millions came to be baptized in Mexico and throughout the Americas.

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A great wave of holiness swept through the continents, raising up saints and heroes of the faith in every country. When St. He arrived at Veracruz and he immediately started walking the miles to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. When he got there he spent the night in prayer, and in the morning he offered the Eucharist, consecrating his American mission to the Virgin. We need to follow this example. The way forward for our Church and our country is a return to Guadalupe.

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We need to follow the path that the Virgin sets before us—the path of building a new civilization of love and truth in the Americas. Our Lady of Guadalupe entrusted St. Juan Diego with a task: to build a shrine in her name. When he first meets the Mother of God, Juan Diego protests that he is not strong enough, not holy enough, to do what she asks. But it is absolutely necessary that you yourself go.

8 faces of Mary to call on in prayer |

No one else can fulfill the mission set for each of us. If we are to fulfill this mission, we must deepen our knowledge and love of Christ. Juan Diego was on his way to church when he met Our Lady. It was his custom, every Saturday and Sunday, to get up before dawn and walk nine miles from his home to Mass and then attend classes to deepen his knowledge of the Catholic faith.

Mariachi music blared from portable speakers near a small fire. A breakfast stand had been set up, with free coffee, tea, and pastries. A volunteer told me that leading up to the Feast of Guadalupe, they feed 5, pilgrims a day here. Four generations of women from one family said they walk ten hours a day from the town of Papalotla, in the state of Tlaxcala, but spend nights in the family truck, driven by a male relative. Many had tears streaming down their cheeks.

Most I talked to said they were coming to give thanks: They had made a promise to the Virgin, and she had answered their prayer. In the basilica, behind the main altar, protected by glass, hung the original cloth image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, focusing the rapt attention of the faithful passing by on a moving walkway. According to legend, accepted by the church, it was in that the Virgin of Guadalupe spoke, in Nahuatl the Aztec language , to Juan Diego, a baptized Indian canonized in She urged him to tell the bishop that she wanted a church built on the site, Tepeyac Hill, which had been a place for worshipping Aztec earth goddesses.

Mary instructed him to climb the hill, cut some flowers, and present them to the bishop. When he finally got to see the bishop and opened his cloak, the roses spilled out, revealing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is the only time Mary is said to have left a painted portrait of herself. Many art historians see this as a standard European depiction of Mary, typical of the 16th century. But within the past several decades some church scholars have begun to interpret the visual imagery to be a combination of Catholic and what they consider to be Aztec iconography.

According to such recent interpretations, an illiterate Indian would instantly be able to read the symbols as a nonverbal catechism.

Mary, Foundress of America

Around her neck is a brooch—not the green stone Aztec deities often displayed but a cross. One of her legs is bent, suggesting that she could be dancing in prayer. The turquoise of her cloak signifies divinity and sky to the Aztec. The glyph of a four-petaled flower in the center of her rose-colored tunic supposedly means that she is the god bearer. The Aztec greatly revered the sun god, and glowing rays added behind Mary signify that she comes from heaven and that her god has divine power.

Borne on the shoulders of an angel who, some say, has native features, she dominates both light and darkness. It remained intact. An affidavit from several decades later says that the spill left only a vague mark like a water stain. The blast destroyed the altar and bent its bronze crucifix and the candelabra nearby. The image of the Virgin was untouched.

As in the Bible, an angel announces her pregnancy to her in the Muslim holy book. But unlike in the Bible, Mary—Maryam—gives birth alone. In Egypt I talked with devout Muslims who, because of their reverence for the Virgin Mary, had no qualms about visiting Christian churches and praying to her in church as well as mosque. One day in Cairo I encountered two young Muslim women in head scarves standing in front of the old Coptic Abu Serga church, built over a cave that is said to have been used by the Holy Family. It was the eve of Coptic Easter, and inside, the congregants chanted and prayed for hours.

Outside, the women said they loved Mary from studying her in the Koran. Badr is a married mother of three and an events organizer for the governor of a state near Cairo. Along with her Koran, she carries Christian medals of the Virgin Mary in her purse. In a small room in the back of the church Badr mingled with Coptic Christians praying there, lit candle after candle, bowed, and prayed to an icon of Mary on the wall that was claimed to have once wept tears of oil. Badr said she talks to Mary about her life and that Mary has answered her several times by showing her visions in dreams that later came true.

Like many Egyptians, Badr also believes in jinn, or spirits, who influence life for good or bad, although she claims only to have her own angel. Badr often asks Mary to intercede for her, and she composed a poem to Mary. At St. Glowing white doves sometimes accompanied the apparitions. Yohanna Yassa, a Coptic priest who has ministered at St. Following the many paths of Mary, I learned that she has often appeared to people in crisis zones, such as Kibeho and Bosnia and Herzegovina, seeking to warn of danger or to serve as a symbol of healing.

In her aftermath come physical cures said to be miraculous, as at Medjugorje, and spiritual healings too numerous to count. Only 69 have been officially recognized by church authorities. Everything at Lourdes is about scale: more than a hundred acres, six million visitors a year, space for 25, worshippers in the giant underground basilica. Bernadette was canonized on December 8, The nearby Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, its stones worn by millions of feet, is where the Virgin is said to have commanded Bernadette to scoop up the mud with her hands to make a spring gurgle from the damp soil.

That miraculous water is the source for baths that attract thousands daily in wheelchairs, and thousands more on foot, to pray for cures. The day I visited the baths, it was pouring rain, and cold. Then came the freezing immersion—a bracing moment of deep peace. Shortly after World War II, members of the French and German militaries met at Lourdes to reconcile and heal the wounds of war; now every spring veterans groups are among the hordes of pilgrims.

On May 14, , I joined wounded warriors—U. They had come for the annual pilgrimage of militaries from 35 nations this year to celebrate peace. For the rest of their lives, all these quietly brave men and women and those who support them must contend with debilitating injuries suffered sometimes during multiple deployments.

Dorothy A.

Rigorously I command you that only before the presence of the bishop will you unfold your mantle and disclose what you are carrying. You will relate all and well; you will tell that I ordered you to climb to the hilltop, to go and cut flowers; and all that you saw and admired, so you can induce the prelate to give his support, with the aim that a temple be built and erected as I have asked.

You can also read about some Jesuit missionary work in Black Robes in Paraguay , which was so successful that it led to a political crisis and the subsequent suppression of the order. Lastly, have you ever heard of the lesser-known miraculous image and message of Our Lady of Quito from Ecuador in Central America? Was she referring to Archbishop Lefebvre and his priestly society when she spoke " of a prelate who will absolutely oppose this [20th century] wave of apostasy and impiety—saving the priesthood by forming good priests "?

As Archbishop Lefebvre stated during his Episcopal Consecrations sermon :. I do not say that prophecy refers to me. You may draw your own conclusions. I was stupefied when reading these lines but I cannot deny them, since they are recorded and deposited in the archives of this apparition. Our Lady as the woman " who will crush the head of the serpent " is also the destroyer of all heresies and error and consoled by this truth of her motherly protection, we confidently approach her with the words: Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

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