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Monday, December 12, 2005

December 12th Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Our Lady of Guadalupe - Mosaic in San Xavier Mission Church in Tucson, Arizona

Today we celebrate the appearance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to a poor indian named Juan Diego at Tepeyac, a hill in northwestern Mexico City. Her clothing and complexion resembled that of the local indians than the conquering Spanish overlords.

Mary instructed Juan Diego to go to the bishop and instruct him to build a church on the site. Of course the bishop ignored the ignorant peasant, Juan Diego. To convince the bishop that Juan Diego was carrying her instructions, Mary gave Juan Diego a bundle of roses, which normally could not be found at that time of year. Juan Diego dutifully wraped the roses in his flimsy cloth cloak and returned to the bishop.

When Juan Diego unwrapped his cloak the bishop saw not only the roses but the perfect impression of the image of Mary as she appeared before Juan Diego. The bishop then believed and had the church built.

Today, almost 500 years later, the cloak is on display in the church - a miracle in itself since it is perfectly preserved despite the fact that the flimsy material should have deteriorated within a few years.

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