In Guad We Trust
There is no influence so powerful as that of the mother.” ~Sara Josepha Hale
I first heard that quote when I was 5 years old. It was during Catechism and man, did I take it to heart. That quote was my secret weapon. I thought and still to this day think that if I first pray to La Virgencita, it would set me up to have an advocate for whatever I was asking for. I thought who can say no to their mother. I can always rely on la Morenita. Yes this is my bumper sticker.
The feast day of The Virgin De Guadalupe, is celebrated on December 12th. She is a powerful symbol to Mexican, Mexican-Americans and LatinX people. She has become a symbol of devotion a symbol of our identity and has inspires artists throughout the LatinX community
La Virgen de Guadalupe is one of the most loved and respected Saints in New Mexico. She first appeared to St. Juan Diego on December 9th, 1531 on top of Tepeyac Hill, where the temple of Tonatzin the Aztec earth-mother goddess once stood prior to the Spanish destroying it.
On that day, Juan Diego was walking up the hill to Mexico City when a beautiful woman surrounded by light appeared. She had dark skin, hair, and eyes. She began speaking to him in Nahuatl, his native language. She told Juan that she was the mother of God the one true God and that a church needed to be built in her honor at the top of the hill. Juan Diego ran to tell the Archbishop, Friar Juan de Zumarraga who quickly dismissed him.
The next day he returned to the hill and there was La Virgen De Guadalupe waiting for him. He explained to her that the Archbishop did not believe him. After telling her what had happened, she told him to keep trying.
Juan Diego went back to the archbishop once again, but this time he demanded proof, a miracle. On December 12th, La Virgen told Juan Diego to go to the top of Tepeyac hill to collect Castilian roses. You May be thinking, how were roses going to prove anything? Well, Castilian Roses are not native to Mexico and it was the middle of winter. Juan Diego wrapped himself in his tilma (blanket) and went back to Tepeyac. When he arrived, he filled his tilma full or roses and went to see the archbishop. As soon as he let the tilma open, and the roses fell onto the archbishop’s feet. On the tilma was the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe.
I remember waiting in line to see Juan Diego’s Tilma with the Virencita on it. I stood on the moving walkway and looked up and felt honored to see it in person. As I walked out there was so much activity outside. There were souvenir and food vendors, tourist, and Indigenous dancers performing outside the Basilica de Guadalupe, Mexico City.
As I walked passed all the activity, I walked into the old Basilica de Guadalupe and the silence hit my ears that it nearly startled me. As I looked up at ornate beauty and Frescoes sadness came over my heart. These paintings depicted several indigenous people seeking out to be baptize. The thoughts of how many people had to die prior to the Virgencita appearing to Juan Diego.
La Virgen de Guadalupe is a representation of Mexican, Mexican America, and New Mexican people. She is a perfect blend of Native and Spanish heritage. There are many symbols hidden within her image that represent both the Catholics and the Natives. Her brown skin and dark eyes and hair represents the Mestizos that live in the Taos Valley, the perfect model of Native and Spanish heritage.
Our Lady Of Guadalupe represents our ancestors, she represents our Mestizo heritage. She unites both belivievers and non-believers because of what she represents. She symbolizes the love of a mother, unity amongst differences, humility, and grace. She represents me.
So next time you are walking around Taos, New Mexico. keep your eyes out for La Virgen De Guadalupe. Remember, it doesn’t hurt to have her as an ally.