A collaboration by the Catholic and Dominican Institute, Campus Ministry, and the Hispanic Studies program at Mount Saint Mary College recently invited students to celebrate the life of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Day, or Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, is celebrated in Mexico on December 12.
Students and faculty enjoyed a fiesta of empanadas, rice and beans, guacamole, salsa, and churros right outside of the chapel in the Dominican Center.
Fr. Gregoire Fluet, campus chaplain, director of Campus Ministry, and adjunct instructor of History and Religious Studies led the event by telling the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe (also known as Queen of Mexico) and the contributions she has made influencing Latino and Mexican religious cultures.
It is said that when Our Lady of Guadalupe arrived on the hill of Tepeyac, Mexico in 1531, she was greeted by Juan Diego, an indigenous peasant. After introducing herself to him, she asked him to build her a shrine in that same place, so she would be able to share her love and understanding with others.
Then Juan Diego visited Juan de Zumárraga, the Archbishop of what is now present-day Mexico City. However, he did not believe that Juan Diego was a future Saint, and wanted him to show proof of the story and the Lady’s identity. Once Diego and the Lady met again, she directed him to pick a bouquet of flowers to give to the Archbishop.
Although it was wintertime, to Juan Diego’s surprise, he was able to collect flowers of a type he’d never seen before. The Lady fit the flowers into Juan’s cloak, or tilmàtli – a type of outer garment worn by men among Aztecs and other people of central Mexico. While presenting the rare flowers to the Archbishop, they fell from his tilmàtli, and noticed them to be Castilian roses, which are not indigenous to Mexico. Moreover, the tilmàtli miraculously displayed a bright image of the Virgin of Guadalupe herself.
The same tilmàtli has been preserved since, becoming one of the most sacred religious objects in Mexico.