The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 12) recalls the appearance in 1531 of the Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego, a native who had recently converted to Catholicism, at a place called Tepeyac in what is now Mexico City. The Virgin asked that a church be built on the site. The local bishop was skeptical of Juan Diego’s story, however, and requested a sign that the request was really divine in origin. The Virgin offered the bishop several signs, beginning with the out-of-season and non-native Castillian roses that she gave to Juan to present to the bishop. When the roses tumbled from Juan’s tilma (or mantle), they revealed a miraculous image of the Virgin on Juan’s garment. Later, Juan’s uncle testified that the Virgin had appeared to him as well, curing him when he had been on the point of death.
You can read a kid-friendly version of the story here: Meet Juan Diego! Saints for Kids.
Celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Establish an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in your home
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims travel to Mexico City to venerate the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day. You can make your own devotion to the miraculous image by purchasing a copy to display in your home oratory; alternatively, print out the image for display.
You can get great images to download and print at Sancta.org.
Pray for the intentions of Our Lady of Guadalupe
For family prayer, pray a rosary for the unborn (the Virgin appears to be pregnant), for the plight of native peoples, or for the people of Latin America, especially migrants and refugees of drug violence.
You can find many other prayers to pray on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Sancta.org, the most comprehensive resource on Our Lady of Guadalupe online.
Celebrate with food
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron of the Americas, but she has a special place in the heart of the Mexican people. It is traditional to enjoy Mexican food on her feast day. Try these yummy fish tacos for the feast day; you can get the recipe here.
Shower of Roses has a full menu, complete with an amazing Tepeyac Hill centerpiece.
Read the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe
You can also read a kid-friendly story about St. Juan Diego.
Alternatively, get a picture book from your parish or public library. A beautifully illustrated children’s picture book is Our Lady of Guadalupe, by Carmen Bernier-Grande.
Watch a video or two
Here’s a shorter (seven minutes) exposition of the story, with historical context, appropriate for older kids.
And here’s an 18-minute video about the image itself…a little dry and technical for younger kids, but appropriate for older kids and teens.
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