Mexico‎ > ‎

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Marian holy cards collection,
ML.031 Box 26, circa 1675-2018. Marian Library, University of
Dayton Libraries, Dayton, Ohio.




Our Lady of Guadalupe is an extremely recognized, iconic image and symbol around the world. She is seen as a life-sized portrayal of the Virgin Mary who first appeared in 1531. She revealed herself to an Indian of ordinary standing, named Juan Diego, on the hill of Tepeyac.
Mary “...directed Juan Diego to visit the archbishop of Mexico and to inform him of her desire to have a church built in her honor on Tepeyac” (Mexican National Symbol). The archbishop failed to believe in Juan on two different attempts. This is when Mary decided to plant colorful roses in an area where only desert plants would grow. Juan took these roses and placed them in his tilma, presenting them to the Franciscan Bishop-elect, Juan Zumarraga this time instead. When Juan unfolded his tilma before the Bishop, the roses cascaded onto the floor and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously impressed to the cloth”. This finally convinced the Bishop, influencing him to order a shrine to be built where Mary had originally appeared. The main image associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Virgin Mary with jet black hair, wrapped in a turquoise shawl bordered in gold, wearing an open crown with her head lowered, hands clasped in prayer and an angel at her feet. In the shrine that was built in Tepeyac, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe hangs above the main altar. The image is preserved in a glass screen and can be viewed from twenty-five feet away. More than ten million people come to visit this specific shrine each year due to its possession of the original image of Guadalupe. This makes it the second most popular shrine in the Catholic world, following after St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. Many events in previous years have occurred at and around the Basilica in Mexico that could have completely destroyed the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe; yet it still remains in tact each time. One event was an extreme flood in the city and another was an issue with a bomb. Someone had placed a bomb directly inside the Basilica before the altar where the image was hung. When the bomb went off, no damage to the display of Our Lady of Guadalupe occurred whatsoever. The altar was completely ruined but nothing else was harmed. This incident further enhanced the miraculous miracles and power associated her.
Our Lady of Guadalupe touches millions of lives, acting as symbol that “...links together family, politics, religion, colonial past and independent present, Indian and Mexican…” (Mexican National Symbol). The image is often referred to as being a “collective representation” of Mexican society as well. It is known that women often times go up to Tepeyac on their knees to pay their respects for Our Lady of Guadalupe as well. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found in over a thousand places. People have it placed inside and outside of their homes, inside churches and on home altars, in bullrings and gamblings dens, cars, taxis and buses.

Researched by Courtney M. Ware

Popular Devotions

Women go up Topiac on their knees, Prayers for the Unborn

Hail Mary

Dios te salve, María. Llena eres de gracia: El Señor es contigo. 
Bendita tú eres entre todas las mujeres. 
Y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre: Jesús. 
Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores, 
ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.


All content is used with permission 
of the Marian Library at the