Dec 11, 2008

The Most Sacred Catholic Shrine In The Americas

It is the most visited and sacred Catholic shrine in the Americas. Worshippers believe the Virgin Mary appeared here. Each December 12th hundreds of thousands make the pilgrimage to celebrate the anniversary of her appearance.

Located in Mexico City the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a hub of activity every day. An enormous square houses the Old Basilica built in the 1500s, which is slowly sinking into the ground. A new Basilica was built in the 1970s on the same square and the architecture, true to that decade, is in major contrast to the first. Both are used to accommodate a huge congregation. Can you imagine how many marriages, baptisms, first communions and confirmations (not to mention confessions) have taken place here?

The devoted believe that the Virgin Mary appeared before Juan Diego an Aztec who converted to Catholicism in the 1500s. She told him to build a church on the site. Naturally Diego had trouble at first convincing the Spanish bishop to carry out the wishes. The bishop wanted proof and the Virgin told Diego to gather flowers which despite that it was winter bloomed at his feet. When he presented the flowers to the bishop they fell from the tunic he wore where an icon of the Virgin was revealed imprinted on the fabric. Shortly after construction began.

The cloth on which the image is believed to be imprinted can be seen in the New Basilica protected behind bulletproof glass. The Basilica complex is located at the foot of Tepeyac Hill which has beautifully landscaped gardens and at the top nice views on a clear day.

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Fly Girl said...

Wow, now I know why Our Lady of Guadalupe is such a popular saint. Can you make out the impression in the cloth that's on display?

Lakshmi said...

I love these legends...makes you think how almost every civilisation, culture has similar stories

thanks for sharing ..

Wendy said...

Hi Fly Girl,
Her image is everywhere in Mexico.

Lakshmi, I also love the legends from different civilizations.

DP said...
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Monna said...

Hi Wendy!
One of my favourite parts of this story (which I learned it while living in Mexico) is that the roses were a very special variety grown only in the region of Spain where the Bishop was born. Nice, eh? When the Bishop saw the roses (the story goes) he would see the (metaphorical) hand of God in this request for a cathedral.
Honestly, I was completely undone by this image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I kept making my partner walk by with me so that I could get a better look.
I love the photos of all three of the Basilicas. Thanks!