The Guadalupe Story
The traditional story of Guadalupe,
translated from the original Nahuatl language of the Aztecs
by our Fr. Martinus.
Our abbey is named for the beloved Mexican shrine of Guadalupe, whose traditional story we here present. More recent shrines, such as Lourdes, have had a standardized story from the outset, thanks to modern means of communication, but in early Mexico such standardization was impeded by great diversity of languages and separation of social classes and rivalries even within those classes. Thus the Guadalupe story, like that of Jesus Himself, was initially transmitted only orally and in a variety of settings, and was put into writing, as print, only after many decades.
In fact, in the 1940s a Mexican historian highlighted this fact by paralleling four early accounts of Guadalupe with the four Gospels of the New Testament. What is presented here is the second of those Guadalupan accounts, published in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs by the second of these four “evangelists,” Luis Lasso de la Vega, who was chaplain of the shrine from 1647 until 1657.
Here at the abbey our Fr Martinus Cawley has spent many years studying the early literature and is currently preparing a book on the formation of its tradition for the University of New Mexico Press. As a study aid for readers of that book, he plans eventually to mount scholarly translations of all the early accounts on the Web, beginning with this one, which is currently the most popular. It is generally known from its opening words as the Nican Mopohua.
Being in the Nahuatl, the Nican Mopohua received little attention until critical historians of the Enlightenment began to question the tradition and apologists used this text to refute their doubts. Only in 1926 did it become really popular, when an excellent Spanish translation was published by Primo Feliciano Velázquez. And only in the 1940s were its literary and theological beauties appreciated, thanks to the work of the great linguist, Angel Garibay K.
Garibay distinguished two literary styles in the Nican Mopohua, one exquisitely eloquent and the other rather more prosaic. These correspond to two manuscript accounts copied back in the 1620s by another fellow university student of Lasso’s, the linguist and mathematician, Luis Becerra Tanco. When Lasso became chaplain he borrowed Becerra Tanco’s copybooks to use in publishing the story. In 1666 Becerra Tanco himself was persuaded to become an evangelist of Guadalupe, and in the three surviving drafts of his own account he names those twin sources el cantar and la historia (“the ballad” and “the story”). By “the ballad” he meant a paraphrase of a rhythmical song chanted by elderly Indians to accompany an annual dance in the plaza of Guadalupe, in which they told of the Miracle of the Roses and of Tilma and also of the installation of the scared image at the newly built shrine. By “the story” he meant a most eloquent account of dialogues in which Our Lady asks Juan Diego to get the Bishop to build her a shrine, and goes on to assure him that she has healed his uncle of a serious illness. Becerra Tanco had repeatedly witnessed that annual dance during his student days, and a priest uncle of his had heard the eloquent dialogues a generation or two earlier. Becerra Tanco had copied them, along with many other Aztec texts, while preparing for a language-teaching job at the university.
Here is recounted, set out in harmony,
how quite recently, very miraculously,
there appeared the Ever Virgin, Saint Mary,
Mother of God and Our Queen,
over at Tepeyac, which is referred to as Guadalupe.
She first revealed herself to an Indian
by the name of Juan Diego,
and afterwards there appeared Her Sacred Image
in front of the late Bishop, Don Fray Juan de Zumárraga.
2. Dates and Locations
When ten were the years since the conquering of the waters, the hills that were Mexico City;
when arrow, when shield lay still;
when each expanse of waters, each expanse of hills
had lulled to tranquility,
Then there was a beginning, there was a burgeoning,
there was a blossoming
of believing in the Truth of Him,
of recognizing the Countenance of Him,
Him because of Whom Life goes on,
Him Who is the True Divinity, God Himself.
It is the year one thousand, five hundred and thirty-one,
a few days into the month of December.
It so happens that there is an Indian, one of pitiable poverty, whose name is Juan Diego.
According to hearsay, he is a dweller in Cuautitlán,
but in things divine he belongs entirely in Tlatilólco.
3. The Bird-Song
It is a Saturday, and still quite dark,
and he is journeying in pursuit of Things Divine
and of the Commandments.
As he reaches the neighborhood of the hillock
in the area named Tepeyác,
already Dawn is brightening.
Distinctly he hears from the top of the hillock a singing,
like that of varied rare birds of song.
Time and again subside those voices,
as if for the hill itself to answer.
How utterly soothing to the heart, how cheering to the soul,
is their song,
surpassing that of the Shrill bird, that of the Bellbird,
that of every other kind of Lovely Songbird!
Juan Diego stands still, gazes motionless, says to himself:
“Could it be that I be worthy?
Could it be that I deserve what I am hearing?
Is it that I am dreaming? Is it that I am sleep-walking?
Where am I? Where indeed do I seem to be?
“Could it be even yonder, in the place they used to tell us of,
those Ancient Men, those Great Great Grandfathers of ours,
there in the Land of the Flowers’ Bloom,
there in the Land of our Flesh’s Corn?
Could it be even yonder,
there in the Land of the Heavenly Ones?”
4. Summons to the Hilltop
Gazing he is to the top of that hillock,
towards the Region of the Sallying Sun,
whence sallies forth also that heavenly, lovely song.
Then suddenly ceases the song,
and hearkens he to the stillness.
Then hears he a Call,
coming from the top of the hillock,
“Juanito, Juan Dieguito!”
Then ventures he to make his way up whither he is being called.
Nothing of disturbance is in his heart, nor any stunning shock.
Rather is he full content with it all, full glorying in it all,
as he clambers up the hillock, whither he has been gazing
and whence has been coming his Call.
5. The Lady & Her Question
Upon his reaching the top of the hillock,
he catches sight of a Woman,
One Who has been taking Her stand there.
She beckons him to come on, closer up to Herself.
Upon reaching Her Presence,
he greatly marvels
at Her extreme,
at Her surpassing,
at Her perfect Wonderfulness.
Her Garments are as the Sun, gleaming, glittering.
Even the boulder, the crag, on which She takes Her stand sparkles in Resplendence,
like fine Emerald Jade on a Bangle when it shines,
like the swarming Glow of a Rainbow in the Gloom.
Even the soil, the brambles and prickles
and the rest of the varied weeds that struggle to survive there
are shining like Emerald, like Divine Turquoise,
to the tip of every leaf;
are glittering like the Golden Scourings of the Gods
up every stalk and twig and thorn.
In Her Presence he prostrates;
he listens to Her Utterance, Her Declaration.
These are as of One Who sets others at ease,
One Who is Herself of the Gentry born,
One Whose Manner is to attract,
One Whose Attitude is esteem.
She addresses him:
“Do listen to me, My Littlest One, Juanito!
Whither are you betaking yourself?”
He in turn makes reply:
“My Sovereign, O Woman, My Maiden,
it is yonder that I am bound,
to Your Dwelling in México-Tlatilólco,
in pursuit of Things Divine
which they minister to us, which they teach to us,
those Representatives of the Person of Our Sovereign,
who are our Priests.”
6. The Lady’s Request
Forthwith She informs him,
She presents to him Her Sacred Wish.
She addresses him:
“Do know this, do be assured of it in your heart,
My Littlest One,
that I Myself, I am the Entirely and Ever Virgin, Saint Mary,
Mother of the True Divinity, of God Himself.
Because of Him, Life goes on, Creation goes on;
His are all things afar, His are all things near at hand,
things above in the Heavens, things here below on the Earth.
How truly I wish it, how greatly I desire it,
that here they should erect Me My Temple!
Here would I show forth, here would I lift up to view,
here would I make a gift
of all My Fondness for My Dear Ones,
all My Regard for My Needy Ones,
My Willingness to Aid them,
My Readiness to Protect them.
For truly I Myself,
I am your Compassionate Mother,
yours, for you yourself,
for everybody here in the Land,
for each and all together,
for all others too, for all Folk of every kind,
who do but cherish Me,
who do but raise their voices to Me,
who do but seek Me,
who do but raise their trust to Me.
For here I shall listen to their groanings, to their saddenings;
here shall I make well and heal up
their each and every kind of disappointment,
of exhausting pangs, of bitter aching pain.
But in order to realize what I have in mind
in My Regard for My Needy Ones,
do you, please, go to the Palace of the Bishop of Mexico;
go and tell him how it is I Myself who am commissioning you
that you should present to him how strongly I desire it
that here he should house Me,
that here, on the level ground, he should erect My Temple.
And give him a full account of all you have seen
and wondered at
and of whatever you have heard.
And do be assured of it in your heart that I shall be full grateful and that I shall repay.
For I shall enrich you and make you prosperous
and you shall very much merit that I compensate you
for the fatigue and the exertion of your going
to procure what I am commissioning you to do.
And so you have heard, My Littlest One,
My Utterance, My Declaration;
do, please, betake yourself
and make every effort to carry it out.”
Forthwith he prostrated in Her Presence and addressed Her:
“My Sovereign, O Woman,
already am I going that I may realize Your Utterance,
May I but take leave of You, I, Your needy vassal.”
7. Gaining Access to the Bishop
Down he went at once, to go and realize his commission.
He met up with the Road of Return,
and straight off he headed for Mexico City.
Upon reaching the Womb of the City,
at once he headed straight for the Palace of the Bishop.
This was the Priestly Chieftain,
who had but recently taken office,
and whose name was Don Fray Juan de Zumárraga,
a priest of Saint Francis.
Having reached there, he at once tried hard to get to see him,
begging his stewards and domestics
that he might go in and visit him.
Then, after quite a delay,
someone did come out and call him in,
for the Lord Bishop had given orders that he enter.
8. Juan Diego Reports to the Lady
When he reached the Presence of the Heavenly Woman,
at the Place where She had first appeared to him,
there She was, standing and waiting for him.
As soon as he caught sight of Her,
he prostrated, flung himself to the ground in Her Presence,
and addressed her:
“My Sovereign, Milady, O Woman, My Littlest One, O Maiden,
I have been to where You commissioned me
that I go and realize Your Utterance, Your Declaration.
Albeit with difficulty,
I did enter into the Quarters of the Priestly Chieftain;
I saw him and I laid before him Your Utterance,
just as You had bidden me do.
He received me cheerfully and listened to me in goodly mood,
and yet, when he answered me,
it was as if his heart were not in it,
as if he made of it less than the Truth.
He said to me:
‘Another time you shall come along,
when I shall listen to you at leisure;
I shall look into the root of the matter
for which you have come along,
this desire, this wish of yours.’
Well could I see from the way he was answering me
that he was still thinking about whether this Temple of Yours,
which You wish that they make for You here,
were not something I had merely created,
rather than being from Your Lips.”
9. He Begs Off
“Thus earnestly do I beg of You,
My Sovereign, O Woman, My Maiden,
that it be one of the Esteemed Gentry,
one whose countenance is recognized,
whose countenance is revered,
and who himself is held in honor:
let it be on him that you enjoin it,
let it be he that bears it, that carries it,
this Utterance, this Declaration of Yours,
that it be believed.
For I indeed am pitiably poor,
for I am harness, for I am hod,
for I am all haunches, all elbows,
for I am of the Dispossessed, for I am a Pack-carrier;
for it is not mine to exist there,
for it is not mine to set foot there,
there where You bid me to go.
O My Maiden, My Littlest One, Milady, O Woman,
please do grant me pardon
that I be troubling Your Countenance, Your Heart,
that I be stepping, that I be stumbling
into Your Frowning Annoyance, into Your Rightful Wrath,
“Milady, O My Sovereign!”
10. She Commissions Him Anew
And the wondrous Ever Virgin made answer:
“Do listen to this, My Littlest One,
and let your heart be assured
that it is not to the Wealthy Ones among My Stewards,
that I am wont to leave it
that they should bear My Utterances,
or that they should realize My Wishes.
Thus rather is it necessary
that it be you yourself who live this through,
who act as spokesman on this matter,
that it be by your hand that it be realized,
that it be done,
this Will, this Wish of Mine.
And so well may I beg of you, My Littlest One,
and strongly do I bid you,
that once more, on the morrow, you go,
you go and visit the Bishop.
On My Behalf let him know, let him listen well,
how it is My Will and My Wish
that he realize, that he make,
the Temple for which I am asking.
And indeed say to him once more how it is I Myself,
the Ever Virgin Saint Mary, Mother of God,
Who am commissioning you.”
So Juan Diego made answer and told Her:
“My Sovereign, O Woman, My Maiden.
Let me not trouble Your Countenance, Your Heart;
for indeed with all my own heart I shall go,
I shall go and realize Your Utterance, Your Declaration.
By no means shall I leave it aside or reckon the road laborious;
I shall go, I shall go and do Your Will—
Though I well may not be listened to in goodly mood,
and even if I am listened to, I may not be believed.
Tomorrow then, in the afternoon,
when the Sun is entering its Home,
I shall come and bring back Your Utterance, Your Declaration,
with whatever the Priestly Chieftain shall have answered me.
And now I beg to take leave of You,
My Littlest One, My Maiden, Milady, O Woman.
Do, then, rest Yourself a little.”
And forthwith home went he and took his own rest.
11. Sunday Mass & Interview
On the morrow, the Sunday,
while it was still quite dark,
(darkness thick around him),
forth he sallied from his home
and straight he headed for Tlatilolko,
There to learn the Things Divine and to be counted on the Roll
and, after that, to visit the Priestly Chieftain.
Thus, around ten o’clock, when Preparation had been made
and Mass had been heard and the Roll had been counted,
all the Indians dispersed hither and yon.
As for Juan Diego,
he immediately went towards the Palace of the Lord Bishop.
When he reached it, he made every effort to get to see him
and did, after much difficulty, get so to see him.
He knelt at his feet, weeping and sad,
to call to his attention and present to him
the Utterance, the Declaration of the Heavenly Woman,
so that the Commission,
the Wish of the Ever-Virgin might be believed
and that they undertake to build,
undertake to erect Her Temple,
there where She had indicated, where She had wished.
But full many a topic did the Lord Bishop ask
and inquire about before his heart could settle itself:
where it was that he had seen Her, and after what manner.
All of which Juan Diego proved
well able to recount to him in full;
yet, though he could keep every detail straight
as to the form taken
and as to all he had seen, all he had marveled at,
and as to how it was indeed the Ever Virgin
Who had appeared to him,
that Wondrous Dear Mother of Our Redeemer,
Our Lord Jesus Christ;
even so did the Bishop
make of it something less than the Truth,
asserting to him that his mere word, his mere asking,
was not enough
for the doing,
the realizing of what he was asking for;
because there was indeed need of something of a Signal
that he might be properly believed
in regard to how it was the Heavenly Woman Herself
who had commissioned him.
So when Juan Diego heard this, he addressed the Bishop;
“Sir Chieftain, let us see to it; of what kind shall it be,
this Signal you are asking for?
Forthwith I shall go, I shall go and request it
of the Heavenly Woman Who commissioned me hither”.
The Bishop, nevertheless, seeing how he was treating it
as the Truth
and was not at all embarrassed or taken aback,
simply sent him along.
12. Episode of the Spies
However, once he was gone,
he immediately gave orders to some of his household,
in whom he had personal trust,
that they should follow along behind him
and should keep on the lookout
as to where he went and whom he saw and accosted.
This, then, was done.
As for Juan Diego,
he immediately headed straight off to follow
the Road of Return,
whilst they were following along behind him.
Then, where the Creek comes out
in the neighborhood of Tepeyac,
and where there is the Wooden Bridge, they lost him.
Though they searched everywhere, nowhere did they see him.
Thus they merely turned back again,
not only because they were intensely weary of it all,
but also because he had embarrassed them
and had kindled their wrath.
Thus they went
and called it to the attention of the Lord Bishop,
and would have dissuaded him from believing him.
They said he was only deceiving and deliberately lying
in whatever he had been there to assert,
or else that he had been merely dreaming
and was barely awoken from sleep
in whatever he had been there to request.
Moreover, they told him
that if ever he came along again and returned,
there and then they would seize him and sternly chastise him,
that he never again go telling lies and deceiving like that.
13. Juan Bernardino’s Illness
On the morrow, the Monday,
when Juan Diego was to have carried
something of a Signal that he might be believed,
he did not in fact return again.
For when he had reached home there had been an Uncle of his, named Juan Bernardino,
upon whom the Pestilence had lighted,
and it was indeed worsening.
He had been to call in the physician,
taking such action as he could,
but time had been against them
and things had worsened indeed.
So while it was still dark, his Uncle had begged him that,
at dawn, when the dark would be clearing,
he should sally forth to Tlatilólco,
going to call in one of the Priests
that he come over to hear his Confession and to prepare him.
For his heart was assured
that the time was now ripe for him to die
and that he would never again be getting up,
never healing up again.
14. He Plans to Avoid the Lady
Thus on the tuesday,
while it was still quite dark all around,
Juan Diego sallied forth from his home
to call in a Priest from over at Tlatilólco.
Just as he was arriving in the neighborhood
of the hillock of Tepeyac, at its foot,
where the Road leads off on the side of the Homing Sun,
where he had previously been wont to travel,
this is what he was thinking:
“If I simply go straight along the Road,
it will be in vain,
for the Woman will catch sight of me
and will again come and detain me
for me to carry something of a Signal to the Priestly Chieftain
as he has given me orders to do.
Ah! Let us first be rid of our trouble!
Ah! Let me first go and call in the Mendicant Priest!
For my Uncle is surely awaiting him!”
So he forthwith detoured around the hill,
climbing up the ravine on the other slope,
on the side of the Sallying Sun.
He went and traveled this way
so as to reach Mexico City more promptly
by not having the Heavenly Woman detain him,
for it seemed to him that by his taking this roundabout road
She would be unable to see him,
She who is so able to see in all directions.
15. She Tenderly Outwits His Plan
Her he spotted, however;
for down his way She was coming,
from the top of the hillock,
from which She had been gazing on him all along
and upon which he had earlier been wont to see Her.
There She came and intercepted him;
there, on the flank of the hill,
She came and halted him.
She addressed him:
“So, My Littlest One,
whither are you going?
Whom are you off to see?”
Will he not be a little embarrassed?
Will he not be perhaps abashed?
Will he not be perhaps shocked? Filled with awe?
Before Her Countenance he prostrates himself and salutes Her.
He addresses Her:
“O my Maiden, My Littlest One, O Woman,
Contentment Be Yours!
How has felt the Dawn upon Your Countenance?
How feels the Health within your Lovely Flesh?
My Sovereign, My Bairn!
I shall be troubling Your Countenance, Your Heart,
but do take cognizance, O My Maiden,
that there is someone very sick:
to Yourself, a mere vassal, to me, an Uncle.
A great Pestilence has lighted upon him
and presently he shall be dying of it.
Even now I am making haste to Your Dwelling in Mexico;
I shall summon one of those dear to our Sovereign,
one of our Priests,
that he come to hear his confession,
come to prepare him.
For indeed, from when we are born
we have to be on the watch
for the travail of our Death.
But once I have realized this task,
I shall then head back here again
and shall go and shall bear Your Utterance, Your Declaration,
Milady, My Maiden.
But do pardon me, and bear with me in all patience,
for I am not deceiving You, My Littlest One, My Bairn.
No, tomorrow I shall be back and shall sally forth with speed!”
16. The Lady’s Reassurance
And when She had listened to this declaration of Juan Diego’s,
the Compassionate Ever Virgin made reply:
do be assured of it in your heart, My Littlest One,
that nothing at all should alarm you, should trouble you,
nor in any way disturb your countenance, your heart.
And do not be afraid of this Pestilence,
nor of any other pestilence or any rasping hardship.
For am I not here, I, Your Mother?
Are you not in the Cool of My Shadow?
in the Breeziness of My Shade?
Is it not I that am your Source of Contentment?
Are you not cradled in My Mantle?
cuddled in the Crossing of My Arms?
Is there anything else for you to need?
Nothing else, though, should trouble you, should disquiet you.
And do not let it trouble you, this Pestilence of your Uncle’s,
for he is not going to die of it now.
Do be assured of it in your heart
that he has already healed up.”
(And it was indeed just then that his Uncle did heal up,
as later came to be known.)
17. Miracle of the Flowers
While Juan Diego was listening to this Utterance,
this Declaration of the Heavenly Woman,
he was greatly heartened, his heart well content.
So he begged of Her that She now commission him
to go and see the Lord Bishop
and to bear him something of a Signal
as a proof whereby to believe in him.
The Heavenly Woman immediately bade him
climb up to the top of the hillock,
where She had earlier been revealing herself.
She told him:
“Climb up, My Littlest One, to the top of the hillock,
there where you saw Me earlier and I gave you orders.
There you will now see a variety of Flowers:
pick them, gather them, bundle them, bring them down,
carrying them here to My Presence.”
So Juan Diego immediately went
and climbed to the top of the hillock,
and on reaching the top he greatly marveled
at all the blossoming, all the burgeoning
of varied Castilian Garden Flowers,
in what was neither the season nor the site for them,
for this was when the Frost is severe.
Yet remarkably fragrant they were,
with nocturnal Dewdrops like precious Pearls.
Immediately he began to pick them.
Full many of them he gathered
and put into the fold of his mantle.
Now, that top of a hillock was by no means
a spot for Flowers to grow, for it was all rocks,
all spikes, all thorns, all prickles, all brambles;
And if ever some weedy old plant did grow there,
this was now the month of December,
in which the Frost consumes everything,
makes everything perish.
18. Presenting the Flowers to the Lady
Down he came then,
bearing to the Heavenly Woman
the varied Flowers he had picked.
She in turn, upon inspecting them,
took them up in Her Own Hands
and again delicately replaced them in the fold of his mantle.
She addressed him:
“My Littlest One, these varied Flowers are themselves the Proof,
the Sign, you are to carry to the Bishop.
You are to say to him on My Behalf
that in them he should see My Wish, My Will.
And as for yourself, you, My Trusty Commissioner,
I strongly bid you that only in front of the Bishop
should you unwrap your Tilma and show what you are carrying.
You shall recount to him in full, and tell him,
how I bade you climb to the top of the hillock
and go about picking these Flowers.
Tell him all you have seen and wondered at,
that thus you may lift up the heart of the Priestly Chieftain
so that he act the spokesman for the building and erection of My Temple,
as I have been requesting of him.”
So when the Heavenly Woman had thus given him Her bidding,
off he went, and followed the Road of Return into Mexico City,
heading straight along it with contented stride,
striding with heart assured of the goodly outcome
of so goodly a burden,
and yet striding with full care
for what was in the fold of his mantle,
lest any of it tumble out as he strode.
Still, amid his striding he gloried in the fragrance
of those varied Garden Flowers.
19. Interaction with the Doorkeepers
When he reached the Palace of the Bishop
there came out to meet him the Housekeepers
and sundry Domestics of the Chieftain Priest.
So he begged them to tell him
of how he wished to get to see him.
But not one of them was willing to do it,
and all made as if they did not wish to hear him.
This may have been because it was still rather dark,
or else because they recognized him
and he merely troubled them
by his importunate hanging around.
Moreover, their friends had called to their attention
how they had gone and lost him
when they had been following along behind him.
So for quite some delay he stood there, waiting for word.
But when they saw how long he had been waiting,
standing there on his feet and stooped over,
quite idle, just waiting to be summoned,
and saw too how (it seemed) he had brought some object folded in his mantle,
then they finally came up to him
to get a look at what he might be carrying,
just to satisfy their hearts in passing.
Thus, when Juan Diego had seen that he could scarcely hide from them what he was carrying
– for they were now hard-pressing him, shoving him about and manhandling him –
he did let them glimpse that it was Flowers.
When they thus saw that it was lots of varied Castilian Flowers
and that it was not then the season for them to grow,
they greatly marveled at that, and also at how fresh they were
and how blooming and how fragrant and how wonderful.
They desired to snatch a few of them
and to grab them for themselves.
Three times over did they try to do this,
but in their attempts at grasping they could not manage at all.
For as soon as they would take hold of them,
it would no longer be Flowers they were seeing
but, as it were, a painting or an embroidery or something sewn on to the Tilma for them to see.
Thereupon they did go and announce to the Lord Bishop
what they had seen,
and that the Indian was wishing to visit him,
the one who had come along so many times,
and how there had already been a long delay
in his waiting for word about this desire to visit him.
As soon as the Bishop heard tell of this,
he immediately knew in his heart
that this was the Proof whereby his heart was to reach certainty
so that he could bring to realization
what the little fellow had been soliciting.
He then gave orders to have him enter forthwith
so as to visit him.
So he entered and prostrated himself in his Presence,
as he had previously done.
Once again he recounted all that he had seen
and marveled at and all about his commission.
20. Presenting the Flowers to the Bishop
He addressed him:
“My Lord Chieftain, I have now done,
I have realized what you gave me orders to do,
namely, I have been to tell that Person,
Madame, the Heavenly Woman, Holy Mary,
the Dear Mother of God,
that you had asked of Her something of a Signal
for you to be able to believe in me
and so to build Her Temple
there where She had requested it of you
that you erect it for Her.
Moreover, I had told Her clearly
that I had given you my word
that I would bring back to you some such Signal
as a proof of Her Wish,
for you had left it thus in my hands.
When She heard tell of this utterance, this declaration of yours,
she received it contentedly
that you should be asking something of a Signal, a Proof,
so that Her Wish might be done and realized.
And just now, while it was still quite dark,
when She was giving me orders to come again to visit you,
I requested of Her this something of a Signal
for me to be believed,
just as She had told me She would be giving me.
And forthwith She put it into realization,
sending me to the top of the hillock,
where I had earlier been wont to see Her:
I was to go and pick varied Castilian Flowers.
And when I had gone and picked them,
I bore them back to Her down below.
She in turn took them into Her Hands
and then placed them again in the fold of my mantle,
so that I might myself bear them hither to You.
All the while I well knew that was not a site for Flowers,
there on the top of the hillock,
for it was all rocks,
all spikes, all thorn bush, all prickly, all brambles.
Not that I was taken aback! Not that I wavered!
No, I reached the top of that hillock and I gazed upon
what had become a Land of the Flowers’ Bloom,
wherein were united each and every kind
of the Garden Flowers of Castile,
with the Sun gleaming on their Dewdrops.
And so I went ahead and picked them.
She told me to give them to you on Her Behalf
so that, through them, I might bring about your seeing in them the Signal you had requested
in order for you to bring Her Wish to realization,
and so that the truth of my own word,
my own commission, might be apparent.
Yes, here they are! Do but deign to receive them!”
21. Miracle of the Tilma
Just as he was unwrapping that white Tilma of his,
in which had lain folded those Flowers,
so as to strew them forth,
Flowers in all their Castilian variety,
suddenly, upon that Tilma, there flashed a Portrait,
there sallied into view
a Sacred Image of that Ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God,
in the likeness it even now retains where,
even now, it is so reverently kept,
over at Her Sacred Dwelling, at Her Temple entitled Guadalupe.
Thus the Lord Bishop and all who were with him there
could see, each for himself;
and all of them did kneel and greatly wondered.
They rose once more to gaze,
saddened and blaming themselves,
their hearts and thoughts aloft.
22. Planning to Build the Shrine
The Lord Bishop, weeping and saddened,
begged and entreated to be forgiven
for not having earlier realized Her Wish,
Her Utterance, Her Declaration.
Upon his rising, he undid the Garment, the Tilma,
from Juan Diego’s neck, to which it had been tied.
On it She had appeared, upon it She had portrayed Herself,
She, the Heavenly Woman.
And so, reverently carrying it,
he came and established it in his Oratory.
Thus Juan Diego spent that whole day
in the Dwelling of the Bishop,
who, of course, detained him.
On the morrow, the Bishop said:
“So now for you to let us see
where it is the Wish of the Heavenly Woman
that Her Temple be erected!”
Immediately a multitude was summoned for its building,
23. Re-enter Juan Bernardino
As for Juan Diego,
once he had let them see
where the Heavenly Woman had bidden
that Her Temple be erected,
he immediately sought leave,
for he wished to get home,
to visit his Uncle Juan Bernardino.
This was the one who had been so sick
and whom he had left all alone,
so as to call in one of the Priests from over at Tlatilólko,
to hear his Confession and to prepare him.
Concerning him, the Heavenly Woman had said
that he had already healed up.
But now they would not let Juan Diego go away alone.
They escorted him right to his home.
Upon reaching it, they saw his Uncle
and how he had healed up
and how he was no longer sick at all.
He too in turn marveled greatly
at how his nephew was being escorted
and being treated with such honor.
He inquired of his nephew why the likes of this was being done,
this treatment of him with such honor.
So Juan Diego in turn told how,
when he had set out to call in the Priest
to hear his Confession and prepare him,
there had, over at Tepeyac, revealed Herself to him
a Heavenly Woman.
And how She had commissioned him to go
and see the Lord Bishop in Mexico City,
that he might set up a House for Her there at Tepeyac.
And how She had also told him not to trouble himself,
inasmuch as his Uncle had already healed up,
and how he had been greatly heartened thereby.
His Uncle said that it was indeed true
that it had been then that he had healed up,
and that She had revealed Herself to him also,
in exactly the same likeness in which She had been revealing Herself to the nephew.
And that She had told him moreover
how She had commissioned him to Mexico City
to see the Bishop,
and that upon his going to see him
he would present to him and inform him of what he had seen.
He also told how marvelously She had healed him.
And how She was entitling Her Sacred Image
– as indeed it ought to be entitled –
the Ever Virgin Holy Mary of Guadalupe.
Forthwith they conducted Juan Bernardino
into the presence of the Lord Bishop
for him to give information and to testify before him.
Then, along with his nephew Juan Diego, they housed him in the Bishop’s home for a few days.
24. Building of the Shrine
In the meanwhile,
a Temple was being erected
for the Sovereign Woman over at Tepeyac,
where She had revealed Herself to Juan Diego.
The Lord Bishop transferred the Sacred Image
of the Dear Heavenly Woman
into the Principal Church,
removing it from the Oratory within his Palace,
where it had been standing,
so that more people could see
and marvel at so Sacred an Image.
For indeed this whole City, one and all, was astir
and was visiting and marveling at Her Sacred Image,
doing it homage and making prayers before it.
Greatly did they marvel at how divinely miraculously
it had appeared,
For it had not been any earthbound mortal
who had painted that Sacred Representation.