When the Spanish conquistadors came to Mexico in the 1500’s, they found primarily indigenous peoples who worshiped their own gods, even to the extent of human sacrifice. The Franciscan and Dominican missionaries had great difficulty winning souls to Jesus, partially because of the poor example of the Spanish soldiers.
Juan Diego was an Aztec Catholic living near Mexico City. Juan’s birth name was Cuauhtlatoatzin-the Talking Eagle. As he walked the seven miles to Mass on the morning of December 9th, he heard a voice calling to him. He looked up to see a beautiful young maiden dressed as an Aztec Princess appearing in a golden beam of light. The beautiful lady said she was the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. She requested Juan to have the bishop build a church on the hill of Tepeyac, so she could show God’s compassion through her to his people.
In the next decade, eight million Indians converted to Jesus because of this lovely lady who looked like them. They realized that God, who is not a respecter of persons, loved them as much as the European Spaniards, and that His Son had died for them as well. And from then on Our Lady of Guadalupe, “La Alma de la Gente,” took her rightful place in the souls of her children.
In 2002 at the canonization of Saint Juan Diego, Pope John Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the Patroness of both continents of the one America.
Submitted by guest blogger - Bart Tesoriero