Can anyone imagine what it must have felt like to be walking in the hills on the outskirts of Mexico City on a beautiful sunny day, to suddenly hear your name being called by a soft, gentle voice and, upon looking up to see who is calling, looking into the eyes of the most beautiful face you have ever seen? Every time I think about Our Lady of Guadalupe appearing to Juan Diego, I get chills running up and down my spine.
In the year 2000, I was privileged to witness the canonization of San Juan Diego with my nephew, Juan Diego, at the Basilica of Our lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. For the first time in my life, I saw the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was miraculously imprinted by Mary on the tilma of San Juan Diego in 1531. I finally understood the great devotion the Mexican people have to “their Lady,” “their Mother”, “their Protectress.”
On the eve of the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, December 11, the Mexican people come to the Basilica from near and far to pay homage to their “Lady.” Famous singers and musicians serenade her with beautiful original songs. Prayers are recited and favors are asked but mostly the people just want to thank her for the gift of herself to them.
During her recent visit to Mexico, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She left a bouquet of white flowers and lit a green candle to Mary on behalf of the American people. Hillary Clinton is not Catholic; however her action suggests her belief that Mary will listen to anyone who believes in her. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of all the Americas; she belongs to all of us.
Early in our beginnings as Benet Hill Monastery, Sister Katie Keeley created a large mosaic of our Lady of Guadalupe which holds a special place in our monastery to this day.