The capital city of the Aztec empire fell to Spanish forces in 1521.� The Aztec people suffered from the soldiers� brutality and greed.� Through the efforts of Franciscan and Dominican priests from Spain many Aztecs were converted from their pagan religion which called for human sacrifice.


The account of the apparitions is unwavering from both Indian and Spanish written and oral traditions.

On Saturday, December 9, 1531 an Aztec convert to Christianity, Juan Diego, was hurrying down Tepeyac hill to attend mass and instructions in Mexico City when he saw a beautiful lady.� She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him of her request that a temple be built in her honor at that very place.� Juan happily went to Bishop Zum�rraga with the request.� The bishop listened to him but put him off telling Juan he would think about building the temple.

Juan Diego returned to the hill to tell the beautiful Lady that he was not a good emissary and please send someone else.� She told him to return to the Bishop the next day and repeat her request.� This time the Bishop requested a sign from the Lady to show that she really was the Virgin Mary, Mother of God making this request.

Juan went back to tell the Lady of the Bishop�s request.� She instructed him to return the following morning and she would give him a sign.� When he arrived home he found that his uncle Bernardino was gravely ill.� The next morning he missed his appointment with the Lady while trying to help his uncle.� Finally he decided to seek a priest to bring him the last sacraments.� It was necessary to pass the hill of the Lady and she again appeared to him.� She assured him that she had cured his uncle and he was to go to the top of the hill to pick the flowers there as a sign for the bishop.� It was December and no flowers should be blooming but Juan found beautiful roses with which he filled his cloak or tilma.� The Lady rearranged the flowers in his cloak and told him to take them to the bishop.�

When Juan showed the flowers to the bishop there was another surprise, an imprint of the Lady�s image on the tilma.� The bishop carried the tilma to his own chapel and the next day to the cathedral.

Juan showed the Bishop the hill and visited his uncle who was now in perfect health.� Bernardino told them the Lady had appeared to him and said her name was to be Our Lady of Guadalupe.� Guadalupe is a place in Spain but the word also sounds very much like an Aztec Nhuatl word which means �who crushes the serpent�.� This reminds us of the passage in Genesis 3:15, or it could mean that the Lady would crush the Indian serpent god.

A small church was quickly built on the hill where the Lady had appeared.� On December 26, 1531 the image was moved there.� A beautiful new Basilica stands at the site in Mexico City where many pilgrims come to see the miraculous image.� Our Lady of Guadalupe has been named the patroness of the Americas.


The tilma is made of coarse natural fibers that should have disintegrated in about 20 years but it has survived for over 470 years.� Mary appears with the olive skin, black hair, and magnificently colored clothing of an Aztec princess.� Around her waist is the sash worn by a woman during pregnancy.� The image on the tilma reflects this.� Mary brought new dignity to the Aztecs by showing herself to a poor Indian peasant.


St. Mary Parish has a special twinning relationship with Sacred Heart Parish in Quinind�, Ecuador.� The background of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a depiction of the rain forest plants and animals of Ecuador.

Eric Henn, a parishioner and professional muralist, began painting the wall in December 2000 accepting the project on December 12, the feast day.� Mr. Henn has had no formal art training and does one free mural a year as a way to give something back for his God-given talent.


God of power and mercy, You blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.

May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters.� Through Your justice present in our hearts may Your peace reign in the world.� We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer from the Feast Day

found in the Sacramentary

(The Roman Missal)

St. Mary Church

115 S. Main Street

Franklin, OH 45005

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