by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith
"The second Marian feast, that of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is steadily becoming more popular here in Europe, as is only fitting. The appearance of the Virgin to St Juan Diego in 1531 (on the eve of the English Reformation, funnily enough) marks one of the turning points of Catholic history. For the Virgin is the great evangeliser of the peoples of the New World, and it is thanks to her that the New World was, as the Catholic monarchs of Spain intended, claimed for Christ.
Moreover, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego with the features of a Mexican woman, and wearing the traditional maternity dress of the Aztec people: this, the image on the tilma, is the only image we have of Our Lady pregnant with Our Lord, a fitting image for December and Advent, and a wonderful image for us all as we contemplate the Incarnation.
Also of note is that Our Lady is seen as standing on the moon, robed with the sun, and crowned with 12 stars, as in Revelation 12:1, that is to say, displaying the iconographic attributes of the Immaculate Conception. As at Lourdes, so at Guadalupe: the Blessed Virgin comes to us as the Immaculate Conception. This is how she wants to be known to her fellow human beings."