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Header-A first milestone in the rise of the counter-revolution

February 11, marks the anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady in Lourdes.

In light of this anniversary year, we are publishing the following article that was originally written on the centennial of the apparitions in 1958.

 

Our Lady of Lourdes

Everyone knows the basic story. It began in 1854 when the great Pope Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady as a dogma with his Bull Ineffabilis. Later, Our Lady appeared in Lourdes 18 times between February 11 and July 16 in 1858 to a simple peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, where the Blessed Mother declared she was the Immaculate Conception. Thus began a succession of miracles, which make Lourdes that great marvel that has shone in the eyes of the whole world ever since. The two events are very connected: a miracle confirmed a dogma.

While the public may be aware of these two events, many are not aware of how they are related to the problems of the nineteenth century, which were so different yet so similar to our own.

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Pope Pius IX’s definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had varied but profound repercussions from all over the civilized world.

It caused great enthusiasm in the faithful at large. They delighted in seeing a Vicar of Jesus Christ proclaim this dogma using the fullness and majesty of his power. It was an admirably gallant and bold challenge to the triumphant skepticism already gnawing at the entrails of Western civilization.

Pope Pius IXThey delighted yet more by the fact that it was a Marian dogma. This attacked liberalism which by its very nature gave rise to yet another nineteenth century scourge – interconfessionalism. This scourge highlights everything religions have in common (usually a vague deism) and underrates, if not outright rejects, everything that separates them. Thus, the open or secret interconfessionalists of 1854 saw this proclamation of a new Marian dogma (like the definition of the Assumption much later) as a serious and unexpected barrier towards achieving their goals.

The new dogma also deeply shocked the essentially egalitarian mentality of the French Revolution, which since 1789 had despotically held sway in the West. To see a mere creature elevated so far above all others, enjoying an inestimable privilege from the very first instance of her conception is something that could not and cannot fail to hurt the children of a Revolution which proclaimed absolute equality among men as the basis of all order, justice and goodness. It was painful for both non-Catholics and Catholics, more or less infected with this spirit, to accept the fact that God established in creation and highlighted such outstanding inequality.

Finally, liberals dislike the nature of that privilege as such. Indeed, anyone who admits the existence of Original Sin, with all the spiritual disorders and miseries of the body that it entails, must accept that man needs an authority that he must obey. The definition of the Immaculate Conception was an implicit reaffirmation of Church teaching in this matter.

However important all these points may be, there is yet another that we would dare call the very “salt” of the dogma’s glorious definition. It is impossible to think about the Immaculate Virgin Mary without recalling how she triumphantly and definitively crushed the serpent’s head under her heel. The Revolutionary mentality is the mentality of the devil himself. A person of faith cannot fail to recognize the role the devil has played in the rise and propagation of the errors of the Revolution, from the religious disasters of the sixteenth century to the political debacle of the eighteenth century and all that followed.

For the devil to see such a triumphal affirmation of his longstanding and inflexible enemy was his most horrible humiliation. Hence, the proclamation must have given rise to an uproar of human voices and satanic howls like an immense and thunderous storm all over the world. For true Catholics, watching the intrepid and majestic figure of the Vicar of Christ standing alone against that tempest of unruly passions, threatening hatreds and furious despair, armed only with heavenly assistance, caused a jubilation like the one the Apostles felt during the storm on the Sea of Genesareth when the Savior commanded the winds and the sea to be calm: “venti et mare oboediunt ei” (Mt. 8:27).

* * *

The Huns overcame the Roman EmpireJust as all the generals and governors of the Roman Empire dispersed before the advancing Huns, so also countless Catholics at the time who should have defended the Church and Christian civilization in temporal society found themselves in a deplorable state of defeat.

In that dramatic and solemn situation, Pius IX, like Saint Leo the Great, was the only one to confront the adversary and make him retreat.

* * *

Retreat? This sounds like a daring statement, but it is the plain truth. From 1854 onward, the Revolution began to suffer great defeats.

There is no doubt the Revolution continued to extend its empire over the earth. Egalitarianism, sensuality and skepticism attained ever more radical and widespread victories. However, something new appeared. And this something, while seemingly insignificant and self-effacing, is growing irresistibly and will end up killing the Revolution.

In order to understand well this fundamental point, one must have in mind the role of the Church in history and the role of the devotion to Our Lady in the Church.

In the plans of God, the Church is the center of history. She is the Mystical Spouse of Christ whom He loves with a unique and perfect love and to whom He willed to subject all creatures. Obviously He will never abandon His Spouse and is extremely zealous of Her glory.

Thus, in the spiritual sphere, the Church has nothing to fear as long as Her human component remains faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ: even the most severe persecutions will serve Her glory, and neither great honors nor prosperity will dampen the sense of duty and love of the Cross among the faithful.

In the temporal sphere, if men open their souls to the influence of the Church, the road will be lead to all prosperity and grandeur. On the contrary, if they abandon the Church, they will be on the path to every catastrophe and abomination. There is only one normal order of things for a people who belong to the Church: Christian civilization. And the vital principle of Christian civilization, superior to all others, is the Catholic Religion.

 

Conditions For The Church To Flourish

There are three essential conditions for the Church to flourish. First and foremost is Eucharistic piety. Our Lord, present in the Blessed Sacrament, is the sun of the Church. From Him come all graces. However, these graces necessarily pass through Mary, the Universal Mediatrix through whom we go to Jesus and through whom Jesus comes to us. Thus, an intense, lucid and filial Marian devotion is the second condition for virtue to flourish. While Our Lord does not speak to us in the Blessed Sacrament, He makes his voice heard through the Pope. Hence docility to the Successor of Saint Peter is the proper and logical fruit of devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to Our Lady.

When these three devotions flourish, sooner or later the Church triumphs. When they decline, sooner or later Christian civilization decays. 

 

The Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception

At the time of Lourdes, Catholic circles in Europe and the Americas had long suffered from a real religious leprosy, Jansenism. This heresy sought to weaken the Church by undermining devotion to the Holy Eucharist under the pretext of a false respect. Its proponents imposed so many conditions for a person to go to Communion that unfortunately a large number of people under its influence practically stopped receiving Our Lord. On the other hand, Jansenists carried out a relentless campaign against devotion to Our Lady, which they said deviated people from Jesus Christ rather than leading them to Him. Finally, the heresy promoted an incessant campaign against the Papacy and especially papal infallibility.

The definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was the first of the great setbacks suffered by this internal enemy. Indeed, it gave rise to a huge wave of Marian piety, which has been increasingly growing.

To prove that everything comes to us through Mary, Divine Providence willed that its first great triumph be Our Lady’s triumph.

 

 

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Lourdes

To glorify His Mother yet more, Our Lord went farther in Lourdes. As a stupendous confirmation of the dogma, He did something never seen before: He installed an ongoing, permanent sequence of miracles. Until Lourdes, miracles had happened in the Church only irregularly. However, in Lourdes, the most outstanding, scientifically proven and supernatural cures have been taking place for one hundred and fifty-five years as a confused and disoriented world looks on.

 

Infallibility

An immense yearning arose like a flame from this hotbed of faith and the definition of the Immaculate Conception. The most scholarly and best-qualified members of the Church were longing for the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility. The great Pius IX wanted it more than anyone else. When it was proclaimed, the definition of this dogma brought to the world a great surge in devotion to the Pope, which was a new defeat for impiety.

Monstrance

 

The Holy Eucharist

With the pontificate of Saint Pius X, there came an invitation for the faithful to go to Communion frequently and even daily. The great pope also encouraged children to go to Communion. Thus an era of great Eucharistic triumphs began to shine radiantly throughout the Church.

The whole Jansenist atmosphere was simply swept away from Catholic circles by these new Eucharistic norms. Not even Modernist and neo-Modernist surges that attacked the Church were able to cancel out these great victories the Church had won against Her internal adversaries.

 

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An Immense But Frustrated Triumph

One could ask: what effect did Lourdes, the dogma proclamations and these other victories have on the struggle of the Church against her external adversaries? It would seem that the enemy is stronger than ever and that we are drawing near the era envisaged by Enlightenment thinkers centuries ago. This would be a time of crude scientific naturalism dominated by materialist technology and a one-world government with a more or less philanthropic and humanitarian orientation sweeping the last vestiges of supernatural religion from earth. Who can deny that there is not a dangerous slide of Western society toward the realization of this “ideal” today?

This slide is even closer than most people believe. However, no one seems to notice a development of primordial importance. While the world is being fashioned to fit this sinister design, it is also experiencing a profound, immense and indescribable uneasiness.

This uneasiness is an unconscious and vague malaise that remains undefined even in those aware of it. However, few would contest the reality of this discontent. One would say all humanity is suffering from a kind of violence against its nature. In response, all its wholesome fibers twist and turn as they resist. There is a longing for something else, which people still cannot define. Perhaps for the first time since the decline of Christian civilization beginning in the fifteenth century, the whole world moans in darkness and pain like the prodigal son when he reached the last degree of shame and misery away from his father’s house. At the very moment when iniquity seems to triumph, that victory seems flawed and frustrated.

Experience shows this kind of discontent often gives rise to the great surprises of history. As the twisting and turning increases, so does discontent. It is hard to tell what magnificent reactions can appear.

The hour of Divine mercy for a sinner often comes amid extreme sin and sorrow...

From our perspective, we might conclude that this promising uneasiness could well be the fruit of a resurrection of Catholic souls worked through the great events mentioned above. This resurrection has the capacity to reinvigorate all the remnants of life and sanity in all cultural areas of the world.

 

The Prodigal SonThe Great Historic Moment

For the prodigal son, it certainly was a great moment in his life when his mind numbed by vice acquired a new lucidity and his will a new vigor, seeing the miserable situation in which he had fallen and the turpitude of the errors that drove him away from his father’s house. Touched by grace, he saw more clearly than ever the great alternative we faced: Either repent and return or persevere in error and accept its tragic consequences to the bitter end. All the good sentiments that his upright upbringing had planted in his soul were marvelously reborn at that providential moment. On the other hand, the tyranny of bad habits was perhaps claiming its rights more strongly than ever. An internal struggle took place, and he chose well. We all know the rest is the story, which is told in the Gospel.

Are we not drawing closer to that moment? Will all the graces gained for sinful humanity through the new surge in devotion to the Holy Eucharist, Our Lady and the papacy, produce the great conversion in our times when the tragic vicissitudes of an apocalyptic crisis seem unavoidable?

 

The Teaching Of Lourdes

Only God knows the future. Yet it is licit for us men to make conjectures based on the rules of likelihood.

We are living a terrible time of chastisements. However, this can also turn out to be an admirable hour of mercy as long was we look to Mary, the Star of the Sea who guides us amidst the storm.

Filled with compassion toward sinful humanity, Our Lady has worked stupendous miracles for us at Lourdes for 155 years. Is that compassion now over? Could the mercy of a Mother, the best of all mothers, ever come to an end? Who would dare affirm this? Lourdes serves as an admirable lesson to anyone in doubt. Our Lady will help us.

 


Lourdes And Fatima

St Pius XShe will not fail to succor us. In fact, she has already begun to help us. The definition of the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and papal infallibility and the renewal of Eucharistic devotion continued with Marian triumphs in the pontificates that followed Saint Pius X.

Our Lady appeared at Fatima under Benedict XV. The first Fatima apparition took place precisely on the day the future Pius XII was consecrated bishop, May 13, 1917. Under Pius XI, the message of Fatima slowly but surely spread throughout the world. On that same occasion, the Holy Pontiff celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions with great jubilation, having delegated then-Cardinal Pacelli to represent him at the festivities. The pontificate of Pius XII was immortalized by the definition of the dogma of the Assumption and the Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of the World. During that pontificate, in name of Pope Pius XII, Cardinal Masella crowned a statue of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima.

These events are a brilliant trail of light going all the way from the Grotto at Massabielle at Lourdes to Cova da Iria at Fatima.

This article stops at Fatima. In her apparitions, Our Lady made it very clear: Either we convert or a tremendous chastisement will come.

However, the Reign of her Immaculate Heart will finally be established in the world. In other words, whether it be with more or less human suffering, the Heart of Mary will triumph.

This means that the days of impiety, according to the message of Fatima, are numbered. The definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception marked the beginning of a succession of events that will lead to the Reign of Mary.

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for December 15, 2019

Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach...

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December 15

 

Without the burden of afflictions
it is impossible to reach the height of grace.
The gift of grace increases as the struggle increases.

St. Rose of Lima


Protest & Offer Reparation for this "Christmas" BLASPHEMY

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Mary di Rosa

Anticipating Florence Nightingale by several years, the Hand...

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St. Mary di Rosa

Mother Maria Crocifissa was born Paolina Francesca di Rosa, the sixth of nine children of Clement di Rosa and the Countess Camilla Albani. The di Rosas were a wealthy family of Brescia, Italy.

Losing her mother to a terminal illness at age eleven, her education was entrusted to the Visitation Sisters. At seventeen Paolina left school to assist in the running of her father’s estate and household. To these duties she soon added the care and spiritual welfare of the girls working at her father’s mills and other factories in the city. She also founded a woman’s guild and arranged retreats and special missions. When the cholera epidemic devastated Brescia in 1836, she and a widow, Gabriela Bornati, served the victims in the hospital with such dedication that Paolina was next asked to undertake the supervision of a workhouse for penniless girls, which she did for two years.

She continued to engage in social work, always giving signs of ability and a perspicacious intelligence with a surprising grasp of theology. In 1840, with Gabriela Bornati, she started a congregation with the purpose of serving the ill and suffering in hospitals. Taking the name of Handmaids of Charity, they started with four members and soon grew to number twenty-two.

The name she took upon her profession of religious vows was a synthesis of her whole life: Maria Crocifissa. Her spiritual life was firmly grounded on the imitation of Christ’s suffering on the Cross. This was the foundation of her life, her teaching and her contemplation. Her love for Christ Crucified was reflected in her unstinting and total dedication to the suffering members of his Mystical Body.

As the community expanded, Clemente di Rosa provided a commodious house in Brescia, and their rule of life was provisionally approved by the bishop in 1843. Anticipating Florence Nightingale by several years, the Handmaids of Charity ministered to the wounded in the war which ravaged the region in 1848. After a meeting with Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1850, the constitutions of the Handmaids of Charity of Brescia were approved.

A second cholera epidemic hit northern Italy and pushed the growing order to its limit. After a flurry of foundations in Spalato, Dalmatia and Verona, Mother Maria collapsed, and was brought home to Brescia to die. She passed away peacefully on December 15, 1855 at the age of forty-two.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

On July 31, 2002 the Holy Father canonized Juan Diego, a hum...

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The Miracle

On July 31, 2002 the Holy Father canonized Juan Diego, a humble Indian to whom the Mother of God appeared in Mexico in 1531 and on whose cloak she left her image as Our Lady of Guadalupe. With this canonization, the Church has placed one more seal on the authenticity of the apparitions that changed the course of the history of Mexico and gave all the Americas a great patroness. Alongside our invoking the intercession of the Virgin of Guadalupe, we may now also say, “Saint Juan Diego, pray for us.” We dedicate the following article to him.

 

"Eagle that speaks"

In the year 1474, a boy was born in Aztec Mexico in the village of Cuautitlan, about seven miles from the capital of the Empire, then known as Tenochtitlan, today Mexico City.

He was named, Quauhtlatoatzin, or “Eagle that speaks.” His origin was humble and poor, yet this boy had been chosen by God to convey one of the greatest messages ever delivered to any nation.

Despite having reached the first degree of civilization with its cities and writing system, Mexico’s religion was satanically barbarous. In the words of one historian: “Nowhere else in human history has Satan so formalized and institutionalized his worship with so many of his own actual titles and symbols.” This was the old Empire of Mexico worshiping the “Lord of the Dark” and the “Stone Serpent,” requiring a quota of, at least, 50,000 human sacrifices each year.

When “Eagle that speaks” was thirteen years old, a sacrifice of no less than 80,000 victims was offered to inaugurate the greatest of all pyramids. As he witnessed these horrors, maybe the young boy sent up a prayer for the accomplishment of an old Mexican prophecy that, one day, a God who hated human sacrifice would reach Mexico. Oddly enough, this prophecy even specified the year and the date on which this God would arrive.

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Sails on the horizon

The year by the Christian calendar was 1519; the day was a Good Friday. Montezuma II, then Emperor, a superstitious man, was on high alert because that was also the date in the Mexican prophecy.

If any Aztecs scanned the horizons of Mexico on that Good Friday morning, they saw eleven ships bearing great white sails marked by a black cross heading for their shore.

Commanded by the thirty-three-year-old Spaniard Hernan Cortes, the fleet anchored. Soon, at the captain’s orders, a cross was planted in the sand.

Hernan Cortes and his six hundred warriors were descendants of men who had battled Muslims for eight hundred years to free their beloved Spain from the dominion of Islam. It took all that bravery seething in their veins to tackle the monumental task that lay ahead of them: namely, to snatch fifteen million people from the darkness and oppression of a satanic regime and introduce them to the sweet yoke of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sinking his ships in a gesture of unparalleled bravery so as to spare his men the temptation to flee, Cortes set his face and his small army to conquer Mexico for the Faith. The next year saw a series of battles of biblical proportions, terrible defeats, renewed attacks, great feats of diplomacy resulting in solid alliances with certain native tribes, and daring coups. The odds were those of one against ten thousand but, like Emperor Constantine of old, Cortes launched his mission under the banner of the cross, telling his men: “Brothers and companions, let us follow the sign of the Cross with true faith and in it we shall conquer.”

At the end, Montezuma was dead, Mexico City had been conquered, a new government was established and churches began to rise in place of the old pagan temples.

Twelve Apostles

By this time, “Eagle that speaks” was a man entering middle age. He was married to a good woman and worked at farming, weaving mats, making furniture and anything else that would support them. He had an innate sweetness and compliant nature and a very humble disposition coupled with a quiet dignity.

One day, a few barefooted men in brown habits entered his village. They were Franciscans, a few from a group of twelve sent by Emperor Charles V of Spain for the evangelization of Mexico. These brave and zealous men had arrived in 1521, only two years after Cortes.

“Eagle that speaks” attentively listened to all they had to say and was soon bowing his head before one of them to receive the redeeming waters of Baptism. He was Christened Juan Diego. Baptized alongside him were his wife and uncle, who received the Christian names of Maria Lucia and Juan Bernardino. Juan Diego and his family were among the first natives to accept the Catholic Faith in Mexico. It was the year 1525.

After baptism, Juan Diego and Maria Lucia often continued to walk to Mass and instructions to the new church in Tlatelolco near Mexico City, about fifteen miles from their village.

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Tepeyac Hill

On December 9, 1531, which was then the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Juan Diego again made his way among cactus plants and mesquite bushes to the Church at Tlatelolco near Mexico City as was his custom. He now covered the distance alone since his good wife had died two years before. He must have missed her sorely for he had moved to Tepotzotlan to be with his uncle.

Nearing Mexico City, Juan Diego always passed a hill called Tepeyac. Its summit had been the site of a former temple to the pagan “Mother God.”

This morning as he neared Tepeyac, he suddenly stopped, hearing ineffable music that seemed to come from the top of the hill. Juan strained his bewildered eyes as he looked upward in hopes of discovering the source of so delightful a melody. It was then that he saw a dazzling cloud, emblazoned by a brilliant rainbow. Suddenly the melody ceased altogether and he heard the sweetest of all feminine voices calling his name in his native Nahuatl: “Juantzin…”

The voice used the diminutive of his name and it is impossible to convey what that meant as far as affectionate expression. Maybe, in our English it would be something like: “My dear little John.”

Without fear, Juan Diego clambered up the 130-foot-high summit and found himself facing a lady of dazzling beauty. Her garments shone like the sun and the light streaming from her person transformed all nature around her into a play of color as if seen through a stained glass window. Even the smallest leaves looked like sparkling emeralds and turquoises and the tiniest branches as if dipped in gold.

The lady motioned for Juan Diego to approach and as he did so, she spoke:

“Listen, my dearest little son, Juan, where are you going?”

“My lady, my queen, my little girl,” answered the happy Indian, “I am going to your little house in Mexico-Tlatelolco, to follow the things of God that are taught to us by those who are the images of Our Lord, our priests.”

“Know for certain, my little son,” said the lady, “that I am the perfect ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the one true God…. I am your merciful mother, yours and of all the people who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me and of those who trust in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow and will remedy and nurse all their troubles, their miseries, their suffering.”

Then she went on to ask Juan Diego to go to the Bishop of Mexico, Don Juan de Zumarraga, to ask him to build her a house on the hill. She finished by thanking him for his trouble and promising to reward him abundantly.

After some difficulty, Juan Diego saw Bishop Zumarraga who listened to him attentively but did not take him very seriously. The bishop dismissed him kindly, promising to think about all he had said and to see him again.

Knowing he had not convinced the prelate, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac Hill and found the Mother of God waiting for him. At her feet, he told her all about the interview and begged her to send someone of more renown, of a higher station in life, one who would be more readily believed.

Our Lady replied affectionately: “Listen, my little son, I have many servants, many messengers… but it is most necessary that you go personally to plead, and that, through you, my will be realized… So, go and tell him once more, that it is I, the ever-virgin Holy Mary, I who am the Mother of God, who sends you.”

On the next day, a Sunday, Juan Diego returned to the bishop’s house. After much difficulty with the servants, he was received. Juan Diego again delivered his message. Bishop Zumarraga questioned him closely and finished by asking for a sign.

“Señor Governador,” answered Juan Diego, “think about what the sign you ask for will be, because then I will go to ask for it of the Queen of Heaven who sent me.”

Once Juan Diego left, Bishop Zumarraga had him followed. But near Tepeyac, his followers lost sight of him. Quite upset, they returned to the Bishop convinced that the Indian was only making up stories. So it was decided that when he returned he would be punished.

Meanwhile Juan Diego was with the Virgin explaining to her the bishop’s request for a sign.

“That’s fine, my little son, return here tomorrow so you may take to the bishop the sign which he asks. With this he will believe you and no longer doubt this and no longer suspect you. And know well, my little son, that I will reward you all the trouble and fatigue that you have undertaken for me. Go now. I will be waiting for you tomorrow.”

Juan evades the Virgin

But the next day, Juan Diego did not return. His uncle had sickened and was dying, so Juan spent all of Monday with him. On Tuesday, before dawn, the good Indian made his way to Mexico City to call a priest to give his uncle the last rites. Passing Tepeyac hill, he thought of skirting it so the Lady would not see him and stop him.

As he did so, however, he saw her coming down the hill to meet him.

“What’s wrong, my little son? Where are you going?”

Bending low, Juan Diego greeted her and wished her a good morning as he explained his uncle’s predicament.

“Listen, and place it deeply in your heart, my littlest son,” spoke the Queen of Heaven. “What frightens and worries you is nothing. Do not let it disturb you. Do not fear this sickness, or any other sickness, or any sharp and hurtful thing. Am I not here, your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and my protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you; do not let your uncle’s illness upset you, because he will not die of it now. You may be certain that he is already well.”

Juan Diego, greatly comforted at these words, begged her, instead, to send him to the bishop with her sign. Then the Blessed Virgin told him to go to the top of the hill and gather the flowers he would find there.

Astonished at the beauty of the blooms miraculously growing in that spot, he gathered them all and returned to where the Lady awaited him. With feminine touch, she arranged them with her own hands inside his tilma, a cloak he wore to shield him from the cold, and bade him go to the bishop again.

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The miracle

The servants at the gates of the bishop’s residence would not listen to the poor Indian’s entreaties to see Don Zumarraga. Juan Diego, having no other recourse, waited patiently for a long time. Seeing him standing there holding something in his tilma, the doorkeeper and servants became curious and began to harass him so that he let them have a peek.

Great was their amazement at the sight of the exquisite flowers, their perfume, and the fact that this was not at all the season for these blooms. Three times they tried to grab a few out of Juan Diego’s tilma but, as they attempted to do so, the flowers became as if painted on the cloth, thus evading their grasp.

The servants then ran to tell the bishop what they had seen. Hearing this, Don Zumarraga realized that here was the sign he had requested and had Juan Diego brought in immediately.

As soon as he entered the bishop’s chamber, Juan Diego prostrated himself in his presence and related to him all that had happened and how he had found these beautiful flowers blooming out of season on top of the hill at the Lady’s command.

The humble Indian then held out his tilma and just as the flowers cascaded to the floor, before all present, O marvel, there appeared on the cloth an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary just as Juan Diego had seen her.

Weeping and falling to his knees, Don Zumarraga, asked the Mother of God’s forgiveness for not having immediately carried out her will.

Then, untying the tilma from around Juan Diego’s neck, Bishop Zumarraga had the miraculous icon placed in his private chapel. 

Guadalupenos

As Juan Diego returned home, he found his uncle cured and ecstatic with joy because the Lady of Tepeyac had also appeared to him. On delivering him of his illness, she had also revealed her name: “Coatlaxopeuh,” or “she who crushes the serpent.” It soon was to be understood as Guadalupe.

Meanwhile, as Bishop Zumarraga prayed fervently before the miraculous image of the resplendent Virgin of Guadalupe, his heart overflowed with gratitude as he remembered a prayer of some time before.

Two of the first Spanish governors appointed to Mexico were cruel to the Indians. Other Spaniards in authority also had more heart for gold than the welfare of the natives. He, Zumarraga, eventually had these men ousted but, meanwhile, the Indians threatened to revolt. The Indians also felt that they had lost their identity on accepting the religion of the Spaniards. Before, despite the horrors of paganism, they were Aztecs. But now, what were they?

In his affliction, Bishop Zumarraga had asked for a sign of the Mother of God that she would protect the new colony. He had asked for Castillian roses not native to Mexico. And Castillian roses were the very flowers that had cascaded onto the floor as Juan Diego opened his tilma! And then the Mystical Rose herself had left her wondrous portrait.

Our Lady, by appearing to an Indian in the turquoise robes of Aztec royalty with their own brown features, had sent the whole of Mexico the message: “I am your Queen, your Mother and you are my very own.” The natives now had a place and a name: the place was the very heart of God’s own Mother and the name, Guadalupenos.

A chapel was soon built on Tepeyac Hill, to be followed by a great basilica. Former Aztec Indians began to flock there by the thousands with the result that in seventeen years the number of baptisms had catapulted from two hundred thousand to nine million.

Juan Diego spent the rest of his life by his beloved Virgin. He died in 1548 venerated by his people for his untiring service and solid virtue. To this day the greatest blessing of Mexican parents on their children is: “May God make you like Juan Diego.”

By A. F. Phillips

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On July 31, 2002 the Holy Father canonized Juan Diego, a humble Indian to whom the Mother of God appeared in Mexico in 1531 

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