Catholicism, Catholic, Traditional Catholicism, Catholic Church

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

Feast of
Our Lady of Guadalupe


Our Lady, as an instrument of the Holy Ghost, is responsible for the conversion of the Mexican people in the 16th c. when she appeared to St. Juan Diego, a peasant. On this date in 1531, Juan saw a Lady Virgin on Tepeyac Hill in what is now Mexico City. She requested that he go to the Bishop in order to have a church built.

The Bishop, though, didn't believe Juan. Later that same day, Juan met the Lady again, and she insisted that he return to the Bishop and make her request again.

Once more, the Bishop disbelieved. He told Juan to ask the Lady for a sign to prove who she is, so Juan returned to the place where he saw the Lady. This time, she told Juan that she would give him a sign the next day if he'd return to the hill.

By the time the next day came, Juan's Uncle had become very sick, so Juan busied himself with getting a priest to visit with him. He was embarrassed at not heeding the Lady's request, so took a route to avoid the hill where he'd met the Woman. But the Lady appeared to him anyway on that divergent path, and she admonished him for not returning to the hill as she'd asked. She said to him, "¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?" ("Am I not here, I who am your mother?").

She told him, too, that his Uncle had been healed and that he should now go to the hill and pick the flowers he'd find there. He obeyed, and gathered up roses -- roses which shouldn't have been blooming at all at that time of year. He wrapped them up in his cloak -- his "tilma" -- and rushed off to show the Bishop the sign that the Lady gave. And when he unfurled his tilma before the Bishop, and the roses scattered to the floor, there appeared on his cloak a miraculous image of the Lady he'd seen.

The image (partially duplicated in the painting above), the nature of which is still unexplained by science, is extant today, though that tilma should have disintegrated centuries ago. It is kept in the "New Basilica" a few miles northeast of Mexico City, in the neighborhood of Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Today's Feast remembers Our Lady's appearance to St. Juan Diego, and as she is Patroness of the Americas, it is a very important Feast for those who live in "the New World" to thank God for using His favorite daughter/mother/spouse in such a miraculous and effective way.


In Mexico City, twelve days of prayer -- a "dozavario" -- precede this feast. The time from December 1 to to today is filled with Masses, processions, Rosaries, and fireworks, and culminates with Catholics lighting torches from fire lit in the sanctuary of the Basilica and bringing the fire, which symbolizes the light of Christ, back to their own parishes and homes in relays. And all the while, millions of pilgrims pour into the city. On the eve of this feast, churches are filled in anticipation of serenading the Virgin early the next day, on "the morning of the Guadalupana.".

And, of course, there is special music for the day. One song heard throughout the celebrations is La Guadalupana, which you can listen to below. Lyrics follow:

Desde el cielo una hermosa mañana (2x)
La Guadalupana, la Guadalupana,
La Guadalupana bajo al Tepeyac (2x)

Suplicante juntaba sus manos (2x)
Y eran mexicanos, y eran mexicanos
Y eran mexicanos su porte y su faz. (2x)

Junto al monte pasaba Juan Diego (2x)
Y acercose luego, y acercose luego
Y acercose luego al oír cantar. (2x)

A Juan Diego la Virgen le dijo (2x)
Este cerro elijo, este cerro elijo
Este cerro elijo para hacer mi altar. (2x)

Desde entonces para el mexicano (2x)
Ser Guadalupano, ser Guadalupano,
Ser Guadalupano es algo esencial. (2x)

From Heaven, one beautiful morning (2x)
La Guadalupana, La Guadalupana,
La Guadalupana came down to Tepeyac. (2x)

Both her hands she folded in prayer, (2x)
And her hands were Mexican! And her hands were Mexican!
And her hands were Mexican as was her face! (2x)

Juan Diego crossed over the hilltop, (2x)
But he came near and stopped, but he came near and stopped,
But he came near and stopped when he heard a song. (2x)

To Juan Diego the Virgin did say, (2x)
"This hill I have chosen, this hill I have chosen,
This hill I have chosen to become my shrine." (2x)

Since then for every Mexican (2x)
Being a Guadalupano, being a Guadalupano,
Being a Guadalupano is essential. (2x)

Elsewhere in Mexico and in North American parishes with large Mexican American populations, this day is particularly celebrated, with processions, dancing, traditional Mexican and Indian costumes, a blessing of roses, and delicious Mexican foods, such as tamales, gorditas, tacos al pastor, and buñuelos -- fried cakes of dough either drizzled with honey or syrup, or coated with sugar and cinnamon.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup cold water
Canola oil
As desired: honey, syrups, cinnamon-sugar mixture

Mix flour, powder, salt, and the sugar. Add the shortening and mix until you get a mixture that may remind you of wet sand. Gradually add the water, a tiny bit at a time until it's all incorporated. Knead a few times on on a floured surface, then cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Pour about an inch of the oil into a large skillet and heat up to medium heat.

When your oil is hot enough, grab pieces of the dough and form into balls that are about 2 1/2 inches in size (you should have around 24 balls. Keep them covered as you roll them up.). Next, roll a couple of the balls out to form very thin disks about 5 inches around. Keep the dough covered wile you fry the rolled out circles in the hot oil for about 2 minutes, and then flip and fry for about 2 minutes more. Drain on paper towels, and either sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture, or serve with honey or syrups. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

In parts of Puerto Rico, celebrations being in the pre-dawn hours, in the morning -- la mañana -- which gives to the proceedings the name "Las Mañanitas." A parade, Mass, and great communal breakfast mark the occasion. "Las Mañanitas" is also the name of the birthday song sung in Mexico and many South American countries, and this song is sung to the Virgin on this day there.

And speaking of music, I have to bring your attention to a seven-voice musical group called Savae, which uses the traditional wind and percussion instruments of the Aztecs to make beautiful Catholic music, a fusion of Indigenous American and Colonial Spanish music. Their music is historically authentic, based on musical transcriptions found in cathedral archives in Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. In other words, their music reflects what the Church Militant would have heard in 16th. century Central and South America. A sample of their work: De La Sagrada Maria:

When all the singing, dancing, and feasting is done, it is a good day, too, to reflect deeply on Our Lady's appearance at Fatima, her warning about Russia spreading "her errors," and the brutal reality of that prophecy come true, both in terms of literal Communism and in terms of cultural Marxism -- in Mexico, in Spain, in China, Cuba, Brazil, the U.S.A., etc. Recall these two apparitions, study the history of Revolutions (from the traditional Catholic perspective), read papal encyclicals concerning Communism and Freemasonry, learn about the brave Mexican Cristeros who held out as best they could against Masonic revolution, and pray that all will come to know that Christ is King.
Castilian Roses

By the way, the miraculously blooming roses found by the now-Sainted Juan Diego were "Castilian Roses" (also called "Damascus Roses"), or Rosa damascena, which didn't grow in Mexico but were native to Spain.

As to movies, for Spanish-speakers, there is "Las Rosas del Milagro" (1960).

Another movie that may be of interest on this day is "For Greater Glory" (2012), about the Mexican Cristeros. And to get a feel for the sort of world that was converted by the Spanish, watch Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto," a visually stunning movie that shows the nightmarish world Our Lady of Guadalupe helped change. It's a violent movie, not for children, so be warned.

Read much more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the miraculous tilma of St. Juan Diego here -- and even more in the book (pdf format) "Our Lady of America: Known Liturgically as Holy Mary of Guadalupe," by Fr. George Lee, available in this site's Catholic Library.

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