Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of our Retreat Program and we constantly seek her intercession and protection for the program, our staff and in a special way for all of the participants of the retreat.
The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is an amazing one and getting to know her and increasing your devotion to her is a wonderful way to grow closer to the Church and Our Lord Jesus.
According to tradition, Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, saw a vision of a young woman on December 9, 1531. While he was on the hill in the desert of Tepeyac near Mexico City, the lady told him to build a church exactly on the spot where they were standing. He told the local bishop, who asked for some proof. He went back and saw the vision again. He told the lady that the bishop wanted proof, and she said “Bring the roses behind you.” When he looked behind, he saw a bunch of roses growing. He cut the roses, placed them in his poncho and returned to the bishop. When he arrived to the bishop, he said he had brought proof. When he opened his poncho, instead of roses there was a picture of the young lady in the vision.
Two accounts published in the 1640s, one in Spanish and the other in Nahuatl, tell how, during a walk from his home village to Mexico City early on the morning of December 9, 1531 (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Spanish Empire), the peasant Juan Diego saw a vision of a young girl of fifteen or sixteen, surrounded by light, on the slopes of the Hill of Tepeyac.
Speaking in the local language, Nahuatl, the Lady asked for a church to be built at that site in her honor, and from her words Juan Diego recognized her as the Virgin Mary. Diego told his story to the Spanish Archbishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, who instructed him to return and ask the Lady for a miraculous sign to prove her claim. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather some flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill. It was winter and no flowers bloomed, but on the hilltop Diego found flowers of every sort, and the Virgin herself arranged them in his tilma, or peasant cloak. When Juan Diego opened the cloak before Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and in their place was the Virgin of Guadalupe, miraculously imprinted on the fabric.