Our Lady of Guadalupe: Sources in English

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González, Frank

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Benson Latin American Collection


According to tradition, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, an Indian, on a hill near the outskirts of Mexico City on a December morning in 1531. Before the Conquest, the site of her apparition, Tepeyac, had been a sacred place dedicated to the Aztec goddess, Tonantzin. Her image, imprinted on Juan Diego's mantle, was one of a brown-skinned madonna with pre-Columbian vestiges, and struck a chord with her early supplicants. A cult soon developed around "La Morenita." She was adopted as a symbol of Mexican nationalism, and has become a rallying point for political and social movements from the Mexican countryside of the insurgents to the fields of California's farmworkers. To her devotees, La Virgen de Guadalupe invokes faith, hope, and compassion; she embraces the cause of the poor, the ignored, the voiceless, the oppressed. In short, La Reina de México and Emperatriz de las Américas, as she is often referred to, has left a profound impact of the religious and cultural life of Mexicans and Mexican Americans.



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