All the Amazing Things about Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Essential Guide to Our Lady of Guadalupe

I feel like there's always something new and amazing to learn about Our Lady of Guadalupe. It's unending! So, despite the title of this article, we're probably just scratching the surface of what's knowable about the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

But what makes the image so special? Yeah, it miraculously appeared on the cloak of a Mexican peasant. That's pretty special right there. But there's so, so much more!

Here is just a sampling of the 18 Amazing Things about Our Lady of Guadalupe:
●  There are people reflected in her eyes;
●  She survived a bomb untouched;
●  There is a perfect celestial map hidden on her robe;
●  She can change her ethnicity ... and MORE!



Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego on December 9, 10 and 12, 1531. The image left of her on Saint Juan Diego's cloak is the only true picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in existence, as will be explained below. 

After her appearance, Our Lady of Guadalupe quickly became the image and icon of the Mexican people.
  

1. Our Lady of Guadalupe's eyes reflect the figures in the room when the image appeared ...

And at the perfect radius of curvature for a human lens.

Satellite imaging expert Dr. Aste Tonsman studied the image using image digitization. On inspection of Our Lady of Guadalupe's corneas, he mad a startling discovery!

Dr. Tonsman saw in the corneas of the eyes of the image a series of people and objects: an Indian unfurling a tilma before a priest, another young man, a half-nake d Indian with his lips open and his hands together, pieces of furniture, a ceiling arch, and other details.



2. Within 8 years of Our Lady's miraculous appearance, 9 million of the native people of Mexico converted to Catholicism ...

The crazy thing ... 

This almost exactly counter-balanced the number of people who fell away from the Church during the Protestant Reformation/Revolution. [1] 

The Protestants were rebelling against the Church in Europe. Ironically, the Protestant schisms were partly a response to the great respect and veneration that Catholics paid to the Virgin Mary.

St. Juan Diego converted to Catholicism about the year 1524 after encountering missionaries. This occurred just 7 years after Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses sparking the Protestant Revolution.

3. Our Lady of Guadalupe survived a bomb blast which obliterated everything around the image.

Here's a description of the image's miraculous survival of a bombing from, of all places, the cynical and largely anti-Catholic Huffington Post

In 1921 an anti-clerical radical detonated twenty-nine sticks of dynamite in a pot of roses beneath the tilma. The blast destroyed a marble rail, twisted a metal crucifix and shattered windows throughout the old Basilica but the tilma itself was untouched. 

There are some miracles even the HuffPost can't deny!

Here's a picture of the crucifix that was warped by the bombing. It is credited with shielding Our Lady of Guadalupe from the explosion of dynamite.


The crucifix is now known as the "Holy Christ of the Attack". The bomb-deformed crucifix is displayed at the back of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Not only did Our Lady of Guadalupe survive a bomb ...

4. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe should have deteriorated, faded, and turned to dust a long time ago. 

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appears on a tilma made of cactus fibers. The natural life span of a cloak made with fiber from the agave or maguey plant is only about 30 years.

Despite this (and the bomb blast above), the image has remained intact with all its original color and vibrancy for over 475 years.

Dr. Aldofo Orozco, a physicist, said that the remarkable preservation of the cloak of St. Juan Diego on which Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared 478 years ago, “is completely beyond any scientific explanation.” 

Dr. Adolfo Orozco at the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe in Glendale, Arizona
Otherwise stated, it's miraculous. Dr. Orozco also remarked on the rapid deterioration of similar tilmas:


"All the cloths similar to the Tilma that have been placed in the salty and humid environment around the Basilica have lasted no more than ten years," he explained.  One painting of the miraculous image, created in 1789, was on display in a church near the basilica where the Tilma was placed.  "This painting was made with the best techniques of its time, the copy was beautiful and made with a fabric very similar to that of the Tilma. Also, the image was protected with a glass since it was first placed there."

Pope Pius XII had the following to say about Our Lady of Guadalupe surviving through the centuries ... 

“And it happened,” Pope Pius XII proclaimed in a radio address in 1945, “the sounding of the Hour of God … when on the shores of Lake Texcoco there flowered the Miracle … brushes which were not of this earth painted an Image most tender, which the corrosive work of the centuries has marvelously respected.”

Pope Pius XII also mentions "brushes which were not of this earth". Scientists, too, have remarked on the supernatural brush strokes of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

5. The miraculous preservation of Our Lady of Guadalupe has even been confirmed by NASA! 

Many skeptics have attacked the claim that NASA has confirmed the miraculous nature of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here is an example from Snopes

Nevertheless, it is true that Our Lady of Guadalupe has been studied by NASA scientists AND that she has left them baffled. Philip Callahan, a biophysicist, USDA entomologist, and NASA consultant, who is quoted throughout this article, was allowed direct access to visually inspect and photograph the image and later published his findings. [2] 


Callahan specializes in infrared imaging. Studying the miraculous preservation of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he took numerous infrared photographs of the front of the tilma. His team noted that the original art work was neither cracked nor flaked. This was considered odd, they noted, because later additions to Our Lady of Guadalupe, such as gold leaf and silver plating of the moon, showed serious signs of wear, if not complete deterioration.

The excellent state of preservation of the untouched areas of Our Lady of Guadalupe was, according to Callahan, inexplicable. 

6. Our Lady of Guadalupe was not painted by man. The mysterious lack of brushstrokes ... 

The following is even confirmed by the notoriously skeptical Snopes and even Skeptoid, again referencing the Callahan study:


The most notable examination was a three hour infrared photographic session by [Dr.] Philip Callahan in 1981, who did note multiple layers of paint covering changes to the hands and crown, but came away with more questions than answers. Callahan found, for example, that most of the entire painting seemed to have been done with a single brush stroke.


Even skeptics admit that, even if the image might have been touched up over the centuries, the original image was created by a single brush stroke. 




Unless Saint Juan Diego had access to an inkjet printer, this is further proof of the image's supernatural origin.

Man requires many brushstrokes. God requires only one!

7. Our Lady of Guadalupe has a heart beat ... and 

Another, second heart beat for the child depicted in her womb. 

Therefore, the Immaculate Heart and Sacred Heart are part of Our Lady of Guadalupe!


Carlos Fernandez del Castillo, a gynecologist, examined Our Lady of Guadalupe and listened to her using a stethoscope. Placing his stethoscope below the black band at the waist of Our Lady, he heard rhythmic heartbeats at 115 beats per minute. This is the same beats per minute as that of a baby in the womb. 

Something else that's very interesting ... Dr. Castillo was also able to estimate the baby's due date, as will be described below! I wonder when the baby was born?

Not only that, an unborn child's heartbeat has repeatedly been heard from a copy of Our Lady of Guadalupe, called a "missionary image." Here's an article providing the testimony of several witnesses.

There's still more ...


8. Our Lady of Guadalupe maintains a body temperature 

Dr. Philip Callahan's 1979 infrared examination of Our Lady of Guadalupe revealed yet another miracle besides its miraculous preservation. He discovered that the tilma maintains a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, Our Lady's image maintains its own body temperature!

9. Speaking of Our Lady of Guadalupe showing signs of being pregnant and nearing delivery ... Our Lady of Guadalupe confirms the date of Christmas

If you've ever heard people going back and forth about whether Jesus was actually born on Christmas or not, this will interest you. 

Dr. Carlos Fernandez de Castillo, a Mexican gynecologist, examined the tilma for signs hidden in the image relating to the Virgin Mother's pregnancy. Dr. Castillo concluded that the dimensions of Our Lady’s body in the image were that of an expectant mother that was due quite soon. 


So what does that tell us about the date of Christmas? Remember the day that St. Juan Diego presented the roses to the Bishop and opened his tilma? December 12. That day is barely two weeks from Christmas. 

10. Our Lady of Guadalupe not of this earth?  

In 1936, Our Lady of Guadalupe was analyzed by a Nobel prize-winning chemist, Dr. Richard Kuhn. He analyzed the fibers and coloring of St. Juan Diego's tilma. 

Dr. Kuhn discovered that the color was not of vegetable, mineral, or animal origin and was not of any known earthly element. The coloring of Our Lady of Guadalupe is, literally, not of nature. It is super-natural.

11. Speaking of the coloring of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary appears as different ethnicities depending on one's vantage point 

At one distance, Our Lady appears to be a Native American. At another distance, she appears to be of European descent. Why?


This miraculous feature of Our Lady of Guadalupe is meant to show the unity of the two peoples and cultures in light of the true faith of Christ.

There was intense strife between the Spaniards and the native peoples when the Virgin Mary decided to appear to a native man, St. Juan Diego. Mary, thus, implored the peoples of the New World to live as one.


Dr. Philip Callahan explains how Our Lady of Guadalupe is able to achieve the effect of varying colors at different distances. It is a trait that is seen only in nature, not paintings:


At a distance of six or seven feet, the skin tone becomes what might best be termed Indian olive, grey green in tone. It appears somehow the grey and caked-looking white pigment of the face and the hands combines with the rough surface of the unsized hue. Such a technique would be an impossible accomplishment in human hands, it often occurs in nature however, in the coloring of the bird feathers and butterfly scales and on the elytra [wing cases] of brightly colored beetles.

The image combines with the rough surface of the cloth to create the effect of changing colorations. Amazing!


Our Lady of Guadalupe mimics the properties of nature. Perhaps that's because He who created nature, the birds and the beetles, also created the miraculous image.

No human artist could replicate this effect. 

12. The time Our Lady of Guadalupe repelled an invasion by a Muslim armada, the Battle of Lepanto

Europe was extremely divided following the Protestant schisms from the Catholic Church. The Turkish Muslims took this opportunity to mount a re-invasion of Europe. 

Pope Pius V was able to convince only Spain and Venice to mount a defense. Together, they managed to cobble together a small fleet of 200 ships to stop the coming invasion. The Catholic fleet was outnumbered by the Muslim fleet by nearly a hundred ships.

But it didn't matter that the Catholics were outnumbered, because they had a secret weapon ...


One of the admirals of the fleet, Andrea Doria, carried within his flagship an exact copy of the Holy Image of Guadalupe. The Archbishop of Mexico had sent the replica image as a gift to King Philip II. The blue standard of Our Lady of Guadalupe was also flying from the masthead of Don Juan’s flagship.

When the armada went to war on the morning of October 7, 1571,  all of Europe, too, joined together to pray the Rosary for Our Lady's intercession.

On October 7, the Catholic fleet decisively defeated the Muslim fleet. The victory was credit to Our Lady's intercession.

From that great victory came the devotion to Our Lady of Victories, later renamed Our Lady of the Rosary, which is still celebrated in the Church calendar on October 7 of every year.

Want to read more about the Battle of Lepanto and Our Lady of the Rosary? Check out this homily by Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ:





13. Pope Benedict said the following about Our Lady of Guadalupe:

"The venerated image of the Black Madonna of Tepeyac, with her sweet and peaceful countenance, imprinted on the tilma of the indio St. Juan Diego, shows her as “the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God from whom she lives” (From the Office of Readings. Nic├ín Mopohua, 12th ed., Mexico City, D.F., 1971, 3-19).

"She reminds us of the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child” (Rev 12:1-2).

"She signals the presence of the Savior to the indigenous and mestizo population.


"She always leads us to her divine Son, who is revealed as the foundation of the dignity of every human being, as a love that is stronger than the powers of evil and death, and the fountain of joy, filial trust, consolation and hope."

14. Stars and constellations appear on the robe and mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady is wearing a blue-green mantle. This is the color worn by Aztec royalty. Also, notice that the mantle is covered with golden stars.


This reminds us, as Pope Benedict XVI is quoted above, that Our Lady of Guadalupe should remind us of the woman of Revelation 12. The woman of Revelation 12 is clothed with celestial bodies. The stars of Our Lady of Guadalupe's mantle should remind us of the crown of stars worn by Our Lady in Revelation, as the Queen of Heaven.

But there's more than meets the eye ...

15. The arrangement of the stars depicted on Mary's mantle is not random and decorative. It is very specific. Our Lady's stars represent entire constellations:

What's more ... 

According to Dr. Robert Sungenis, the constellations are in the exact position as they would have appeared before dawn on the morning of December 12, 1531 in Guadalupe, Mexico. 

There's still more!

Notice how the specific constellations correspond to the Gospel story. 

Corona Borealis, which means the Northern Crown, appears at Mary's head. Mary is crowned with stars! Just as described in Revelation 12.  
Virgo, which means Virgin, appears near Mary's heart. This represents her purity and virginity.
Leo, which means the Lion, appears at Mary's pregnant belly. This signifies that the Virgin Mary is pregnant with a lion, specifically the Lion of Judah. One of the most important prophesies of the Messiah in the Old Testament is that of the Lion of Judah, read all about it here:


Draco, which means the Dragon, is face-to-face with the Virgin Mary. This represents the enmity and battle between Mary and Satan prophesied at Genesis 3:15 and depicted in Revelation 12. You can read more about Genesis 3:15 and the Protoevangelium here:


Also, why a dragon? Because Satan appeared, not as a serpent, but a dragon in Genesis, as described in this article:


• Not only that, there's sort of a Dark Trinity encircling Mary in all directions except heavenward. Not only is there Draco, the dragon, the rest of the triangle is formed by Scorpio (the Scorpion) and Hydra (the serpent).

... The Southern Cross ... Sword/cross shall pierce your heart as well?

16. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared at an Aztec site dedicated to the worship of Tonantzin "Our Mother" 

Mary picked this seemingly unknown site on purpose. The Aztec goddess Tonantzin had been worshiped for decades at the very same site, Tepeyac, which is now home to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. 

Tonantzin means “Our Mother” in the Aztec language of Nahautl. It is clear, then, that Mary was specifically seeking the conversion of the Aztecs. 

17. Our Lady of Guadalupe's robe holds several secrets and Aztec symbols

Have you ever noticed the detailed floral design of Our Lady's robe? 


Our Lady's robe is rose-colored or pale red and covered with Aztec flowers. This is symbolic of an Aztec princess.

Among the designs are four-petal quincunx flowers in the shape of a cross. Some of these lay at the center of Our Lady's robe across the virgin's womb. 

The flower was called the Nahui Ollin by the Aztecs and was the symbol of the sun and plenitude. It is also the Aztec sign of the divine, as well as the center of the cosmic order. This grouping of symbols means the virgin’s baby is both divine and the new center of the universe.




Black Maternity Sash: Our Lady is wearing the Aztec black maternity lace around her waist. This signifies that she is, not only a pregnant woman, but is about to give birth. The sash, then, is a sign new life and that someone is about to come. The ends of the sash's bow represent the end of a cycle and the starting of a new age.

18. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the third most visited sacred site in the world

20 million people per year visit the basilica located in Mexico City.

The Old Basilica, begun in the 1500s and completed in 1709, stands in stark contrast to the massive new basilica that was built in the mid-1970s and looks like a sports arena. It is, in fact, designed to hold 50,000 people, who come for mass—celebrated several times daily—and to see the miraculous image of Our Lady. 

19. Hillary Clinton once visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and she said something absolutely mind-boggling

During a visit to Mexico in 2009 while Secretary of State according to Catholic News Agency, Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people.” The miraculous image had been lowered from its usual altar for the occasion.

She then asked Monsignor Diego Monroy ... 

Are you ready for this? 

Mrs. Clinton asked Monroy, "Who painted it?" 

Without missing a beat, Msgr. Monroy responded “God!" 

 


ENDNOTES:

[1] Todd M. Johnson and Gina A. Zurlo, eds. World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2018). By the year 1600, the world Protestant population is estimated to have been 12.67 million. Here's a Protestant population growth chart:

[2] Callahan, Philip: "The Tilma under Infrared Radiation", CARA Studies in Popular Devotion, vol. II, Guadalupan Studies, No. III (March 1981, 45pp.), Washington, D.C.
●  More background on Philip Callahan here.
●  The attack on Our Lady of Guadalupe is in part due to some possible exaggerations of the claims made by the scientists. One such headline stated that NASA, itself, claimed Our Lady of Guadalupe was "living" or "alive". While Dr. Callahan did serve as a NASA consultant, he obviously does not speak for NASA, itself. However, if, as has been reported, his studies show that Our Lady of Guadalupe maintains her a 98.6 body temperature, the claims of a "living" image are pretty on the nose. 

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