Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Since my devotion to Mary is… tenuous… I honestly don’t pay much attention to this day. But there is something beautiful in the story and the flowers and the titles. I saw this title used for the first time yesterday, and it just struck me as almost fairytale-like: the Virgin who Danced on the Moon.
However, Juan Diego would have been familiar with Spanish, and all the early records record the name of Guadalupe, not an Aztec name. The name Guadalupe was already associated with Mary at this point—back in Spain. In Extremadura, Castile, a monastery holds a shrine with a cedar sculpture of Mary holding the Christ Child. The legend of this Lady is that the statue was carved by Luke the Evangelist, handed down until it reached Pope Gregory I when he was bishop of Seville. When Seville was conquered by the Moors in 712, some priests fled to Extremadura and buried the statue in order to save it. In the 1300s, Mary appeared to a local rancher and asked him to have priests dig up a particular piece of land, where they found the statue. The chapel built around the statue attributed the Spanish conquest of the Moors to Mary’s intercession.