Wednesday, December 12, 2012

La Guadalupana

Am I not here, I who am your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and 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.

I have loved Our Lady of Guadalupe ever since I was a little girl. I think that this is my favorite apparition. I especially love her words to Juan Diego quoted above. As I have gotten older, her image seems to have followed me everywhere I go. 

We're probably all familiar with the story of Juan Diego and the miraculous image, but early in my homeschooling years I found out something new that I thought was fascinating. I read it in a protestant text, The Light of Glory by Peter Marshall, and in relating the incident he didn't connect it to the apparition in any way. I later I confirmed the story by reading the log of Christopher Columbus's journeys to America. Marshall says that when Columbus was returning from his first voyage, he was caught in a great storm and was in great fear of sinking. Columbus gathered the crew for prayer. He took a bean for each member of the crew and marked one with a cross, and they promised the Blessed Mother that if she would save them from the storm, the man who drew the bean with the cross would make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Estradura. Columbus drew the bean. There were two other pilgrimages promised and two other drawings, and Columbus drew one of those, too. Then the storm ceased and, as we know, they returned home safely, and Columbus made his pilgrimage. This really struck me when I read it because it seems as if in a way Our Lady of Guadalupe was invited to the new world. This happened in 1493, 38 years before the apparitions. 

Last Sunday, something really nice happened in my PRE class. There were only three students there out of ten, and I talked to them a bit about the motherhood of Mary, and then read them a book about Our Lady of Guadalupe. Sometimes something happens in a classroom and you know that it something more than whatever you are doing. I could see those children, especially one of them, falling in love with Our Lady. After class, this one was waiting for his mother to pick him up, and he came in the cafeteria where we have a large image of the tilma, and he spent about five minutes just staring at it. This is what keeps me in the classroom.

Now that I attend a parish that is more than half Mexican, I've been immersed in a much more intense devotion to La Guadalupana. There will be Mass at my parish tonight, which unfortunately I won't be able to attend, and they will sing and sing and sing, and then they will eat, and eat, and eat. I've learned a lot of songs for the feast day. Here's a video with my two favorites. We sing the first one quite a bit faster, and have a bit of trouble following the melody.



  1. Our parish had its big OLG celebration on Sunday, with Aztec dancing and breakfast and lunch and much partying. Rachel had her birthday party that day, and one little girl who came had been at church since 5, and her mother had been up all night making tamales. Not long ago, her mother was telling me about how they celebrate in Mexico, people coming on their knees all the way up the road to the church, little children dressed up -- she was in tears telling me about it, because it made her so homesick.

    The Hispanic youth group does a play every year during Faith Formation, telling the story, too, so all the kids get to see it.

    The image that the Mexican community puts up in the church, all covered with Christmas lights, was still up at Mass tonight. I really like it more and more . . .

    1. The thing is, while I've always been an anglophile, and I like that kind of high, clear religious observance, I get the feeling that that is a kind of dress-up and that real Catholic culture is kind of colorful and messy.


  2. Gee, that music takes me back to when I lived in California's San Joaquin Valley.

    When you do the songs at your parish church, do you have the mariachi accompaniment?

    Lovely about the little boy falling in love with Our Lady.

    1. I don't know if we had mariachi accompaniment this year or not since I wasn't there. They have come occasionally, but since we have a very small parish, we have to import them.