on the News
of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood
The Lay Monastic
Community of Caryana
|The Story of Our Lady of
E arly morning of Dec. 9, 1531, the FIRST apparition of Our
Lady, Juan Diego was on his way to Mass. As he walked the hill of
Tepeyac, he heard singing and, looking up, he saw a beautiful, young
lady who spoke saying:
"You must know that I am truly the perpetual and
perfect Virgin Mary … I am your merciful Mother … the Mother of all
Mankind … Here, I will hear their weeping, their sorrow and will
remedy and alleviate their sufferings, necessities and misfortunes
On that same morning of Dec. 9, Juan Diego went to
Bishop Zumarraga, as commanded by Our Lady, and delivered her
Not surprisingly, the Bishop responded with pious
caution and told Juan Diego to come back another time. Juan Diego
returned to the hill of Tepeyac at about sunset of the same day,
Dec. 9. Our Lady appeared a SECOND time, exactly as he had seen her
at dawn. Juan Diego urged her to send someone else, someone more
distinguished, to the Bishop saying:
"I am only a poor man, I am not worthy of being
there where you send me. Pardon me, My Queen. I do not want to make
your noble heart sad. I do not want to fall into your displeasure."
But Our Lady told him that it was he, and no other,
whom she wished to send. She commanded him to go back to Bishop
Zumarraga the following day. Juan Diego left her, calling her: "My
dear one, My Lady…"
The next day, Dec. 10, a Sunday, Juan Diego went
again to the Bishop's house and, after much difficulty with the
guards, gained admittance.
The Bishop questioned him, more impressed this
time. But the Bishop explained that Our Lady must provide a SIGN
that she really was the Mother of God.
Then the Bishop sent two attendants to follow and
spy on Juan Diego, but they lost his track.
At sunset of Dec. 10, Juan Diego was back on the
hill of Tepeyac to report to Our Lady who was already waiting for
He informed her that the Bishop was asking for a
SIGN, (Our Lady, of course, knew what SIGN the Bishop was asking
for). This was her THIRD apparition.
Our Lady assured him that the next day she would
give him the SIGN the Bishop had asked for.
After conversing with Our Lady, Juan Diego went
home. That evening, upon arrival, he found his uncle, Juan
Bernardino, very ill.
The next day, Monday, Dec. 11, he cared for his
uncle the whole day, missing his appointment with Our Lady and
Juan Bernardino, thinking he was going to die, told
his nephew to fetch a priest the next day for the Last Sacraments.
Dec. 12, Tuesday morning, Juan Diego started out and intentionally
avoided passing the top of Tepeyac hill out of fear and
embarrassment because he had not kept his promise to return there to
meet Our Lady the previous day.
Also, he did not want to be delayed by Our Lady
from fetching a priest since he believed so much in the importance
of the Last Sacraments for the dying.
But while passing the other side of the hill to
avoid Our Lady, Juan Diego was surprised to meet her along his path.
This was the FOURTH apparition.
Our Lady asked him where he was going. He explained
about his sick uncle and how he was busy caring for him the previous
day. Our Lady said:
"Listen and be sure, my dear son, that I will
protect you: do not be frightened or grieved or let your heart be
dismayed… Am I not here, who am your Mother, and is not my help a
refuge …? Be assured, he is already well … Is there anything else
And even as Our Lady spoke she appeared to Juan
Bernardino and cured him.
Dec. 12. Our Lady then told Juan Diego to climb the
hill where only cactuses, thistles and thornbrush grew. Juan Diego
had never seen a flower there. But when he reached the top, it was
covered with beautiful Castillian roses, wet with dew and of
After Juan Diego had gathered the roses, he took
them to Our Lady who arranged them with her own hands in his tilma
and tied a knot behind his neck to hold the roses in place. Then Our
"This is the SIGN that you must take to the Lord
Bishop … In my name tell him that with this he will see and
recognize my will and that he must do what I ask … he will see that
the church is built for which I ask."
Dec. 12. Juan Diego arrived at the Bishop's house.
He was again kept waiting. The attendants forced Juan Diego to show
them what he was keeping in his tilma. But what they saw were mere
"printed or embroidered roses."
Finally admitted to the Bishop's presence, Juan
Diego opened his cloak. The fresh and beautiful roses cascaded to
the floor. And behold, a full portrait of Our Lady began to appear
on the tilma right before the eyes of the Bishop, as if painted by
In the imprint, Our Lady had her hands joined in
prayer, her soft black hair falling gently upon her shoulders under
her cape and framing the perfect oval of her face with slightly
closed eyes and a light smile. . . a miraculous legacy for all
generations to see and know the TRUE FACE of Our Lady.
Seeing the SIGN he had asked for, the Castillian
roses, and beholding the miraculous imprinting of Our Lady 's image
on the tilma before his own eyes, Bishop Zumarraga fell to his
Before him was the True Image and form of Our Lady,
Her own self-portrait. He wept as he prayed for forgiveness for
having doubted her and her messenger, Juan Diego.
It seems that when Juan Diego opened his tilma and
the roses fell to the floor, Our Lady, who was behind Bishop
Zumarraga facing Juan Diego, allowed her image to be imprinted on
the tilma as if reflected in a mirror. But She was there as a silent
witness to the unfolding event, unseen by all, including Juan Diego.
Regaining his composure, the Bishop reverently
removed the tilma from Juan Diego and enshrined it in his private
Juan Diego remained with Bishop Zumarraga that
evening narrating the events of the past few days. Both were filled
with wonder at the things God had wrought in their midst.
In two weeks time, an adobe chapel was erected to
house the tilma for public veneration. It was dedicated by Bishop
Zumarraga on Dec. 26, 1531.
From that time on, everybody came to venerate the
surprisingly beautiful image...and people have been coming ever
since--day and night, season after season, century after century.
Later, the Church would proclaim Our Lady under the
title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of all the Americas.
In 1935, Our Lady of Guadalupe was formally proclaimed the Patroness
of the Philippine Islands.
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