Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe has been a symbol of Mexico as a nation since their War of Independence. Our clay statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe portrays her with olive skin similar to the indigenous Mexicans and their mestizo descendants in Mexico. This image of the Virgin Mary has been used by advocates of Indian rights throughout Mexican history since the 1500s, most recently by the Zapatista movement. The story goes that the widower Juan Diego, a simple Mexican peasant of Aztec ancestry, saw a young girl of about fifteen or sixteen on a hill near Mexico City. Catholic convert Diego recognized her as the Virgin Mary. She gave Diego a message for the local bishop. However, the bishop demanded Diego ask the Virgin to provide a miracle to prove who she was, as he did not believe Juan Diego. Diego asked the Virgin. The Virgin told him to spread flowers on his cloak. Even though it was December and he hadn’t seen any flowers around, he said okay. What he found were Castilian roses, plants native to the locale where the bishop was from, not to this part of Mexico. Diego covered his cloak with the flowers and took it to the bishop. When the cloak was opened, the flowers fell off and there was a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As you gaze upon our charming painted clay statue of the Virgin, remember the simplicity of Juan Diego who did was the Virgin asked despite what his rational mind told him was impossible. –
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