"La Virgen Morena"

Late last night and into this early morning we celebrated with "La Morena" who is celebrating it's 480th year since her first apparition on Tepeyac Hill to Juan Diego.

Mexico's most beloved religious and cultural image.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is known in Mexico as "La Virgen Morena", which means "The brown-skinned Virgin".

Our Lady of Guadalupe's feast day is celebrated every December 12th, and commemorates the account of her appearances to Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City from December 9th through December 12th, in 1531.

According to the Roman Catholic Church, a fifty-five-year old indigenous man who had just converted to Christianity was walking from Tepeyac Hill to a church in Mexico City to attend mass.

Suddenly, he beheld a vision of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ and an iconic figure in the Catholic Church.

She told him to go tell the local Bishop and instruct him to build a shrine to her on the very same spot.

Juan Diego, hurried to the Bishop to relate the story.

The Bishop was intrigued but unconvinced; he told Juan Diego that he needed proof.

Three days after the first encounter, on December 12, 1531, Diego saw the vision again.

He told the Virgen Morena, that he needed a sign to prove to the Bishop that she really existed.

She told him to go gather some roses but in the middle of winter there weren't any to be found.

She told him to believe and carry them in his cloak to the Bishop.

When Diego opened his cloak the dozens of roses fell out, and there embedded in the fabric on top of the cloak was the image of the Virgin Mary.

A shrine was soon built on the site, and later a larger basilica.

Since the 1550s, the site has been home to a shrine, one of many dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe across Mexico.

The Virgin of Guadalupe was named the patron saint of Mexico and was named the patroness of all the Americas by than Pope John Paul.

The Virgin of Guadalupe represents a special relationship between the indigenous peoples of the American continents and the Catholic Church.

 It has also been suggested that "Guadalupe" is a corruption of a Nahuatl name  "Coatlaxopeuh", which has been translated as "Who Crushes the Serpent".

She has also been a national symbol for all Mexicans and each year thousands celebrate her apparition.

In Mexico City over 7 million attended events in her honor late last night.

Today, the basilica in Tepeyac Hill contains a cloth said to be the original cloak and is a an important pilgrimage destination for Catholics and believers from all countries. 

La Virgen de Guadalupe makes me feel safer at home and closer to my family.

If you've ever been over you'll know that she’s hanging all over the house.

She even has her own makeshift cerro de Tepeyac in the courtyard of the house in the village.

Mi Virgencita has always renewed my faith and has been my calming peace whenever I've had tough times.

Make it a great Virgen Morena dia!

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