The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in Tepeyac, Mexico to Juan Diego on Tuesday, December 12, 1531—just ten years after the conquest of Mexico. The Mother of God came to share the Gospel with her native sons and daughters on the new continent and to “show and give” all her “love and compassion, help and defense: because I am truly your compassionate Mother.”
As proof of her visit Our Lady made Castilian roses appear miraculously in the place of the apparitions and made her image appear permanently on Juan Diego’s tilma.
First Apparition: Saturday, December 9th in the early morning hours.
Juan Diego hears the songs of birds. Then he hears a voice calling him; he approaches the top of the Tepeyac hill and sees the “little Girl” who tells him to go before the Bishop to ask for a chapel in that place. “Know, know for sure, my dearest and youngest son, that I am the Ever Perfect Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the one great God of Truth… I want very much that they build my sacred little house here…Because there I will listen to their weeping, their sadness, to remedy, to cleanse and nurse all their different troubles, their miseries, their suffering.”
Second Apparition: Saturday, December 9th at about 5 pm.
He manages to see the Bishop who does not really believe him. Juan Diego goes back to the hill and asks that another messenger be chosen. But the Virgin Mary asks him to return the next day to the Bishop. “Listen, my youngest and dearest son, but it is very necessary that you, personally, go and plead, that my wish, my will, become a reality, be carried out through your intercession. And I beg you, my youngest and dearest son and I order you strictly to go again tomorrow to see the bishop. And in my name make him know, make him hear my wish, my will, so that he will build my house of God that I am asking him for.”
Third Apparition: Sunday, December 10th at about 3 pm.
He goes again to the Bishop who, although he says he doesn’t believe, tells him to ask the Lady for a sign. Our Lady tells Juan Diego to return to the hill the next day to receive the sign. “That’s fine, my dear son, you will come back here tomorrow so that you may take the bishop the sign he has asked you for. With this he will believe you, and he will no longer have any doubts about all this and he will no longer be suspicious of you.” Juan Diego doesn’t return because his uncle, Juan Bernardino, is ill.
Fourth Apparition: Tuesday, December 12th very early in the morning.
Since his uncle’s illness is so serious, Juan Diego heads off to Mexico City to look for a priest. As he approaches the hill, because of his urgent mission, he takes a different route so as not to be stopped by the Lady of Heaven. But then she appears in front of him and asks, “What’s happening, youngest and dearest of all my sons? Where are you going, where are you headed for?” And he, ashamed, replies “my little Maiden, my smallest Daughter, my Girl, I hope you are happy; how are you this morning? How do you feel?” And he tells her that he was looking for a priest because his uncle was dying. She answers him “Put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son: do not fear. Am I not here, I, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more?” And she tells him that his uncle is no longer in danger. In that same moment, as later he found out, his uncle was healed. Our Lady sends him to the top of the hill for the flowers, which were to be the sign. When he comes back, she says “My youngest and dearest son, these different kinds of flowers are the proof, the sign that you will take to the bishop; you will tell him from me that he is to see in them my desire, and that therefore he is to carry out my wish, my will.” At the same time that she appears to Juan Diego, she also appears to his uncle, Juan Bernardino, in his house. She cures him of his illness and tells him her name and asks that from now on “her beloved Image be named thus: THE EVER VIRGIN, HOLY MARY OF GUADALUPE.”
The image on the tilma: Tuesday, December 12th at midday.
In Bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga’s house, Juan Diego shows him the roses that he was carrying in his ayate, which were the sign given by Our Lady. “And then he held out his white tilma, in the hollow of which he had placed the flowers. And just as all the different precious flowers fell to the floor, then and there the beloved Image of the Perfect Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God, became the sign, suddenly appeared in the form and figure in which it is now, as it is preserved in her beloved little house, in her sacred little house at Tepeyac.”