Nearly a decade after Spain’s conquest of Mexico, the future of
Christianity on the American continent was very much in doubt.
Confronted with a hostile colonial government and Native Americans wary
of conversion, the newly appointed bishop-elect of Mexico wrote to tell
the king of Spain that, unless there was a miracle, the continent would
be lost. Between December 9 and December 12, 1531, that miracle
happened, and it forever changed the future of the continent.
was then that the Virgin Mary famously appeared to a Native American
Christian convert on a hilltop outside of what is now Mexico City. The
image she left imprinted on his cloak, or tilma, has puzzled scientists
for centuries, and yet Our Lady of Gudalupe’s place in history is
profound. A continent that just months before the apparitions seemed
completely lost to Christianity suddenly and inexplicably embraced it by
the millions. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s message of love replaced the
institutionalized violence of the Aztec culture and built a bridge
between two worlds—the old and the new—that were just ten years
earlier engaged in brutal warfare.
Today, Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to inspire the devotion of millions. From
Canada to Argentina—and even beyond the Americas—one finds great
devotion to her, and great appreciation for her message of love, unity, and hope. Today reproductions of the Virgin’s miraculous image can be
seen throughout North and South America, in churches and homes, on
billboards and even clothing apparel. Her shrine in Mexico City, where
the miraculous image is housed to this day, is one of the most visited
in the world.
In Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love,
Anderson and Chavez trace the history of Our Lady of Guadalupe from
the sixteenth century to the present and discuss how her message was and
continues to be an important catalyst for religious and cultural
transformation. Looking at Our Lady of Guadalupe as a model of the
Church and Juan Diego as a model for all Christians who seek to answer
Christ’s call of conversion and witness, the authors explore the
changing face of the Catholic Church in North, Central, and South
America, and they show how Our Lady of Guadalupe’s message was not only
historically significant but how it speaks to contemporary issues
confronting the American continents and people today. Download and start listening now!