Just How did the Virgin of Guadalupe Get Her Name?

December 21, 2008

Not being Catholic, but being married to a praying Catholic lady I’ve begun to try and learn more about her faith.

So, I’ve done a little searching on the internet (where else) about the Virgin of Guadalupe and her special place in Catholic Mexico.

In Mexico, December 12th is the Virgin of Guadalupe Day, a national holiday.

Many Mexican people make an annual pilgrimage to the basilica for the Virgin Mary in Mexico City.

It’s been said that “The Virgin of Guadalupe is a mystery within a miracle.”. In 1531, an Aztec Indian named Juan Diego (1474–1548), ,claimed to have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary four different times in various isolated areas near Mexico City.

Once she appeared as a beautiful, dark-skinned 14-year-old Mexican Indian girl, who then revealed herself as the “ever-virgin Mary, Mother of God.”

In another appearance she is said to have told Diego that she wanted a church built to honor her where she appeared to him the first time at Guadalupe, the river of the wolf. So here we see just how the Virgin came to be called “The Virgin of Guadalupe.”


To authenticate her holy appearances, the Virgin projected an image of herself on his tilma (cloak).

It’s that same image on the tilma, set in gold at the center of an elaborate altar, that still waits for today’s pilgrims at the basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

When the Virgin appeared as a dark-skinned Native American girl this obviously helped the Spanish priests convert millions of Mexican Indians to Catholicism.

Eventually the committee from the Holy See in Rome declared the apparitions seen by Juan Diego to be authentic, thus making the miracle one of seven appearances of Mother Mary officially recognized by the Vatican.

Another very interesting thing concerning the Virgin is that various images have been said to be found in the eyes of her image.

It’s said that the image of a bearded man is reflected in her right eye. Then later in 1951, an examination of a particularly good photograph of the face of the Virgin an image of a bearded man was seen reflected in both the right and left eyes of Mother Mary.

Since then it’s reported that more than 20 experts, including a number of ophthalmologists, have carefully inspected the eyes and the mysterious images within.

Aste Tonsmann, a graduate of environmental systems engineering of Cornell University, has since theorized that Our Lady of Guadalupe may have left important messages hidden in her eyes that could not be revealed until new technologies would permit them to be discovered.

I’m not a scholar so if any of you reading this have more information to share, please feel free to add your comments to enlighten the rest of us.

A word of caution however. We don’t want this to be a “religious discussion” which is sure to offend someone, but just an interesting look at part of the culture of Mexico which is after all what in part drives many to want to live here.

Now here’s a beautiful song for you to enjoy about the Virgin.

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