On a December morning in 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared in Mexico to Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexican farmer. During that first sacred encounter and in several more apparitions over the next few days, Mary spoke to Juan Diego in his native, Aztec language and asked him to build a church. She instructed him to bring roses to the bishop, and when he opened his cloak to drop the flowers before the bishop’s feet, all those present were stunned to see Our Lady’s image painted on his cloak.
Why did Mary appear to Juan Diego rather than to the bishop himself or someone else who was more powerful? Mary’s action is a sign of solidarity with those who might not be considered the most prestigious or powerful by society’s standards. She shows that a humble farmer, for example, has important contributions to make.
Beginning in 2016, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has named the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe a day of prayer and solidarity with immigrants and refugees. As the patron of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe gives us a model for how we, too, might reach out to and welcome those who seek a better life in our land. It is in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe that our MSC province has been named.
To learn more: https://www.crs.org/resource-center/our-lady-guadalupeday-prayer-migrants-and-refugees?gclid=CjwKCAiAxMLvBRBNEiwAKhr-nDKX7LQ-QR1n-eWIar-j-4dE2a1a6GRB7ShGUq1YRcWHo1EYseW4-RoCcN8QAvD_BwE ~ Catholic Relief Services