On December 9, 1531, in Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan

Diego, a poor humble Aztec Indian who had recently converted to

the Catholic faith. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him

to build a church where she said “I will show and offer all of my

love, my compassion, my help and my protection to my people.”

Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop asked for a sign that

this message was really from Our Lady.

Mary granted his request. On December 12, she showed Juan

where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to

gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in

bloom because there was frost on the ground, and the ground was

an infertile place where only cactus and thistles grew. After he

gathered them, she helped arrange them in his tilma, or poncho,

and told him to show them to the Bishop.

When he brought them to the Bishop, the Bishop was amazed at

the roses, but was even more amazed at what began to happen to

Juan Diego’s tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our

Lady began to form on the cloth. The picture of Mary was

beautiful and the Bishop fell to his knees. He had the church built

at her request.

The tilma is still intact after 470 years. The colors have not faded

and the cloth has not deteriorated. It has been on display in the

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for all this time.

The manner in which Our Lady appeared on the tilma was very

significant to the Aztec Indians. God had her dressed in a way that

they would understand who she was. She was dressed in royal

clothes that showed that she was very important, perhaps a queen.

She also had the symbol of the cross at her neck which was the

same symbol the Spaniards had on their ships and in the churches they built. She

had a sash tied around her waist which meant that

she was with child, for this was the way the Aztec women dressed

when they were pregnant. And on her beautiful dress were all sorts

of designs and flowers. But there was one flower on her dress that

was very significant. It had only four petals. To the Aztecs, the

four petal flower was the symbol for the true God, the God above

all gods. This flower was located on her abdomen, right over the

place where Jesus was growing inside of her. The Aztecs

immediately understood that this was the mother of the true God!  

This appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was very important to

the history of our continent. You see, the Aztec Indians and the

Spaniards were on the brink of war. The Aztec Indians’ culture and

religion were very different from the Spaniards. They worshipped

gods, to whom they would offer human sacrifices, often killing

50,000 people a year. The Spaniards, who were Catholic, were

naturally disgusted by this. But they were cruel to the Aztecs too,

treating them like animals and sometimes killing them for no

reason. If a war had occurred, it would have been very brutal and

the Spaniards and Christianity would have been totally wiped out.

Mary’s appearance changed everything, however. It helped the

Indians to embrace Christianity and it helped the Spaniards to treat

the Indians with respect and as human beings. In the course of

seven years, 6,000,000 Indians converted to the Catholic faith.

This was the biggest conversion in the history of the Church!

This is why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the

Americas. Juan Diego, the humble man to whom she appeared,

was canonized in the summer of 2002.

Mary’s appearance also put an end to the worship of stone gods

and the ritual of human sacrifice. We pray for Mary’s help today

to bring an end to the human sacrifice of God’s children through

abortion and to convert non-believers. Our Lady of Guadalupe is

also called the Patroness of the Unborn.

Saint of the Day – 22 September

Saint Lawrence Ruiz and companions​

Between 1633 and 1637, Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and 15 companions were martyred in Nagasaki, Japan. On 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his companions were taken to Nishizaka Hill, where they were tortured by being hung upside-down over a pit. This form of torture was known as tsurushi in Japanese or horca y hoya (“gallows and pit”) in Spanish. Most of the group were members or associates of the Dominicans. Lorenzo, a husband and father, was a native of the Philippines. The group spent several years working as missionaries in the Philippines, Formosa (Taiwan) and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz and his companions were canonized in 1987.  Ruiz is the protomartyr of the Philippines.


 My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. Luke 8:21

What a privilege it is for us to be a part of Jesus’ family. What greater gift could he have ever given to us? Jesus tells us that belonging to his family is not a matter of sharing common physical characteristics. Rather, it is a matter of sharing common spiritual characteristics. That is what makes us fully one with him and with one another. When Jesus said to us, “Follow me,” he was inviting us to live as he lived, to love as he loved and to think as he thought. When we imitate him, we become more a part of his family. This is what our life was meant to be: a sharing in the joy of Christ. Jesus never forces us to love him. It has to come from our free choice because love can only be offered but never forced. Would this be a good time to ask ourselves how fully we have accepted this tremendous gift that Jesus has offered to us.