"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

Image Of The Virgin Resurfaces After Being Buried For A Decade In A Mexican River

"Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety, or pain. Am I not here, I who am your mother?"—OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE TO JUAN DIEGO


n July 2020, the northeastern Mexican city of Monterrey was struck by hurricane Hanna. Although it weakened into a tropical depression when it arrived, it still brought torrential rains that led to flooding, damage to infrastructure, and several casualties. After the flood subsided, a 40-foot-tall sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been blessed by St John Paul II, emerged from the riverbed after 10 years of being buried under mud and stones.

In 2010, the image was lost to Río Santa Catarina when hurricane Alex wrecked havoc in the city. The 14-ton image, which is made of steel, was lifted over singing and cheering crowds who believed that Mary came back to "help the sick people get well." In the previous months it underwent restoration before it is returned to its original location on the edge of one of Monterrey's main highways overlooking the Mexican river.

Temple of the Feathered Serpent
Teotihuacán: The "city of the gods"

Founded 200 years before Christ, was the ancient metropolis of Teotihuacán in Central America. It was the cradle of civilization that dominated ancient Mexico for five centuries. Recently, archeologists have found, at the bases of the Pyramids of the Sun and of the Feathered Serpent, some skeletons of decapitated humans with the hands bound behind the back. The smaller pyramid called the Temple of the Feathered Serpent is adorned with 360 finely sculpted heads of the "Serpent god" to whom it is dedicated. Bloody rituals including human sacrifices were prevalent until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores.

Apparition at Tepeyac Hill, c. December 9, 1531

The name that the Virgin gave to the indigenous Mexican peasant Juan Diego in his Nahuatl (Aztec) tongue was Coatlaxopeuh, meaning "the one who crushes the serpent"—here not just in reference to the Devil, but a specific Aztecan deity. The Spaniards, unable to pronounce it properly, used Guadalupe insteada Spanish name for a place meaning "river of light."

The Archbishop of Mexico City at that time repeatedly did not believe Juan Diego. On December 10 (Julian calendar), the pastor instructed Diego to return to Tepeyac Hill and ask the woman for a convincing sign to prove her identity. Later that day, the third apparition occurred when Diego returned to Tepeyac. Encountering the same woman, he conveyed the Archbishop's request for a sign, which she consented to provide until the next day (December 11). It so happened that there was an emergency. His uncle was critically ill and when his condition got worse he needed to get a priest to hear his uncle's confession and help minister to him on his deathbed. In a catch-22 situation, poor Diego had to choose: Will he choose the young woman who was persistently appearing, or his Archbishop who was stubbornly unbelieving, or the salvation of his uncle's soul? Diego cannot afford to lose precious time for an obvious choice which might be compromised by that mysterious young woman. He was ashamed too at having failed to meet her as agreed upon that Monday. So he chose another route around Tepeyac Hill. Lo and behold, the Virgin intercepted him and inquired where he was going (fourth apparition, December 12). After Juan Diego explained everything, the Virgin gently chided him for not having made recourse to her. In the words which have become the most famous phrase of the Guadalupe apparitions and are inscribed above 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?"). Spanish translation of the original Nahuatl tongue that the Virgin spoke.

Move To Decriminalize Abortion Thwarted

The image reappeared on the heels of a Supreme Court decision rejecting a move to decriminalize abortion. At the hearing on July 29, 2020, four out of five justices voted against upholding a landmark injunction granted in the eastern state of Veracruz, which would have effectively decriminalized termination (abortion) within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is legal in just two of Mexico's thirty-two states. The people of Monterrey has understood this as a clear and obvious divine intervention from the Blessed Virgin Mary in heaven. Our Lady of Guadalupe was canonically crowned 125 years ago on October 12, 1895 by Pope Pius XIII. Since then the Virgin of Guadalupe has been proclaimed "Queen of Mexico," "Patroness of the Americas," "Empress of Latin America," and "Protectress of Unborn Children" (the latter two titles were given by St Pope John Paul II in 1999). In yet another historical milestone when precious life is threatened, Mary has once again intercepted our wayward path. Besides, her surprise reappearance at the Río Santa Catarina has brought timely comfort to all the faithful not only in Mexico but around the world. Through God's mighty power, she was lifted up from being mired down beneath the riverbed in order to give us—her children—hope amidst one of the greatest threat to humanity—a pandemic. May we draw consolation once again from Mary's words, "Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety, or pain. Am I not here, I who am your mother?"

Fr JM Manzano SJ


  1. ¡Qué momento tan maravilloso! Our Lady truly gives us hope in this time of Pandemic… We are not alone … Ella siempre con nosotros…¡Gracias Fr.Jomari! ¡Cuídate!

    1. ¡Gracias and your Spanish makes me contemplate Mary saying "¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?" She knows every language especially the language of our heart... ¡Cuídate, y que Dios te bendiga!

    2. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” - Nelson Mandela.. Our Lady not only knows our language but speaks in our own language...¡Dios nos bendiga!

    3. Thanks for that! Beautifully said! Reflecting further... Jesus, in such deep sense, learned much from his mother's tender and comforting words... and that is why it is called Mother tongue, the language of our own home. God bless us!

    4. Nakakatuwa ka naman Fr. Jomari... Each day I can see that you are developing your reflections... And I'm learning a lot from it... Salamat gid.

  2. That is labor of love! Daghang salamat!


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