Each December 12, the Mexican Catholic faithful in the El Paso and Latino communities across the U.S. celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Mario Kato
Mario Kato
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The feast day of the Lady of Guadalupe is an important holiday because she's not only the Patron Saint of Mexico; she is also a symbol of devotion, and patriotism for many Mexican Americans celebrating their religious and cultural identity.

In preparation for the feast day, many faithful in the community erect altars in their homes where flowers and candles surround a statue or painting of the Virgen of Guadalupe. 

Alfonso Baeza
Alfonso Baeza
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In preparation for the Feast Day, folks gather to say the rosary on a nightly basis beginning December 9, followed by attending mass on December 12.

Juan Diego

Marcos Rey
Marcos Rey
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The annual celebration commemorates the appearances of the Virgin Mary to the peasant Aztec Juan Diego in 1531.

According to the story, the Virgen appeared to Juan Diego twice on December 9 and again on December 12, 1531. During her first apparition, she requested a shrine be built where she appeared, known today as Tepeyac Hill.

Marcos Rey
Marcos Rey
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After the first apparition, Juan Diego told his story to the bishop, but he didn't believe him and said he needed some sign before even considering the construction of a church.

A few days later, Juan Diego again was visited by the Virgen, where she instructed him to collect as many roses as he could carry inside his tilma (cloak) and deliver them to the bishop. The roses were plucked in the dead of winter and were none other than Spanish roses (Rosas de Castilla) not native to Mexico but to Spain where Bishop Zumárraga was born.

Marcos Rey
Marcos Rey
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Meeting again with the bishop, Juan Diego opened his cloak, letting dozens of roses fall to the floor, revealing a highly detailed image of the Virgen de Guadalupe imprinted in his tilma.

Since then, Juan Diego's cloak bearing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe hangs in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

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Marcos Rey
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And this miracle is why the Latino community venerates the Virgen Mary receiving more than 20 million people throughout the year making it one of the most famous Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world.  

The Bomb Attack On Our Lady of Guadalupe

Marcos Rey
Marcos Rey
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In 1921, in an attempt to destroy the image of Mary, a bomb hidden inside a bouquet of flowers was placed at the altar at the Basilica de Guadalupe. Yet, for all the dynamite that shattered the marble steps to the altar and surrounding items like brass candles, the bomb did not even move or scratch the glass that encases Juan Diego's cloak.

Unbelievably a crucifix of Jesus that stood beneath the painting took the brunt of the explosion, bending it backward and protecting the image of his Mother before falling to the ground offering more proof that the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a marvelous miracle and testament to the faithful across the globe.

Unexplainable Facts About the Our Lady of Guadalupe Image

Norma Munoz
Norma Munoz
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  • The image has been proven not to have been painted by human hands and gives off an iridescent sheen.
  • The image and fabric have miraculously lasted in their original condition for nearly 500 years.
  • Juan Diego's cloak, made of weak cactus fiber, should have decomposed within 15-20 years of being woven, but it's perfectly preserved today.
  • Scientists cannot find a single trace of natural or animal mineral colorings, or paint, on the image.
  • Mary's mantle reveals the same constellations in the sky as on the day of her apparition, while her garment is a topographic map of the geographic location of her apparition.
  • Over her womb on her dress is a four-petal flower, the Aztec symbol of life and divinity.
  • A doctor once heard a heartbeat coming from the image when he placed a stethoscope over the womb.
  • When examined through a microscope, the Virgen Mary's eyes reflect like human eyes and clearly show Juan Diego and the bishop at the unveiling of the roses.