Virgen De Guadalupe day Dec. 12: Catholic Churches celebrate day when Juan Diego saw the Virgin Mary
Today is Virgen De Guadalupe day, a day in Mexican history where thousands of Catholic churches celebrate the Saint.
The Virgen De Guadalupe, also recognized as the Virgin Mary, is believed to have appeared in Mexico City. A Catholic church has been built at the Hill of Tepeyac where the iconic image is said to have appeared to Juan Diego.
Diego, who was an enslaved "Nahua" Indian, witnessed the appearance of the Virgin Mary at the site on Dec. 12, 1531 and asked him to build a church there. Diego had reported his sighting to the Archbishop of Mexico City, who then asked him to return to Tepeyac Hill and ask for a miraculous sign to prove her identity.
The first miraculous sign was the healing of Diego's uncle. The second was flowers blooming at the top of the barren hill in December. An image of the Virgin Mary was also on the fabric of Diego's cloak when he opened it before the Bishop Zumárraga.
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Juan Diego was canonized in 2002 and his cloak, or "tilma", is still displayed at the shrine to this day.
Over 12 million people visit the shrine of Virgen De Guadalupe annually. It has become the second most visited Catholic church in the world, after St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.
On Dec. 12 every year, it has become tradition for Catholic churches in Mexico to travel to the church and take roses to the Virgen De Guadalupe.