Juan Diego and the Tilma of Guadalupe
The Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531 in Tepeyac, a small hill and former sanctuary to the Aztec goddess Tonanzin. Mary asked Juan to request that the local bishop build a church on that site. Bishop Juan Zumarraga, in disbelief, asked for a heavenly sign. Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego on the top of the hill, which was covered with beautiful flowers blooming out of season. Arranging the cut flowers on his cloak a tilma, Mary sent him on his way. When Juan unfolded his tilma before the bishop, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared on it.
This image echoes the moment when Juan Diego unfurled the tilma before the bishop. Because of Juan Diego’s evangelization, an estimated nine million Indians converted to the Christianity within 10 years of the apparition. The map behind him calls to mind how all of Mexico came to Christianity. Our Lady of Guadalupe has been declared the patroness of the Americas.
- 5th Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition, 2014, The Saint Vincent Gallery, Latrobe, PA