A Love Letter to the Virgin of Guadalupe
AT YOUR FEET
On December 12, the world celebrates Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, with millions of devotees showing their love. Many do a piligrimage to the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City and bring music and flowers to the Virgin.
On December 12, 1531, La Morenita, or Dark-Skinned Virgin, made an apparition to indigenous peasant Juan Diego, who was made a saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
THE POWER OF FAITH
The New York Times reports that by 7 a.m. Mexican officials estimated a crowd of 9.8 million in the areas surrounding the Basílica de Guadalupe in Mexico City.
To show their devotion, many carry statues or other images of the Virgin on their backs on their way to the church. Some pilgrims crawl on their knees to the entrance of the Basilica.
SERENADING LA GUADALUPE
Mariachis and other musicians play music to honor La Guadalupe. Inside the church, celebrities also sing "Las Mañanitas" to the Virgin, as part of a televised show. Singers like Lucero, Alejandro Fernández, Natalia Jiménez and Ángela Aguilar have serenaded her in the past.
IN HER HONOR
People also dance, in traditional indigenous costumes, outside the church.
The Virgin of Guadalupe seems to be everywhere in Mexico — in murals, on t-shirts, in ceramic art, in statues, on religious stamps— watching over devotees.
WATCH OVER US
Whether they are praying for health, prosperity, a miracle in the family or simply giving thanks to the Virgin, the powerful energy of the faith professed by millions of people is felt on this sacred day.
CELEBRATING LA MORENITA
She is also a symbol of patriotism. According to reports, Miguel Hidalgo's rebel army used banners with the image of the Virgin when they revolted against the Spanish army in 1810. Revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata also proudly carried her image in 1914 when he marched with his army into Mexico City.
FEEL OUR LOVE
The crowds of visitors to the Basilica de Guadalupe are so numerous that pilgrims sleep on the sidewalk and camp out in the areas surrounding the church, waiting their turn to go inside and visit the Virgin.
IN YOUR LIGHT
UNITED IN PRAYER
December 12 is a national holiday in Mexico and the day is also widely celebrated in the United States, in cities like Los Angeles that have a large Latinx population. Thousands also gather today at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, and the miraculous Morenita continues to be worshipped by Catholics all over the world.