Our Lady of Guadalupe

Context: The piece collected is a myth about Our Lady of Guadalupe, known as the Blessed Virgin Mary to all the Americas. The informant first heard of this story at least 30 years ago, prior to moving to where she currently resides in Arizona.  When she did move to Arizona, though, she went to a celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was on December 12th, and there was a big feast and mariachi band.  She said that the story is much more prominent in Arizona.  She also came across this story when visiting San Ildefonso Cathedral in Merida, Mexico, where there is a shrine and stature erected in Our Lady of Guadalupe’s honor.

“This is my understanding of the whole story.  A lady of Guadeloupe was the Patron saint of the americas. There was a peasant named Juan Diego.  He was a farmer. He was praying, and the blessed mother appeared and told him to make a church at a certain place. No one believed that the blessed mother appeared to him.  And he even went to the bishop. Bishop said that you have to find proof to show me that the Virgin Mary really was there and told you this stuff. So he went back to pray where he had visions of the blessed mother, and he told her what happened.  When he was getting ready to leave, there were roses growing in the snow. He brought the roses back to the bishop and the people began to believe that he did see her. Then they did build the church in her honor and things got better for the farmers.”

Interpretation: My grandmother knows a very butchered version of this story. I looked it up online later (the link is attached below), and I discovered that it a very well known, sacred story to Latin Americans. The story is clearly based in Christianity.  I am Lutheran, but have never heard this story told before.  Even in the butchered way that she tells it, the moral of the story, to trust and put faith in the Blessed Virgin Mary, is still very clear.  There are statues, school, churches and shrines all dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and people living in Mexico would undoubtably be very well versed in the story.

For a more comprehensive version of this story, see:

Anderson, Carl A., and Eduardo Chávez. Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love. New York: Doubleday, 2009. Print