OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Our Lady of Guadalupe represents one of the most kindly and motherly aspects of Mary. In this novena she is begging us to appeal to her for comfort. Our Lady of Guadalupe should be invoked whenever we need a non-judgemental force of love in our lives. Just ten years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, this apparition occurred on the hill where a temple to the Aztec corn and earth goddess, Tonantzin, once stood. The name Tonantzin means “Our Mother”, and this is exactly how Mary asks the people of Mexico to perceive her. It seems she did not appear to give warnings or dire predictions to humanity, but rather to show herself as a merciful mother figure, ready to assist in any request. The only visitation of Mary officially recognized by the Church on the North American continent, it is an example of how the Madonna changes her image to resemble the race and culture of the people to whom she appears.
On December 9, 1531, a Mexican-Indian peasant named Juan Diego was walking through the countryside of what is now Mexico City. From the top of a hill a beautiful woman called out to him, asking, “Am I not your mother?” She then told him she was Mary, Mother of God, and that she would like a church to be built upon the ground where she stood. She sent him off to Bishop Zumarraga to make this request. The bishop, upon hearing Juan’s story, instructed him to obtain a sign to prove that this was truly an apparition of Mary. Juan, returning to the site, found the woman waiting for him. Again she told him that she urgently desired a church to be built to bear witness to her love, compassion, help and protection. She wanted the world to know that she was a merciful mother to all and desired everyone to trust in her and invoke her in times of need. She instructed Juan to gather roses among the nearby rocks for the bishop. Since it was winter, not a season when roses bloomed, he was surprised to find them growing where she told him to look. After gathering the roses in his peasant’s cloak, he presented them to Mary, who arranged them; then he took them back to the bishop. As Juan unwrapped his cloak, and the roses fell out, the bishop was stunned. The roses uncovered an elaborate portrait of the Virgin Mary imprinted on the cloak.
This image still exists and is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year. A basilica in Mexico City was erected to house it, thereby fulfilling the Virgin’s request for a church. This images offers a very different view of Mary; her features are Mexican-Indian, there are rays of light streaming out from her entire body, and the figure is set among the sun, moon and stars.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron of Mexico, and her feast is honored by the people of that country with an almost political fervor. In keeping with her own requests, all people of the world should feel free to invoke her for help in solving any types of problems, big or small.
Feast Day: December 12
Patron of: Mexico, The Americas
Invoked for: Motherly Comfort
Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our lady of Guadalupe, according to your message in Mexico, I venerate you as the Virgin Mother of the true God for whom we live, the Creator of all the world, maker of heaven and earth. In spirit I kneel before your most holy image which you miraculously imprinted upon the cloak of the Indian Juan Diego, and with the faith of the countless numbers of pilgrims who visit your shrine, I beg you for this favor: (mention your request).
Remember, O immaculate Virgin, the words you spoke to your devout client: “I am a merciful mother to you and to all your people who love me and trust in me and invoke my help. I listen to their lamentations and solace all their sorrows and sufferings.” I beg you to be a merciful mother to me, because I sincerely love you and trust in you and invoke your help. I entreat you, our Lady of Guadalupe, to grant my request, if this be the will of God, in order that I may bear witness to your love, your compassion, your help and protection. Do not forsake me in my needs.
(Recite “Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us” and Hail Mary three times).
Say this novena nine times in a row for nine days in a row.
Excerpted from the book: “Novena: The Power of Prayer” by Barbara Calamari and Sandra DiPasqua