In 1531, St. Juan Diego, a poor man from Tepeyac, was walking to Mass, when the Virgin Mary came to him on a hill near Mexico City. She appeared as an Indian maiden, and spoke to Juan Diego in his own language. Mary told him that she was the Mother of the True God.

She sent Juan Diego to tell the bishop that a church should be built on the site where she appeared. When he met with Juan Diego, the bishop asked for a sign from the lady. Mary healed Juan Diego’s uncle, who was seriously ill, and told him that she would provide a sign.

When Juan Diego went back to the bishop, he carried fresh roses in his tilma (cloak) as a sign from Our Lady. He opened his cloak, and imprinted on it was an image of Mary as she had appeared on the hill. The bishop fell to his knees and believed.

To this day, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as she is now known, remains untouched by age or decay. The eyes of Mary on the tilma are said to reflect what she saw in 1531. Her message for the universal Church is one of love and compassion, and she promised to help and protect all mankind.

Many many cures and miracles are attributed to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every year, more than 10 million people visit her Basilica, which is the most popular Marian shrine in the world. In Los Angeles, thousands of faithful venerate her in an annual procession and Mass.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico and the Americas.