The Apparitions of Guadalupe
Without any doubt, the most glorious and transcendent event in Mexico’s history is that of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Indian Juan Diego on the Hill of Tepeyac, on the 9th to the 12th of December 1531, apparitions which culminated in the image She left to us of Herself, miraculously painted on Juan Diego’s cape.
These Apparitions are the most transcendent event in Mexico’s history, as prior to them, the Indians appeared very reluctant to accept Christianity; but hardly had the Most Holy Virgin left Her miraculous image than they began to believe with the greatest simplicity and ease. The Mexican nation owes the Virgin of Guadalupe so very much for the innumerable favours received from Her, the countless woes She has consoled, and because for many years the Faith in Mexico was conserved despite the many attacks from masonic governments ever since independence was forged, the worst of which was the imposition of lay schools, which immersed the majority of the Mexican people in the most lamentable religious ignorance, defenceless against superstitions, fanaticism and heresy; and the Most Holy Virgin strengthened the over fifty thousand Mexican Martyrs in the Cristiadas in the first third of the twentieth century.
On the 29th of November 1972, the then seer Clemente Domínguez visited the Sanctuary in Mexico, and the Most Holy Virgin Mary, under the title of Guadalupe, told him: “I want the world to know the following: Under this Sacred Title of Guadalupe, millions and millions of souls have been saved; all those who seek to live under My protection and take shelter beneath My Sacred Mantle.”
Here the wonderful way in which the ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Our Queen, appeared in Tepeyac, called Guadalupe, is told. First She appeared to a poor Indian called Juan Diego; and afterwards Her precious image appeared before the new Bishop, Friar Don John of Zumárraga:
After the taking of the city of Mexico by the Conquistador Saint Hernán Cortés, and when the war ended and there was peace between the peoples, the Faith and knowledge of the True God then began to bud forth, increasing the numbers of the faithful of the True Church.
The first Apparition took place in December of the year 1531. It happened that a poor Indian, Juan Diego by name, went from Cuautitlán to Santiago Tlaltelolco to hear Mass in honour of the Virgin Mary. Dawn broke over the Tepeyac hills, and on passing by he heard music, like the chirping of many precious birds, and he stopped to listen; the voices of the songsters ceased at times; and it seemed that the mountain replied; the chant, very gentle and delightful, surpassed that of the chirping of all pretty birds that sing.
Juan Diego halted to see and said to himself: “Am I perhaps worthy of what I hear? Perhaps dreaming? Have I just risen from sleep? Where am I? By chance in earthly paradise, as the ancients, our elders, once said? By chance already in Heaven?”
He was looking eastwards, above the ridge from where the precious heavenly chant came and, just as it suddenly ceased and silence fell, he heard a voice calling him from above the ridge, saying: “Little Juan, Juan Dieguito.”
Juan Diego was bold enough to go up to where he was called; very content, he climbed up the ridge. When he reached the top, he saw a Lady of singular beauty, standing there and telling him to come close.
Reaching Her presence, he marvelled greatly at Her superhuman grandeur: Her dress was radiant like the sun; the crag on which She stood shone forth with a glitter like precious stones, and the ground gleamed like a rainbow, and made the different plants growing there seem like emerald; their foliage, lovely turquoise; their branches and thorns like gleaming gold. Juan Diego bowed before Her and heard Her very gentle and courteous words, as of one who draws and esteems greatly. She told him: “Little Juan, littlest of my children, where do you go?” He replied: My Lady and My Mistress, I have to reach Your home in Mexico, Tlatilolco, for the divine things our Priests, delegates of Our Lord, give and teach us.”
The Virgin then spoke to him and made known Her holy will, saying: “Know and be assured, you, the littlest of My children, that I am the Ever-Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God, by whom you live, Lord of Heaven and earth. It is My lively desire that a Sanctuary be built here for Me to show and give all My love, compassion, help and defence, for I am your merciful Mother; yours, and of all you dwellers on this earth together, and other lovers of Mine, who invoke and trust Me; there to hear their griefs and remedy all their miseries, anguish and woes. And to carry out the purpose of My clemency, go to the palace of the Bishop of Mexico, and you will tell him how I am sending you to show him what I so desire, that here on the level ground he build Me a Sanctuary; and you will tell him attentively all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will thank you from the heart and pay for it, for I will make you happy and you will merit greatly; and I will recompense the labour and fatigue with which you will carry out this assignment. Now that you have heard My command, My son the littlest, go and play your part.”
And this said, She sent him to see the lord Bishop, tell him all he had seen and make him know Her will to have a Sanctuary there; and promised him a recompense for all he did for Her.
At once he bowed before Her and said: “My Lady, I shall go and fulfil Your charge; I bid You farewell for now, I, Your humble servant.” He then went straight down to do Her bidding; out along the roadway that leads directly to Mexico City.
Having entered the city, without delay he went directly to the palace of the Bishop, the prelate who had come shortly before, and was called John of Zumárraga, a Friar of Saint Francis. Hardly had Juan arrived than he sought to see him; he asked his servants to go and announce him, and after a good while they came to tell him that the lord Bishop had said that he should enter.
As soon as he entered, he bowed and knelt before him. At once he gave the Heavenly Lady’s message; and also told him all that he had admired, seen and heard. The lord Bishop received him kindly, and listened to him attentively; but it seemed that he did not think it true that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him, despite the fact that every Christian well knows, as Saint Paul says, that God chooses the foolish according to the world to confound the wise, and the weak to confound the strong. After hearing his whole talk and message, the Bishop only answered: “Let me think it over. For now, go with God, and you will come again, my son, and I will hear you at greater length, I will go over it from the very beginning and think on the will and desire with which you have come.”
Juan Diego left and went back sad; for in no way had his message been carried out. That same day he went straight back to the top of the ridge and met up with the Heavenly Lady, who was awaiting him, right there where he had seen Her first. On seeing Her he prostrated before Her and said: “Lady, my Daughter, I went to where You sent me to fulfil Your charge; though with difficulty I entered where the prelate’s seat is; I saw him and explained Your message, just as You told me. He received me kindly and listened attentively; but on replying, he seemed to be unconvinced and told me: ‘You will come again; I will hear you at greater length: I will go over from the beginning the desire and will with which you have come…’ I perfectly understood by the way he replied that he thinks that it is an invention of mine that You want a Sanctuary to be built here and that perhaps it is no order of Yours; so that I implore you earnestly, Lady and Daughter of mine, that You charge some principal personage, known, respected and esteemed, so that they believe; because I am a little man, a cord, a step-ladder, a tail, a leaf, unimportant, and You, my Daughter, Lady, send me to a place where I never go or stop. Forgive me for causing You much grief and falling into Your displeasure, my Lady and Mistress.” He thus prayed to the Most Holy Virgin to make use of some other messenger more worthy than himself, as he, worth nothing, was just a poor despicable Indian, to whose words the Bishop had given no credit.
The Most Holy Virgin replied: “Hear, littlest of My children, and understand that many are My servants and messengers whom I can charge to take My message and do My will; but it is wholly necessary that you yourself request and help, and that by your mediation My will be done. I pray you earnestly, littlest of My children, and with rigorous command, that you go again tomorrow to see the Bishop. Inform him in My name and give him to know My whole will, that he has to put into practice the Sanctuary I request of him. And tell him again that I in person, the Ever-Virgin Blessed Mary, Mother of God, send you.” Juan Diego replied in all humility: “My Lady and Daughter, let me cause You no affliction; I will go willingly to carry out your commission; by no means will I fail to do so or think the way hard. I will go to do Your bidding; but perhaps I will not be heard with pleasure; or if heard, perhaps not believed. Tomorrow afternoon, at sunset, I will come to give you an account of the prelate’s reply to Your message. I now bid You farewell, my Daughter and Lady. Be at peace meanwhile.”
He then went to rest at home. On the following day, Sunday, very early, he left home and went straight to Tlatilolco, to receive instruction in divine things and forthwith to see the prelate.
After having heard Mass, Juan Diego went to the lord Bishop’s palace. Hardly arrived, he did all he could to see him, and again with great difficulty saw him; he knelt at his feet; was saddened and wept on explaining the Heavenly Lady’s commission. Oh, that he might believe in his message, and the will of the Immaculate, to build Her Sanctuary on the spot She had made known.
The lord Bishop, to make certain, put many questions to him: where he had seen Her and how She was; and Juan told the lord Bishop everything perfectly. He explained Her figure precisely, and all he had seen and marvelled at, so that everything showed Her to be the Ever-Virgin Most Holy Mother of the Saviour Our Lord Jesus Christ. This time the Bishop’s attention was drawn to the firmness with which Juan Diego gave the message and described the Lady who sent it, and ratified everything without hesitating or retracting anything. Yet the Bishop said that Her petition should be attended not only because of his words and request, but also because of some sign, very necessary; so that he might believe that the very Mistress of Heaven had sent him. Hearing this, Juan Diego asked him to say what sign he wanted so as later to go and ask it of the Heavenly Lady, but the Bishop did not specify, and sent him away.
At once the Bishop sent some trusted men from his palace to follow him to see where he went and whom he saw and spoke with. This was done. Juan Diego went straight off by the road; those following did not see him speak with anyone, but on passing the bridge marking the end of the roadway, they lost sight of him and, though searching for him everywhere, saw him not. So they went back, not only because they were thwarted, but also because he had frustrated their purpose and annoyed them. They went to inform the lord Bishop, moving him not to believe, and told him not to be further deceived; that Juan was only inventing everything he had come to say, or had just dreamt what he said and requested; and in brief pondered whether, if he returned again, they should seize him and chastise him severely, so that he might never lie or deceive again.
Meanwhile, Juan Diego, who had not realized that they were following him, when he reached the bridge, went on his way to the place where he used to see the Most Blessed Virgin, and there found Her, and quite naturally made known to Her that the lord Bishop had asked for a sign to ascertain that it was She who had sent him. The Lady answered: “Fine, my son, you will return here tomorrow to take to the Bishop the sign he has asked for. With it he will believe and no longer doubt, nor suspect you, and know, my little child, that I will repay the care, labour and fatigue you have undergone for Me; ea, go now; tomorrow I await you here.”
On the following day, Monday, when Juan Diego had to take some sign to be believed, he did not return, because on going back home, an uncle of his, called Juan Bernardine, had the plague, and was very ill. First he went to call the doctor, who helped him; but there was no longer time, he was already too sick.
At night, his uncle asked him to leave very early and go to Tlatilolco to call a Priest to come and confess him and prepare him, as he was quite sure that it was time for him to die, and that he would not rise again or be cured. On Tuesday, very early, Juan Diego went from home to Tlatilolco to call the Priest; and when close to the path that runs beside the slope of the ridge of Tepeyac, towards the West, where he used to pass, said: “I will go straight on, lest the Lady see me, and surely detain me to take the sign to the prelate, as She planned with me: let our affliction first leave us free and I hurry to call the Priest; my poor uncle is certainly expecting him.”
He then made a detour around the ridge, climbing up between and passing over to the other side, towards the east, to reach Mexico quickly and the Heavenly Lady not stop him, as it was urgent to call the Priest.
He thought that by going around by the way he had taken, the Virgin could not see him by looking around Her, yet soon he spied the Heavenly Lady coming down from the ridge where he usually saw Her. She went down to meet him on one side of the hill and told him: “What’s up, my son, the littlest? Where are you going?”
Juan Diego bowed before Her; he greeted Her and told Her quite simply that his uncle was gravely ill and he was going to look for a Confessor, after which he would with pleasure take the message and the sign She gave him for the Bishop. After listening to Juan Diego’s words, the Most Pious Virgin replied: “Hear and be sure, my son, the littlest, that your affliction and fear is groundless; let not your heart be troubled, fear not this illness, nor any other illness and grief. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not beneath My shadow? Am I not your health? Are you not surely in My lap? What further need do you have? Let nothing else worry or distress you; let not the illness of your uncle afflict you, he will not die of it now. He is certainly already well.” When Juan Diego heard these words from the Heavenly Lady, he was much consoled; he felt happy and convinced, and ceased to be further concerned to look for a Confessor for his uncle, who at that same moment and hour was healed of his illness. He asked Her to send him off as soon as She could to the lord Bishop, to take him some sign and proof, so that he might believe.
The Heavenly Lady then ordered him to climb to the hilltop, where he had seen Her before. She told him: “Climb up, My littlest child, to the top of the ridge, there where you saw Me and I gave you orders, and you will find different flowers there; cut them, collect and gather them up; then come down and bring them into My presence.”
At once Juan Diego went up the ridge, and when he reached the top was greatly surprised that so many varied and beautiful roses had blossomed, before time, for at that season ice was forming. They were fragrant and full of night dewdrops, that seemed like precious pearls.
Then he started to cut as many of them as his tilma or apron could hold. He collected them up into his lap. He went straight down and brought to the Heavenly Lady the different roses he had gone up to cut. No sooner seen than She took them up with Her hand and placed them back in his lap, telling him: “My son, the littlest, this variety of roses is the proof and sign you will take to the Bishop. You will tell him in My name that he see in it My will, and that he must fulfil it. You are My ambassador, very worthy of trust. I rigorously order you only to unfold your tilma before the Bishop to show him what you bear. You will explain everything well; saying that I ordered you to climb to the top of the ridge to cut flowers; and all that you saw and admired; so as to persuade the prelate to give you his help, with the object that the Church I asked for be built.” After the Heavenly Lady gave him Her counsel, he set out for the road that leads straight to Mexico City; he went happily, sure of succeeding, taking great care of the burden in his lap, lest something escape his hands, and enjoying the fragrance of the beautiful variety of flowers.
Though the servants made him wait a long while, at last Juan Diego was able to see the Bishop. When he entered, he humbled himself before him as before, and again told him everything he had seen and admired, and also his message. He said: “Sir, I did as you ordained, that I go to tell my Mistress, the Heavenly Lady, Holy Mary, precious Mother of God, that you were asking a sign so as to believe me that you have to build Her the Sanctuary where She asked you; and, besides, I told Her that I had given you my word to bring you some sign and proof, as you charged me, of Her will. She condescended to your message and kindly admitted your request: namely a sign and proof that Her will be done. Today very early She sent me to see you again; I asked Her for the sign for you to believe me, as you told me She should give you; and at once She complied: She sent me to the top of the ridge where I saw Her previously, to go and cut a variety of roses. After going up to cut them, I brought them down; She gathered them into Her hand, and placed them back on my lap so that I bring them to you and give them to you in person. Though I well knew that the top of the ridge is no place for flowers to grow, there only being many crags, thistles, briars, prickly pears and acacias, I doubted not; when reaching the top of the ridge I saw that I was in paradise, where all varieties of beautiful flowers, brilliant with dew, grew together, and which I then went to cut. She told me why I had to give them to you; and so I do, so that you see in them the sign that you ask and do Her will; and also that the truth of my words and of my message be evident. Here they are: receive them.”
He then unfurled his white mantle, as the flowers were in his lap; and all the different roses spread out onto the floor, roses of Castile known well to the Bishop. And in the garment, at that moment, suddenly appearing, was depicted the precious image of Holy Mary ever Virgin, Mother of God, the way it is kept today in Her Sanctuary of Tepeyac, called Guadalupe.
Besides this miracle, another great prodigy occurred, not noticed until far later: when Juan Diego spread his tilma out before the Bishop and the others present, the scene was printed in the eyes of the miraculous image of the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe.
As soon as the lord Bishop saw it, he and all those present knelt down; they admired it for a long while. Then they rose up, saddened and grieved, showing that they had contemplated it in heart and mind.
The lord Bishop, with tears of sorrow, prayed and asked forgiveness for not having carried out Her will and Her command. When he stood up, he untied Juan Diego’s mantle from his collar to which it was fastened, in which the picture of the Mistress of Heaven had appeared. Then he took it and went to place it in his oratory. Juan Diego stayed in the Bishop’s house one day longer, detained by him. The following day the Bishop told him: “Ea, show where the Heavenly Lady wants me to build Her Sanctuary.”
At once all were invited to go too. No sooner had Juan Diego indicated where the Heavenly Lady had commanded Her Sanctuary to be built, than he asked licence to leave. He now wanted to go home to see his uncle Juan Bernardine, who was very ill when he had left him and had gone to call a Priest to confess him and prepare him, and the Heavenly Lady had then told him he was already well.
Yet they did not let him go alone, but accompanied him to his home. On arriving, they saw his uncle, who was quite happy and without pain. He was greatly surprised to see his nephew arrive with company and highly honoured; Juan Diego explained the reason for coming so well accompanied, and told him of the Apparitions, and that the Virgin had told him that he had been healed. His uncle made known that it was certain that he was healed at that moment, and that he had seen Her in the same way She had appeared to his nephew, knowing from Her that She had sent him to Mexico to see the Bishop; and he added that She had told him to tell the lord Bishop all that he had seen and the miraculous way She had healed him. And that Her blessed Image should be called ‘Holy Mary ever-Virgin of Guadalupe’. According to interpreters, the word ‘Guadalupe’ in the native language means: ‘She who crushes the head of the serpent’.
The Bishop was given this extra proof of the presence of the Most Holy Virgin en Tepeyac, namely the wonderful cure of Juan Diego’s uncle, who had the revelation of the name to be given to the Virgin Mary. The Bishop gave lodging in his palace to Juan Bernardine and his nephew for some days, until the Sanctuary to the Queen of Tepeyac was raised.
The lord Bishop transferred the holy image of the beloved Mistress of Heaven to the Main Church; removing it from the palace oratory where it was, so that all the people might see and admire Her blessed image. The entire city was moved: they came to see and wonder at Her devout image, and pray to Her. They marvelled greatly that it had appeared by a divine miracle; for no one from this world had painted that precious image.
Another proof of the truth of the Apparitions is the prodigious propagation of the Faith. In ten years of heroic efforts, the virtuous Missionaries who had come to spread It had only succeeded in baptizing very few Indians, the majority of them little children or newborn babies. After the coming of the Virgin, the Indians asked for Baptism in such numbers that the Lord’s Ministers were unable to cope with baptizing them. Motolina, historian and missionary, says that in his time nine million were converted following the Apparitions.
The universality and deep-rootedness of the belief in these Apparitions of the Most Holy Virgin is remarkable. It can be said that all Mexicans everywhere and of all times have had the firmest faith in the Apparitions of the Virgin, that neither arguments by sceptics nor enemy attacks have been able to shake; rather this belief has deepened daily and devotion to the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe has increased; for in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it had spread to Central America and the Philippines.
Another miracle is the preservation of the sacred image amid the great dangers of destruction to which it has been exposed, among which should be mentioned the dynamiting in November 1921; the bomb, placed beside the sacred image, caused multiple damages in the Sanctuary; a heavy bronze Crucifix on the Altar was hurled far away and doubled up; the painting of Saint John Nepumoceno, behind the altar and very heavy, was almost wrenched away, but not even the glass in the frame of Our Lady’s image was broken.
On the 4th of December 1980, in Mexico, D.F., at noon, His Holiness Pope Gregory XVII prayed fervently before the Sacred Picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He had to pray outside the foul and repugnant modern sanctuary where the picture of the Virgin Mary is venerated, since at that moment a satanic progressivist mass was beginning. Yet from that place the Most Holy Virgin was perfectly visible. After the prayer, His Holiness gave the Blessing.
It is interesting that the Apparition of the Most Holy Virgin Mary of Guadalupe happened in 1531, when perverse king Henry VIII of England repudiated his lawful wife to marry another woman and thereby led his nation into apostasy; but thanks to these Apparitions, Holy Church received new members to replace the apostates and conquered a new continent to substitute the nations lost to protestantism. The parable of those invited to the wedding was fulfilled, and a people who only a decade previously had been dedicated to idolatry and ritual human sacrifices was called to the Church.
Thanks to the miracle of the Most Holy Virgin, Mexicans received the Faith lost by the English. Likewise we Palmarians have to thank Mary Most Holy for having given us the Faith which the Church of Rome lost by its apostasy; and, with Palmarian doctrine, a Faith enriched even more than before. We must needs respond to these graces granted to us. When the Church with see in Rome lost the Faith, Mary Most Holy concentrated Her attention on a little place, pouring out all Her graces in this oasis in the desert where the Church has taken refuge. When the sun’s rays are focused by a magnifying glass onto a single point, a very hot intense light is produced. In this way the Faith shines out in Palmar, enriched and clarified, and also, magnified under those rays, the fire of Divine Love has to burn in our hearts so as to respond to the predilection the Holy Mother of God has shown us in Her apparitions.
The parable of those invited to the Wedding applies to Palmar in like manner, for once more Jesus has chosen men humble and simple to constitute His Church; and in turn, has done away with the prelates of the roman church who, having been called first, refused His invitation. Just as in Guadalupe, where a Sanctuary is constructed for the veneration of a miraculously painted image, here it is the Holy Face of the Holy Shroud.