La Virgin Guadalupe: Patroness of the Americas

Patroness of the Americas

Patroness of the Americas

I first visited the shrine to La Virgin at Guadalupe on the fringes of Mexico City during the sweaty summer of 1976 with my parents. In 2006, I visited with my niece, the photographer sjlzocklein.
In 2011, I started reading books on the Virgin of Guadalupe in the collection at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.   Online resources include:  the Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Here are some notes from my study of La Virgin of Guadalupe.

Examination of photos of the eyes in the original image transferred magically or painted onto Juan Diego‘s tilma (cloak) has revealed through photos taken of the Virgin’s pupils and subsequently enlarged,  that there are miniature scenes depicted in the eyes, as described in the revelation report.

Paul Badde, the author, travels to Jerusalem, Greece, Medjugorje in Herzegovina, other well known pilgrimage sites. He also travels to Mexico in a pilgrimage to find out more about the Virgin of Guadaloupe and her place in Mexican culture.

“At the time of the Spanish conquest, Tlatelolco was a suburb of Tenochtitlan and the largest commercial center of Mexico. All the references to places in the Nican Mopohua can still be found o the Mexico City map and in the network of Metro stations.” p. 142

Source: Badde, Paul. (2008). Maria of Guadalupe. Shaper of History, Shaper of Hearts. Translated by Carol Cowgill. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.


On the night between the 11th and 12th December, Tepeyac is literally packed with people, thousands of salesmen selling fake jewellery, musical tapes, feathers, clothes caged birds, etc. People approach the basilica walking on their knees, weeping and chanting. Lights are lit in the basilica, soft singing echoes … people file solemnly under the image of the Virgin. Perhaps the scene in and around the basilica can be interpreted as an example of what liberation theologians call eclesiogenesis: the church is unceasingly created by the marginalized, peasants, farmers and beggars, who to this day can act like subjects in their own history. (interpretation from Monsivais, C. 1993, Los espacios de las masas, pp 267-308 in: Mexico a fines de siglo.)

Source: Andersson Daniel. (2001). The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Day of the Dead in the Construction of Mexican Identities. Goteborgs: Skrifter utgivna vid Institutionen for Religionsvetenskap Goteborgs Universitet.


In the area of Mexico City, veneration is focused at Tepeyac where an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the cloak of a country peasant man seeking medical help for a relation who saw the apparition on a hillside.  The beauty of the image as perceived by evaluators led them to rule it was not made by human hand. p. 43.  The Virgin of Guadeloupe appeared in 1531 on Dec 9, to the peasant who was named Juan Diego.  He dictated his experiences to clerks in the bishop’s office and a transcription of the vision as reported was made soon after, but not published until more than a century later.  The Nican Mopohua was written in Nahuatl in 1544 by Antonio Valeriano and published in Spanish in 1649 by Luis Laso de la Vega.

In 1656, at Tulantongo, on the edge of the Valley of Mexico, there is a chapel where the peasant beggar Antonio de Gandia, who was also blind, received a proclamation from the Virgin promising restoration of his sight if he built a chapel by the well in the yard.  … Nearby Franciscans complained their flock were migrating to the Tulantongo chapel. Eventually the Franciscans pushed de Gandia out and refined his legend to suit their own purposes as the centuries passed. p.15

At the town of Calpulalpan in mountains approximately 50 miles east of District Federale (Mexico City) there was a victory of royalist soldiers who defeated rebels from Calpulalpan in 1812. The royalist soldiers took the village statue of St. Anthony of Padua. The townspeople appealed for its return. p. 16-17

Source: Taylor, William B. (2010). Shrines and Miraculous Images. Religious Life in Mexico Before the Reforma. Albuquerque: Univ of New Mexico Press.


Brujeria (accent on the ia) is a collection of religious and folk magic practices that blends Roman Catholicism and the Aztec goddess faith. It has been influenced by other traditions, such as spiritism, Santeria, Voodoo, Wicca, and ceremonial magic. It is common throughout Mexico and among Chicano (sic) populations in the United States.

Recipe for love potion from Monsieur Diaz an antique book dealer who had a gallery in the Palais Royale, Paris during the 1980s.

Por Mi Amante

2 lbs fresh strawberries, sliced

juice of 1 lemon (or lime, even better)

1 bottle great quality tequila

1 tbsp piloncillo – Mexican dark sugar, or regular sugar,  or omit, depending on taste.

Mix in large bottle. Let rest in darkness for at least a month. Filter and drink very cold.

It is liquid ruby with very intense alcohol.

p. 44-45

Source:  Hanut, Eryk.(2001  The Road to Guadalupe, A Modern Pilgrimage to the Goddess of the Americas. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.


This book contains many images of the Virgin of Guadeloupe — naive, modern, antique, fancy, fanciful, charming.

Source: Corcuera, Marie-Pierre Colle. (2005).Guadeloupe: Body and Soul. New York: Vendome Press, New York

Locations of sacred sites where the Virgin has appeared in Mexico:

Our Lady of Zapopan, in an Indian village close to Guadalajara.

Our Lady of San Juan de Lagos, in a sanctuary in Jalostitlan, close to the road to Zacatecas.

Our Lady of Ocotlan, majestic sanctuary outside Tlaxcala.

Source: Brading, D.A. (2001). Mexican Phoenix. Our Lady of Guadalupe: Image and Tradition Across Five Centuries. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.p. 141.


Other major spiritual shrines in Mexico include:

Zapotlan del Rey, Jalisco – Madonna and child known as Neustra Senora del Socorro.

Shrine of San Miguel del Milagro, Tlaxcala with original story from early 17th c. There is a great wooden cross planted there, crucifixes radiating a great light.

Sacred journeys for Otomi people of San Pedro Cholula are to Ocoyoacac, Estado de Mexico.

At Tlatelolco, the shrine of Neustra Senora de los Angeles.

At Huatulco on the coast of Oaxaca state, there is a miraculous image of a cross that could not be destroyed by English Protestant pirates. p. 27

The Huaquechula cross was discovered in August 1806 painted on a boulder in the river on edge of town. The Indios who found it sought permission to create a shrine. Prints of the refined cross circulated. By 1809 pilgrims came from both coasts to celebrate the Day of the Holy Cross on May 3. Their unsanctioned and effective local marketing effort was nipped by Bishop Manuel Ignacio Gonzalez del Campillo in 1810 when he ordered the stone pulverized and all images destroyed. p. 49

Pachuca – In 1648 the soul in limbo of Juan Mexia, a recently deceased miner, had appeared to a young Spaniard named Juan Gonzalez. Mexia’s shade appeared three times during Holy Week.

Zumpahuacan – shamans claimed to have met Christ and angels during a series of drugged visions here. p. 28

Other sites:  Ocotlan, Tlaxcala; Juquila, Oaxaca;  Soledad, Oaxaca; and Izamal, Yucatan.

Source: Taylor, William B. (2010). Shrines and Miraculous Images. Religious Life in Mexico Before the Reforma. Albuquerque: Univ of New Mexico Press.

About patwa

Dedicated reader, writer, and traveler. Book reviewer France Travel Adventures in writing Pyrenees Pilgrimage is about walking across France alone through the Pyrenees Mountains. It is available in Kindle or print-on-demand.
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