Artist: unknown Photo: Sal Rojas

Our Lady of Guadalupe

The most revered shrine in Mexico, it honors the nation's patron saint, The Guadalupe Virgin.

Mexican Catholics believe that on December 9, 1531 the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego, a humble Indian, while he was walking to church in Tlateloco over Tepeyac Hill... speaking to him in Nahuatl language told him that a church should be built on the spot. Reporting back to the local bishop, Diego was treated with some skepticism... the bishop requested proof.

The Indian returned on December 12 - the Virgin reappeared, asking him to take roses to the Bishop as proff...using his mantle to gather the roses, on opening his cloak before the Bishop, they found a vivid image of the Virgin imprinted on the cloth. The cloth hangs over the main altar in a frame of pure gold; vistors can pass beneath the cloth via a moving sidewalk.

December 12 remains a high point in the religious calendar; the shrine brings thousands of pilgrims year-round from all over the world.

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