And Mary said,
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit exults in God, my savior!”
Three days ago, we remembered St. Juan Diego, the Mexican Indian to whom Our Lady appeared in 1531 on four separate occasions. Eventually a church was built on the site of the apparitions at the request of Mary, who specified why she wanted a church there: “So that in it I can be present and give my love, compassion, help, and defense… and remedy all your miseries, pains and sufferings.”
These apparitions and the various miracles accompanying them are the basis of the cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is found everywhere in Mexico, and is very widespread throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas, and increasingly worldwide.
As a result of this, the Basilica of Guadalupe is now the world’s major center of pilgrimage for Catholics, receiving 20 million visitors in 2010, the greater number of them being pilgrims.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico and of the Continental Americas.
Mary’s apparition to an Indian of very humble origin reminds us that racism and social discrimination in any shape or form are absolutely alien to God’s and Mary’s mentality. We are all their children, all equally cherished.