Guadalupe, Our Lady of
GUADALUPE, OUR LADY OF
Founded on an old tradition, this image and sanctuary is one of the most famous in all Latin America, and devotion to it has increased in modern times. According to tradition, on Dec. 9, 1531, juan diego, a man more
than 50 years old, saw the Virgin Mary at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of Mexico City. She instructed him to have the bishop build a church on the site. Three days later in a second appearance she told Juan Diego to pick flowers and take them to the bishop. When he presented them as instructed, roses fell out of his mantle and beneath them was the painted image of the Lady.
Documentary Basis. The oldest documentary evidence of this event comes from the interpreter. Since Juan Diego did not know Spanish and Bishop Zumárraga did not know the Indian language, Juan Gonzáles served as interpreter. González was, at 18, a fortune seeker whom the bishop had sheltered, taught, and ordained, and who became a canon of the cathedral. After Zumárraga died, González gave up his canonry and devoted himself to the evangelization of the native peoples. At the same time he left his papers to Juan de Tovar, whose brief summary of them in Nahuatl was kept in the library of Tepozotlán because Tovar entered the Society of Jesus in 1572. The summary is preserved in the Biblioteca Nacional de México and is of importance as a document based on the evidence given by a witness to the meeting of Juan Diego and Bishop Zūmárraga. However, it is not a detailed account.
A better-known document is the Valeriano Relation, drawn up between 1560 and 1570. It was written by Valeriano and a group of Native Mexicans under the direction of Fray Bernardino de sahagÚn. First used by Miguel Sánchez, the document was published by Luis Lazo de la Vega in 1649. There are manuscript copies in several North American libraries, and in Paris a version prepared by Picardo in the 18th century. It has two parts: a direct account of the event, the nucleus of the tradition, and an account of the miracles worked in the sanctuary or through the invocation of the Virgin Mary in this manifestation. The first part, prepared by the students of Tlatelolco under Sahagún's direction, is arranged in a literary fashion, according to Nahuatl stylistics, but the facts coincide with those in the Tovar document. The account of the miracles, also written in Nahuatl, is much later and includes events of the 17th century. Thus it is most important for the study of the progress of the devotion and the cult in that century. Some have attributed this part of the Relation to Carlos de Alva Ixtlilxóchitl. There is little evidence for this, although the document is contemporary with the Texcocan historian.
Among the minor documents are at least 15 Anales de los Indios. These give communal testimony of the most notable happenings in the native world and include many references to the Tepeyac apparitions. While it has been stated that Bishop Zumárraga made special reports on this event, none are extant; and it is probable that none were ever written. Reports on such supposed supernatural events were not required until the Council of Trent.
The second archbishop of Mexico, Alonso de Montúfar, was a great promoter of the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the Provincial Council of 1555, he, along with other bishops, formulated canons that indirectly approved the apparitions, for the order to abolish and prevent the worship of images and the propagation of traditions not well founded did not mention the Guadalupan image and devotion to it. Canon 72 ordered the examination of songs sung at native feasts and dances for taint of paganism; some testimony indicates that these included songs in honor of the apparition of Mary, but no authentically Guadalupan songs are extant. In 1666 a formal inquiry was made from February 18 to March 22 in order to give authority to the tradition. Information concerning the endurance of the tradition and the general belief in it was given by witnesses, some of them centenarians. References to early events are vague and rather weak. The investigation was not canonical or timely, since it was held 135 years after the event. Another was made in 1723, by order of Archbishop Lanziego y Eguilaz. These have no value except to bear witness to the permanence of the tradition. Of even less value are some of the inquiries that were held during the 19th century.
Cult and Its Extension. The first sanctuary was erected about 1533. It is the little hermitage that rests in the foundations of what was for many years a parish church. In 1556 Archbishop Montúfar began the erection of this second church. In 1695 the first stone of the new sanctuary was laid in the place it now occupies. The sanctuary was solemnly dedicated in 1709. With the additions made in 1893 and the following years, and again in the 1930s, this was the basilica of 1964. However, plans were then being made for a new church.
The image was carried to various parts of the world, particularly after the religious of the Society of Jesus were expelled from the Spanish dominions (1767). But the diffusion had started even earlier. In Italy and France the image and the tradition were already known. In 1564 Andrés De urdaneta carried an image with him on the first formal expedition to the Philippine Islands. One was taken to Puerto Rico. Those who returned from the Indies spread the devotion in Spain. A well-known image is to be found in Trent and another, which made miraculous demonstrations in 1796, is now located in Rome, where it is enshrined in the church of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano.
In 1746 the knight boturini benaducci promoted the solemn and official coronation of the image. The coronation took place in 1895, with pontifical authority and the attendance of a great part of the episcopate of the Americas. This coronation was made later in various parts of the world: in Santa Fé, Argentina (1928) and later in Los Angeles, Calif., in several places in Europe, and even in Asia, where the image was placed in a Hindu temple.
In 1737 the Most Holy Mary of Guadalupe was chosen as the patroness of the city of Mexico. In the course of the year, other important cities of the country followed suit. In 1746 the patronage was accepted for all of New Spain, which then embraced the regions from Upper California to Guatemala and El Salvador. In 1754 Benedict XIV approved the patronage and granted a Mass and Office proper to the celebration of the feast on December 12. In 1757 the Virgin of Guadalupe was declared patroness of the citizens of Ciudad Ponce in Puerto Rico. In 1910 Pius X declared the Virgin Patroness of Latin America, and in 1935 Pius XI extended the patronage to the Philippines. Pius XII, speaking in 1945 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the coronation, stated that the Virgin of Guadalupe was the "Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas" and that she had been painted "by brushes that were not of this world." John XXIII assisted at a coronation in a church in Rome and gave the image special praise in his brief discourse. On January 22, 1999, Pope Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the Patroness of the Americas. By a decree dated March 25, 1999, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments mandated the obligatory celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 throughout the Americas.
Bibliography: a. m. garibay k., "La maternidad espiritual de María en el Mensaje Guadalupano," La maternidad espiritual de María (Mexico City 1961). d. demarest and c. taylor, eds., The Dark Virgin: The Book of Our Lady of Guadalupe: A Documentary Anthology (Freeport, Me. 1956). j. garcÍa icazbalceta, Investigación histórica y documental sobre la aparición de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Mexico City 1952). p. f. velÁzquez, La aparición de santa María de Guadalupe (Mexico City 1931). j. rodriguez, Our Lady of Guadalupe: Faith and Empowerment among Mexican-American Women (Austin, Tex. 1994). s. poole, Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Origins and Sources of a Mexican National Symbol, 1531–1797 (Tucson, Ariz 1995). v. p. elizondo, Guadalupe, Mother of the New Creation (Maryknoll, N.Y. 1997). l. l. de la vega, trans. l. sousa, s. poole, et al. The Story of Guadalupe: Luis Laso de la Vega's Huei tlamahuiçoltica of 1649 (Stanford, Calif. 1998). d. a. brading, Mexican Phoenix: Our Lady of Guadalupe: Image and Tradition Across Five Centuries (Cambridge, UK/New York 2001)
[a. m. garibay k./eds.]