MISSION AND MINISTRY | Today, Dec. 12, the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The feast recalls the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Juan Diego in Mexico in the 16th century, the Virgin’s healing of Juan’s sick uncle, and Juan’s unwavering devotion to Mary even in the face of resistance from the archbishop of Mexico City.
In the intervening centuries, the Virgin of Guadalupe has become an important cultural figure for Mexican and other Latina/Latino Catholics. For Professor Cecilia González-Andrieu of LMU’s Department of Theological Studies, the Virgin of Guadalupe has a range of meanings:
My students and I sometimes just use shorthand when speaking of her, for us she is simply La Virgen, so beloved, so central to the lives of our communities that she is family. Sometimes she is the exemplar of the strong woman, rallying Juan Diego to defy the archbishop and raise his voice. At other times, she is the nurturing mother, who insists she will care for Juan Diego’s sick uncle, while he carries her message. She makes us strong, and she also helps us let go. And at all times, she is the evocation of the extraordinary beauty of creation. The songs of the birds announce her, the flowers bloom out of season for her and her exquisite portrait is left behind to continue telling the story of the little ones, the poor, the insignificant, God’s beloved. La Virgen, pregnant with Jesus, presents him to us continually, ready to be born into our world and fill it with flores y cantos.
A special bilingual Mass was celebrated this past Sunday morning in Sacred Heart Chapel on LMU’s campus to honor La Virgen.