Treasures From Our Tradition
TREASURES FROM OUR TRADITION
SAINT JUAN DIEGO (1474-1548)
How well Mary’s own words describe Juan Diego: “God has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly” (Luke 1:52). Through him, for the diverse peoples of the Americas, indigenous and immigrant, the Mother of God became known as their Mother, too. Cuauhtlatzin, his given name, means “One Who Speaks Like an Eagle,” and Juan Diego faithfully delivered the Virgin’s request that a church be built at Tepeyac where she had appeared to him. To the skeptical bishop’s request for a sign, Our Lady showed Juan Diego roses blooming through stony ground, despite winter’s cold. When he unfolded his tilma to present them to the bishop, imprinted there was Mary’s image! Her blue sash and the flower over her womb were traditional Aztec symbols of pregnancy and new life. But her features were those of a mestiza, indicating mixed Aztec-European heritage. Thus to peoples too easily prone to a “clash of cultures,” Our Lady of Guadalupe remains the enduring icon of unity-in-diversity, the fruit of our one baptism into Jesus, her Son.
—Peter Scagnelli, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.