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The Virgin of Guadalupe
Oil on canvas, Salvador Dali, 1959

About the painting

Reflections on the painting by Lauren Keslow

PLOGS BELOW (JML's Poetic Commentary)

Our Lady of Guadalupe

When I reflect on the story of Juan Diego
seeing the apparition of Our Lady of
Guadalupe, I imagine Juan Diego felt like
he was given an impossible task and
asked to just persevere out of faith. I also
think about Juan Diego trying to get out
of completing the task because he felt
inadequate and obviously nobody
believed him anyway. And the Blessed
Mother just pursued Juan Diego as the
one she chose for the task.

I’m pretty certain everyone can relate to
feeling like a total useless loser. And I’m
certain everyone can relate to feeling
like a loser because someone treated you
like you were nobody important and
essentially nobody worth knowing and
thus you must be a total loser. And that’s
the story of Juan Diego trying to get the
attention of the Bishop to build the church
the Blessed Mother requested. And what do
you know, as it turned out Juan Diego
wasn’t a total loser. He went from zero to
hero because the Blessed Mother came
through with some miracles to get the
bishop’s attention.

Here is the story of Juan Diego according
to Wikipedia.

Juan Diego, as a devout neophyte, was in
the habit of regularly walking from his home
to the Franciscan mission station at Tlatelolco
for religious instruction and to perform his
religious duties. His route passed by the hill
at Tepeyac.

First apparition: at dawn on Saturday,
December 9, 1531 while on his usual journey,
he encountered the Virgin Mary who revealed
herself as the ever-virgin Mother of God and
instructed him to request the bishop to erect a
chapel in her honour so that she might relieve
the distress of all those who call on her in their
need. He delivered the request, but was told by
the bishop (Fray Juan Zumárraga) to come back
another day after he had had time to reflect
upon what Juan Diego had told him.

Second apparition, later the same day:
returning to Tepeyac, Juan Diego encountered
the Virgin again and announced the failure of
his mission, suggesting that because he
was "a back-frame, a tail, a wing, a man of no
importance" she would do better to recruit someone
of greater standing, but she insisted that he was
whom she wanted for the task. Juan Diego agreed
to return to the bishop to repeat his request. This
he did on the morning of Sunday, December 10
when he found the bishop more compliant. The
bishop, however, asked for a sign to prove that
the apparition was truly of heaven.

Third apparition: Juan Diego returned
immediately to Tepeyac and, encountering the
Virgin Mary reported the bishop's request for a
sign; she condescended to provide one on the
following day (December 11).

By Monday, December 11, however, Juan Diego's
uncle Juan Bernardino had fallen sick and Juan
Diego was obliged to attend to him. In the very
early hours of Tuesday, December 12, Juan
Bernardino's condition having deteriorated
overnight, Juan Diego set out to Tlatelolco to
get a priest to hear Juan Bernardino's confession
and minister to him on his death-bed.

Fourth apparition: in order to avoid being
delayed by the Virgin and embarrassed at having
failed to meet her on the Monday as agreed, Juan
Diego chose another route around the hill, but the
Virgin intercepted him and asked where he was
going; Juan Diego explained what had happened
and the Virgin gently chided him for not having had
recourse to her. In the words which have become
the most famous phrase of the Guadalupe event
and are inscribed over the main entrance to the
Basilica of Guadalupe, she asked: "¿No estoy yo
aquí que soy tu madre?" ("Am I not here, I who am
your mother?"). She assured him that Juan
Bernardino had now recovered and she told him
to climb the hill and collect flowers growing there.
Obeying her, Juan Diego found an abundance of
flowers unseasonably in bloom on the rocky
outcrop where only cactus and scrub normally
grew. Using his open mantle as a sack (with the
ends still tied around his neck) he returned to the
Virgin; she re-arranged the flowers and told him to
take them to the bishop. On gaining admission to
the bishop in Mexico City later that day, Juan Diego
opened his mantle, the flowers poured to the floor,
and the bishop saw they had left on the mantle an
imprint of the Virgin's image which he immediately

Fifth apparition: the next day Juan Diego found
his uncle fully recovered, as the Virgin had assured
him, and Juan Bernardino recounted that he too
had seen her, at his bed-side; that she had instructed
him to inform the bishop of this apparition and of his
miraculous cure; and that she had told him she
desired to be known under the title of Guadalupe.
The bishop kept Juan Diego's mantle first in his
private chapel and then in the church on public
display where it attracted great attention. On
December 26, 1531 a procession formed for
taking the miraculous image back to Tepeyac
where it was installed in a small hastily erected
chapel. In course of this procession, the first
miracle was allegedly performed when an Indian
was mortally wounded in the neck by an arrow
shot by accident during some stylized martial
displays executed in honour of the Virgin. In great
distress, the Indians carried him before the Virgin's
image and pleaded for his life. Upon the arrow
being withdrawn, the victim made a full and
immediate recovery.


In honor of The Feast of
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Thursday, December 12, 2019

About Our Lady of Guadalupe

About Juan Diego


The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
(audiobook) youtu.be/mTtMj9INlnE

Saint Theresa of Avila



Simone de Beauvoir


Death Comes For The Archbishop
Willa Crather



Plog Post: Thursday, December 12, 2019