Our Lady of Guadalupe
|Our Lady of Guadalupe|
|Location||Tepeyac Hill, Mexico City|
|Date||12 December 1531|
|Witness||Saint Juan Diego|
|Holy See approval||25 May 1754, during the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XIV
12 October 1895 (Canonical Coronation) under Pope Leo XIII
|Shrine||Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Tepeyac Hill, Mexico City, Mexico.|
The Americas (1945)
The Philippines (1935, rescinded 1942)
|Attributes||a woman clothed in a golden-brown tunic covered by a blue mantle; she stands upon the head of a serpent and a crescent moon, and is carried by an angel|
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Virgen de Guadalupe), is a title of the Virgin Mary associated with a celebrated pictorial image housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in México City. The basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic site in the world, and the third-most visited sacred site in the world.
Official Catholic accounts state that on the morning of December 9, 1531, a native American peasant named Juan Diego saw a vision of a maiden at a place called the Hill of Tepeyac, which would become part of Villa de Guadalupe, a suburb of Mexico City. Speaking to him in his native Nahuatl language (the language of the Aztec empire), the maiden asked that a church be built at that site in her honor. From her words, Juan Diego recognized the maiden as the Virgin Mary. He then sought out the archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, to tell him what had happened. The archbishop instructed him to return to Tepeyac Hill, and ask the lady for a miraculous sign to prove her identity. The first sign she gave was the healing of Juan's uncle. The Virgin also told Juan to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, which was normally barren, especially in December. But Juan followed her instructions and he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming there. The Virgin arranged the flowers in his tilma or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before archbishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Juan Diego's tilma has become Mexico's most popular religious and cultural symbol, and has received widespread ecclesiastical and popular support. In the 19th century it became the rallying call of American-born Spaniards in New Spain, who saw the story of the apparition as legitimizing their own Mexican origin and infusing it with an almost messianic sense of mission and identity - thus also legitimizing their armed rebellion against Spain.
Nevertheless, many Mexican clergymen have historically opposed the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe (see below). Even recently some Catholic scholars, including the former curator of the basilica, Monsignor Guillermo Schulemburg, have openly doubted the historical existence of Juan Diego. Schulemburg said in an interview that Juan Diego was "a symbol, not a reality", and that his canonization would be the “recognition of a cult. It is not recognition of the physical, real existence of a person.”  Nonetheless, Juan Diego was canonized in 2002, under the name Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.
- 1 History
- 2 Technical analyses
- 3 Religious significance
- 4 Cultural significance
- 5 Catholic Church
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Following the Conquest in 1519–21, the Spanish destroyed a temple of the mother goddess Tonantzin at Tepeyac outside Mexico City, and built a chapel dedicated to the Virgin on the site. Newly converted Indians continued to come from afar to worship there, often addressing the Virgin Mary as Tonantzin.
What is purported by some to be the earliest mention of the miraculous apparition of the Virign is a page of parchment (called Codex Escalada) which was discovered in 1995. This document bears a pictorial representation of Juan Diego and the apparition, several inscriptions in Nahuatl, referring to Juan Diego by his Aztec name, and the date 1548. Doubts have been cast on the authenticity of the document, however.
A more complete early description of the apparition occurs in a 16-page manuscript called the Nican mopohua, which was acquired by the New York Public Library in 1880, and has been reliably dated to the mid-16th century. This document, written in Nahuatl, but in Latin script, tells the story of the apparitions and the supernatural origin of the image. It was probably composed by a native Aztec man who had been educated by Franciscans. The text of this document was later incorporated into a printed pamphlet which was widely circulated in the mid-17th century.
In spite of these documents, there are no written accounts of the Guadalupe vision by Catholic clergymen of the 16th century, as there ought to have been if the event had the importance it is claimed to have had. In particular, the canonical account of the vision features archbishop Juan de Zumárraga as a major player in the story, but, although Zumárraga was a prolific writer, there is nothing in his extant writings that can confirm the story.
The written record that does exist suggests the Catholic clergy in 16th century Mexico were deeply divided as to the orthodoxy of the cult springing up around the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the Franciscan order (who had custody of the chapel at Tepeyac) being strongly opposed to the cult, while the Dominicans supported it.
The main promoter of the cult was the Dominican Alonso de Montúfar, who succeeded the Franciscan Juan de Zumárraga as archbishop of Mexico. In a 1556 sermon Montúfar commended popular devotion to "Our Lady of Guadalupe," referring to a painting on cloth (a tilma) in the chapel of the Virgin Mary at Tepeyac, where certain miracles had occurred. Days later, Fray Francisco de Bustamante, local head of the Franciscan order, delivered a sermon denouncing the cult. He expressed concern that the Archbishop was promoting a superstitious regard for an image:
"The devotion at the chapel . . to which they have given the name Guadalupe was prejudicial to the Indians because they believed that the image itself worked miracles, contrary to what the missionary friars had been teaching them, and because many were disappointed when it did not."
The next day Archbishop Montúfar opened an inquiry into the matter. At the inquiry, the Franciscans repeated their position that the image encouraged idolatry and superstition, and four witnesses testified to Bustamante's claim that the image was painted by an Indian, with one witness naming him "the Indian painter Marcos". This could refer to the Aztec painter Marcos Cipac de Aquino, who was active at that time.
Ultimately Archbishop Montúfar (himself a Dominican) decided to end Franciscan custody of the shrine. From then on the shrine was served by diocesan priests under the authority of the archbishop. Moreover, Archbishop Montúfar authorized the construction of a much larger church at Tepeyac, in which the tilma was mounted and displayed.
The report of this 1556 inquiry is the most extensive documentation concerning the Virgin of Guadalupe from the 16th century, and significantly, it makes no mention of Juan Diego, the miraculous apparition, or any other element from the legend. But if the miracle story did have currency at that time, it seems strange that it would have been omitted from this report.
In the late 1570s, the Franciscan historian Bernardino de Sahagún denounced the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe in a personal digression in his General History of the Things of New Spain, in the version known as the Florentine Codex.
At this place [Tepeyac], [the Indians] had a temple dedicated to the mother of the gods, whom they called Tonantzin, which means Our Mother. There they performed many sacrifices in honor of this goddess...And now that a church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is built there, they also call her Tonantzin, being motivated by the preachers who called Our Lady, the Mother of God, Tonantzin. It is not known for certain where the beginning of this Tonantzin may have originated, but this we know for certain, that, from its first usage, the word means that ancient Tonantzin. And it is something tha should be remedied, for the correct [native] name of the Mother of God, Holy Mary, is not Tonantzin, but Dios inantzin. It appears to be a Satanic invention to cloak idolatry under the confusion of this name, Tonantzin.
Sahagún's criticism of the cult seems to have stemmed primarily from his concern about a syncretistic application of the native name Tonantzin to the Virgin Mary. But ironically, Sahagún himself often made the same move in his sermons as late as the 1560s. This is just one of the many details that make the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe difficult to unravel.
In the 16th century and perhaps continuing into the early 17th century, the image was modified by adding the mandorla-shaped aura around the Virgin, the stars on her cloak, the moon under her feet, and the angel with folded cloth supporting her - as was determined by an infrared and ocular study of the tilma in 1979.
First printed accounts of the miracle
The next printed account was a 36-page tract in the Nahuatl language, Huei tlamahuiçoltica ("The Great Event"), which was published in 1649. This tract contains a section called the Nican mopohua ("Here it is recounted"), which we have already touched on above. The composition and authorship of the Huei tlamahuiçoltica is assigned by a majority of scholars to Luis Laso de la Vega, vicar of the sanctuary of Tepeyac from 1647-1657. Nevertheless, the most important section of the tract, the Nican Mopohua, appears to be much older. It has been attributed since the late 1600s to Antonio Valeriano (c. 1531-1605), a native Aztec man who had been educated by the Franciscans and who collaborated extensively with Bernardino de Sahagún. A manuscript version of the Nican Mopohua, now held by the New York Public Library, appears to be datable to the mid-1500s, and may have been the original work by Valeriano that was used by Laso in composing the Huei tlamahuiçoltica. Most authorities agree on the dating and on Valeriano's authorship.
These published accounts of the origin of the image venerated in Tepeyac increased interest in the identity of Juan Diego, the original recipient of the vision. In 1666 the Church, with the intention of establishing a feast day in his name, began gathering information from people who reported having known Juan Diego, and in 1723 a formal investigation into his life was ordered, where more data was gathered to support veneration. (In the meantime, a new Basilica church was built to house the image. Completed in 1709, it is now known as the Old Basilica.)
The image had originally featured a crown on the Virgin's head, but this disappeared in 1887-88. The change was first noticed on February 23, 1888, when the image was removed to a nearby church. Eventually a painter confessed on his deathbead that he had been instructed by a clergyman to remove the crown. This may have been motivated by the fact that the gold paint was flaking off of the crown, leaving it looking dilapidated. But according to the historian David Brading, “the decision to remove rather than replace the crown was no doubt inspired by a desire to 'modernize' the image and reinforce its similarity to the nineteenth-century images of the Immaculate Conception which were exhibited at Lourdes and elsewhere. … What is rarely mentioned is that the frame which surrounded the canvas was lowered to leave almost no space above the Virgin's head, thereby obscuring the effects of the erasure."
Pope Leo XIII granted a Canonical Coronation to the image on 12 October 1895, and since then the Virgin of Guadalupe has been proclaimed "Queen of Mexico", "Patroness of the Americas", "Empress of Latin America", and "Protectress of Unborn Children" (the latter two titles given by Pope John Paul II in 1999). Under this title, she was also proclaimed "Heavenly Patroness of the Philippines" in July 1935 by Pope Pius XI both witnessed and signed by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, a designation he later rescinded in September 1942 upon becoming Pope Pius XII.
On 25 March 1966, Pope Paul VI presented a Golden Rose to the sacred image. Finally, under Pope John Paul II the move to beatify Juan Diego gathered steam. John Paul II took a special interest in non-European Catholics and saints. During his leadership, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints declared Juan Diego "venerable" (in 1987), and the pope himself announced his beatification on May 6, 1990, during a Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, declaring him “protector and advocate of the indigenous peoples," with December 9 established as his feast day.
At that time historians and theologians began to question the quality of the evidence regarding Juan Diego. The writings of bishop Zumárraga, into whose hands Juan purportedly delivered the miraculous image, did not refer to him or the event. The record of the 1556 ecclesiastical inquiry omitted him, and he was not mentioned in documentation before the mid-17th century. In 1996 the 83-year-old abbot of the Basilica of Guadalupe, Guillermo Schulenburg, was forced to resign following an interview published in the Catholic magazine Ixthus, in which he was quoted as saying that Juan Diego was "a symbol, not a reality." But doubts as to Juan Diego's historicity were not new: in 1883 Joaquín García Icazbalceta, historian and biographer of Zumárraga, in a confidential report on the Lady of Guadalupe for Bishop Labastida, was hesitant to support the story of the vision. He concluded that Juan Diego had not existed.
In 1995, Father Xavier Escalada, a Jesuit writing an encyclopedia of the Guadalupan legend, revealed the existence of a parchment page (known as Codex Escalada), which bore an illustrated account of the vision and some notations in Nahuatl concerning the life and death of Juan Diego. Previously unknown, the document was dated 1548. It bore the signatures of Antonio Valeriano and Bernardino de Sahagún, which are considered to verify its contents. Some scholars remained unconvinced, describing the discovery of the Codex as "rather like finding a picture of St. Paul's vision of Christ on the road to Damascus, drawn by St. Luke and signed by St. Peter."
In the earliest account of the apparition, the Nican Mopohua, the Virgin Mary tells Juan Bernardino, the uncle of Juan Diego, that the image left on the tilma is to be known by the name "the Perfect Virgin, Holy Mary of Guadalupe."
Scholars do not agree as to how the name "Guadalupe" was ascribed to the image. Some believe that the Spanish transcribed or transliterated a Nahuatl name, as the site had long been an important sacred spot. Others hold that the Spanish name Guadalupe is the original name, and refers to the Spanish Our Lady of Guadalupe, Extremadura, whose cult had been important in Spain in the 16th century and had been brought to the New World with the Spanish conquest.
The first theory to promote a Nahuatl origin was that of Luis Becerra Tanco. In his 1675 work Felicidad de Mexico, Becerra Tanco claimed that Juan Bernardino and Juan Diego would not have been able to understand the name Guadalupe because the "d" and "g" sounds do not exist in Nahuatl. He proposed two Nahuatl alternative names that sound similar to "Guadalupe", Tecuatlanopeuh /tekʷat͡ɬaˈnopeʍ/, "she whose origins were in the rocky summit", and Tecuantlaxopeuh /tekʷant͡ɬaˈʃopeʍ/, "she who banishes those who devoured us."
Ondina and Justo Gonzalez suggest that the name is a Spanish version of the Nahuatl term, Coātlaxopeuh /koaːt͡ɬaˈʃopeʍ/, meaning “the one who crushes the serpent,” and that it may be referring to the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl. In addition, Mary was portrayed in European art as crushing the serpent of the Garden of Eden.
According to another theory the juxtaposition of Guadalupe and a snake may indicate a nexus with the Aztec goddess of love and fertility, Tonantzin (in Nahuatl "Our Revered Mother"), who also went under the name of Coatlícue ("The Serpent Skirt"). This appears to be borne out by the fact that this goddess had had a temple dedicated to her on the very Tepeyac Hill where Juan Diego had his vision, temple which had recently been destroyed at the behest of the new Catholic authorities. If so, this would constitute a rather clear case of transmogrification, i.e. the transformation of one object of reverence into another, and the insertion of the latter into a new set of religious circumstances.
The theory promoting the Spanish language origin of the name claims that:
- Juan Diego and Juan Bernardino would have been familiar with the Spanish language "g" and "d" sounds since their baptismal names contain those sounds.
- There is no documentation of any other name for the Virgin during the almost 144 years between the apparition being recorded in 1531 and Becerra Tanco's proposed theory in 1675.
- Documents written by contemporary Spaniards and Franciscan friars argue that for the name to be changed to a native name, such as Tepeaca or Tepeaquilla, would not make sense if a Nahuatl name were already in use, and suggest the Spanish Guadalupe was the original.
Neither the fabric ("the support") nor the image (together, "the tilma") has been analyzed using the full range of resources now available to museum conservationists. Four technical studies have been conducted so far. Of these, the findings of at least three have been published. Each study required the permission of the custodians of the tilma in the Basilica. However, Callahan's study was taken at the initiative of a third party: the custodians did not know in advance what his research would reveal.
- MC – in 1756 a prominent artist, Miguel Cabrera, published a report entitled "Maravilla Americana," containing the results of the ocular and manual inspections by him and six other painters in 1751 and 1752.
- G – José Antonio Flores Gómez, an art restorer, discussed in a 2002 interview with the Mexican journal Proceso, certain technical issues relative to the tilma. He had worked on it in 1947 and 1973.
- PC – in 1979 Philip Callahan, (biophysicist, USDA entomologist, NASA consultant) specializing in infrared imaging, was allowed direct access to visually inspect, and photograph, the image. He took numerous infrared photographs of the front of the tilma. Taking notes that were later published, his assistant noted that the original art work was neither cracked nor flaked, while later additions (gold leaf, silver plating the moon) showed serious signs of wear, if not complete deterioration. Callahan could not explain the excellent state of preservation of the un-retouched areas of the image on the tilma, particularly the upper two-thirds of the image. His findings, with photographs, were published in 1981.
- R – In 2002 Proceso published an interview with José Sol Rosales, formerly director of the Center for the Conservation and Listing of Heritage Artifacts (Patrimonio Artístico Mueble) of the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA) in México City. the article included extracts from a report which Rosales had written in 1982 of his findings from his inspection of the tilma that year using raking and UV light. It was done at low magnification with a stereo microscope of the type used for surgery.
Summary conclusions ("contra" indicates a contrary finding)
- (1) Support: The material of the support is soft to the touch (almost silken: MC; something like cotton: G) but to the eye it suggested a coarse weave of palm threads called "pita" or the rough fiber called "cotense" (MC), or a hemp and linen mixture (R). It was traditionally held to be made from ixtle, an agave fiber.
- (2) Ground, or primer: R asserted (MC and PC contra) by ocular examination that the tilma was primed, though with primer "applied irregularly." R does not clarify whether his observed "irregular" application entails that majorly the entire tilma was primed, or just certain areas – such as those areas of the tilma extrinsic to the image – where PC agrees had later additions. MC, alternatively, observed that the image had soaked through to the reverse of the tilma.
- (3) Under-drawing: PC asserted there was no under-drawing.
- (4) Brush-work: R suggested (PC contra) there was some visible brushwork on the original image, but in a minute area of the image ("her eyes, including the irises, have outlines, apparently applied by a brush").
- (5) Condition of the surface layer: PC reports that the un retouched portions of the image, particularly the blue mantle and the face, are in a very good state of preservation, with no flaking or peeling. The three most recent inspections (G, PC and R) agree (i) that additions have been made to the image (gold leaf added to the sun's rays-which has flaked off; silver paint or other material to depict the moon - which has discolored; and the re-construction or addition of the angel supporting the Marian image), and (ii) that portions of the original image have been abraded and re-touched in places. Some flaking is visible, though only in retouched areas (mostly along the line of the vertical seam, or at passages considered to be later additions).
- (6) Varnish: The tilma has never been varnished.
- (7) Binding Medium: R provisionally identified the pigments and binding medium (distemper) as consistent with 16th-century methods of painting sargas (MC, PC contra for different reasons), but the color values and luminosity are exceptional.
- The technique of painting on fabric with water-soluble pigments (with or without primer or ground) is well-attested. The binding medium is generally animal glue or gum arabic (see: Distemper). Such an artifact is variously discussed in the literature as a tüchlein or sarga. Tüchlein paintings are very fragile, and are not well preserved, so the tilma's color values and state of preservation are exceptional.
The iconography of the Virgin is fully Catholic: Miguel Sanchez, the author of the 1648 tract Imagen de la Virgen María, described her as the Woman of the Apocalypse from the New Testament's Revelation 12:1, "clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” She is described as a representation of the Immaculate Conception.
Virgil Elizondo says the image also had layers of meaning for the indigenous people of Mexico, which contributed to her popularity. Her blue-green mantle was the color reserved for the divine couple Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl; her belt is interpreted as a sign of pregnancy; and a cross-shaped image, symbolizing the cosmos and called nahui-ollin, is inscribed beneath the image's sash. She was called "mother of maguey," the source of the sacred beverage pulque. Pulque was also known as "the milk of the Virgin." The rays of light surrounding her are seen to also represent maguey spines.
Symbol of Mexico
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe became the recognized symbol of Catholic Mexicans. Miguel Sánchez, the author in 1648 of the first published account of the vision, identified Guadalupe as Revelation's Woman of the Apocalypse, and said:
"...this New World has been won and conquered by the hand of the Virgin Mary ... [who had] prepared, disposed, and contrived her exquisite likeness in this her Mexican land, which was conquered for such a glorious purpose, won that there should appear so Mexican an image."
Throughout the Mexican national history of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Guadalupan name and image have been unifying national symbols; the first President of Mexico (1824–29) changed his name from José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernández y Félix to Guadalupe Victoria in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Father Miguel Hidalgo, in the Mexican War of Independence (1810), and Emiliano Zapata, in the Mexican Revolution (1910), led their respective armed forces with Guadalupan flags emblazoned with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1999, the Church officially proclaimed her the Patroness of the Americas, the Empress of Latin America, and the Protectress of Unborn Children.
In 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla initiated the bid for Mexican independence with his Grito de Dolores, with the cry "Death to the Spaniards and long live the Virgin of Guadalupe!" When Hidalgo's mestizo-indigenous army attacked Guanajuato and Valladolid, they placed "the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which was the insignia of their enterprise, on sticks or on reeds painted different colors" and "they all wore a print of the Virgin on their hats." After Hidalgo's death leadership of the revolution fell to a zambo/mestizo priest named José María Morelos, who led insurgent troops in the Mexican south. Morelos adopted the Virgin as the seal of his Congress of Chilpancingo, inscribing her feast day into the Chilpancingo constitution and declaring that Guadalupe was the power behind his victories:
New Spain puts less faith in its own efforts than in the power of God and the intercession of its Blessed Mother, who appeared within the precincts of Tepeyac as the miraculous image of Guadalupe that had come to comfort us, defend us, visibly be our protection.
Simón Bolívar noticed the Guadalupan theme in these uprisings, and shortly before Morelos's execution in 1815 wrote: "the leaders of the independence struggle have put fanaticism to use by proclaiming the famous Virgin of Guadalupe as the queen of the patriots, praying to her in times of hardship and displaying her on their flags ... the veneration for this image in Mexico far exceeds the greatest reverence that the shrewdest prophet might inspire."
In 1912, Emiliano Zapata's peasant army rose out of the south against the government of Francisco Madero. Though Zapata's rebel forces were primarily interested in land reform – "tierra y libertad" ('land and liberty') was the slogan of the uprising – when his peasant troops penetrated Mexico City they carried Guadalupan banners. More recently, the contemporary Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) named their "mobile city" in honor of the Virgin: it is called Guadalupe Tepeyac. EZLN spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos wrote a humorous letter in 1995 describing the EZLN bickering over what to do with a Guadalupe statue they had received as a gift.
Harringon argues that:
- The Aztecs ... had an elaborate, coherent symbolic system for making sense of their lives. When this was destroyed by the Spaniards, something new was needed to fill the void and make sense of New Spain ... the image of Guadalupe served that purpose.
Hernán Cortés, the Conquistador who overthrew the Aztec empire in 1521, was a native of Extremadura, home to Our Lady of Guadalupe. By the 16th century the Extremadura Guadalupe, a statue of the Virgin said to be carved by Saint Luke the Evangelist, was already a national icon. It was found at the beginning of the 14th century when the Virgin appeared to a humble shepherd and ordered him to dig at the site of the apparition. The recovered Virgin then miraculously helped to expel the Moors from Spain, and her small shrine evolved into the great Guadalupe monastery.
According to the traditional account, the name of Guadalupe was chosen by the Virgin herself when she appeared on the hill outside Mexico City in 1531, ten years after the Conquest.
Guadalupe continues to be a mixture of the cultures which blended to form Mexico, both racially and religiously, "the first mestiza", or "the first Mexican". "bringing together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness." As Jacques Lafaye wrote in Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe, "as the Christians built their first churches with the rubble and the columns of the ancient pagan temples, so they often borrowed pagan customs for their own cult purposes." The author Judy King asserts that Guadalupe is a "common denominator" uniting Mexicans. Writing that Mexico is composed of a vast patchwork of differences – linguistic, ethnic, and class-based – King says "The Virgin of Guadalupe is the rubber band that binds this disparate nation into a whole." The Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that "you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe." Nobel Literature laureate Octavio Paz wrote in 1974 that "the Mexican people, after more than two centuries of experiments, have faith only in the Virgin of Guadalupe and the National Lottery".
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Juan Diego, and the tilma have been investigated through film several times in recent history. One of the most notable and thorough filmic investigations was done by director Tim Watkins in the 2013 film The Blood & The Rose. Documentarians have been portraying the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe since the 1990s in an attempt to bring the message of the apparition to the North American audience.
Beliefs and miracles
Roman Catholic sources claim many miraculous and supernatural properties for the image such as that the tilma has maintained its structural integrity over nearly 500 years, while replicas normally last only about 15 years before suffering degradation; that it repaired itself with no external help after a 1791 ammonia spill that did considerable damage, and that on 14 November 1921 a bomb damaged the altar, but left the icon unharmed.
Then in 1929 and 1951 photographers found a figure reflected in the Virgin's eyes; upon inspection they said that the reflection was tripled in what is called the Purkinje effect, commonly found in human eyes. An ophthalmologist, Dr. Jose Aste Tonsmann, later enlarged an image of the Virgin's eyes by 2500x and claimed to have found not only the aforementioned single figure, but images of all the witnesses present when the tilma was first revealed before Zumárraga in 1531, plus a small family group of mother, father, and a group of children, in the center of the Virgin's eyes, fourteen people in all.
Numerous Catholic websites repeat an unsourced claim that in 1936 biochemist Richard Kuhn analyzed a sample of the fabric and announced that the pigments used were from no known source, whether animal, mineral or vegetable. Dr. Philip Serna Callahan, who photographed the icon under infrared light, declared from his photographs that portions of the face, hands, robe, and mantle had been painted in one step, with no sketches or corrections and no visible brush strokes.
With the Papal Brief Non Est Equidem of May 25, 1754, Pope Benedict XIV declared Our Lady of Guadalupe patron of what was then called New Spain, corresponding to Spanish Central and Northern America, and approved liturgical texts for the Holy Mass and the Breviary in her honor. Pope Leo XIII granted new texts in 1891 and authorized coronation of the image in 1895. Pope Pius X proclaimed her patron of Latin America in 1910. Pope Pius XII declared the Virgin of Guadalupe "Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas" in 1945, and "Patroness of the Americas" in 1946. Pope John XXIII invoked her as "Mother of the Americas" in 1961, referring to her as Mother and Teacher of the Faith of All American populations, and in 1966 Pope Paul VI sent a Golden Rose to the shrine.
On July 16, 1935, Pope Pius XI declared Our Lady of Guadalupe "Heavenly Patroness of the Philippines" and the relative Apostolic Letter was signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII). This was revised on September 12, 1942, when Pope Pius XII, by the Apostolic Letter Impositi Nobis constituted and declared the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Immaculate Conception as "Principal and Universal Patroness of the Philippine Islands", with Saint Pudentiana and Saint Rose of Lima constituted and declared to be the secondary patronesses. Today, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is still celebrated, and she is especially invoked by the Filipino episcopacy and laity who oppose the legalization of abortion and the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill.
Pope Leo XIII granted a canonical coronation towards the image on 12 October 1895. Pope Pius XII was the first to grant the image the title Patroness of the Americas on 12 October 1945. Pope John Paul II visited the shrine in the course of his first journey outside Italy as Pope from January 26–31, 1979, and again when he beatified Juan Diego there on May 6, 1990. In 1992 he dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe a chapel within St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. At the request of the Special Assembly for the Americas of the Synod of Bishops, he named Our Lady of Guadalupe patron of the Americas on January 22, 1999 (with the result that her liturgical celebration had, throughout the Americas, the rank of solemnity), and visited the shrine again on the following day.
On July 31, 2002, the Pope canonized Juan Diego before a crowd of 12 million, and later that year included in the General Roman Calendar, as optional memorials, the liturgical celebrations of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (December 9) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12).
Devotions and veneration
The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world. Over the Friday and Saturday of December 11 to 12, 2009, a record number of 6.1 million pilgrims visited the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the apparition.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas; she is also venerated by Native Americans, on the account of the devotion calling for the conversion of the Americas. Replicas of the tilma can be found in thousands of churches throughout the world, and numerous parishes bear her name.
Due to a claim that her black girdle indicates pregnancy on the image, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under this title is popularly invoked as Patroness of the Unborn and a common image for the Pro-Life movement.
Notable buildings named in honor of Guadalupe
- The Basilica of Guadalupe, the shrine founded on the original site on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City
- The Basílica of Guadalupe in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
- The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico.
- The Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe in Dallas, Texas, United States.
- The Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle, in San Juan, Texas, United States.
- The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Ponce Cathedral) in Ponce, Puerto Rico, United States.
- Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pagsanjan, Laguna, Philippines
- "World's Most-Visited Sacred Sites", Travel and Leisure, January 2012
- "Shrine of Guadalupe Most Popular in the World", Zenit, June 13, 1999
- English translation of the Nican Mopohua, a 17th-century account written in the native Nahuatl language.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Our Lady of Guadalupe.|
- Caryana.org, The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe
- Udayton.edu, Marian library's discussion of Guadalupe as Mexican national symbol
- NEWS.BBC.co.uk, BBC photo essay of 12 December festivities in San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
- Pbase.com, Photo essay on Los Angeles Latino community's Guadalupan murals, altars and statues.
- NewAdvent.org, The Catholic Encyclopedia
- (Spanish) ProyectoGuadalupe.com, Critical essays, iconography and documentary information about the Guadalupe
- (Spanish) Biblioteca.itam.mx, Mínima Bibliografía el Guadalupanismo
- (Spanish) Poem Ave Mi Guadalupana by Ecuadorian-American poet Karina Galvez.
- , The Blood & The Rose Film Site