Our Lady of Guadalupe questions

I believe strongly in Our Lady of Guadalupe and meditate on her words there.

I’m on another board where a poster is citing this Wikipedia article (I know it’s just Wikipedia)


The poster raises the issue of how Mary appeared on a hill that had been used in the worship of Tonantzin, a mother earth goddess, and how the natives conflated Our Lady with Tonantzin (which apparently means “Our Mother”).

Again, I believe strongly in Our Lady of Guadalupe, and have read about the miraculous preservation fo the image, the microscopic images of persons in the eyes of Our Lady, the human body temperature of the image, the lack of paint in the image, etc.

One of the criticisms offered is this:

In spite of these documents, there are no written accounts of the Guadalupe vision by Catholic clergymen of the 16th century, as there ought to have been if the event had the importance it is claimed to have had.[18] In particular, the canonical account of the vision features archbishop Juan de Zumárraga as a major player in the story, but, although Zumárraga was a prolific writer, there is nothing in his extant writings that can confirm the story.

I haven’t believed the vision was real for a long time, based on the lack of historical proof. Fortunately, the Church doesn’t require that we believe private apparitions.

In spite of that, I still like the image. :slight_smile:

Ok…so I’d respond to that question, with one of my own: what “non-Catholic clergymen” (or other person(s)) supposedly authorized that monstrous Catholic Church to be built on Chapultapec Hill, and dedicated to “Our Lady of Guadalupe”? Seems an awful generous gesture of these supposed non-Catholic, non-believers…

I suppose it would be far more compelling had they written down an account, than having built a monumental structure to her…but, at 5 million Aztecs in the first 15 years alone, and 90+ million Mexicans since…I think the building and oral Tradition seem to have been pretty effective.

'course, that’s just me.

BTW…I sincerely believe.

Our Lady of Guadalupe personally delivered to me (or procured for me, if you prefer) a miracle, some 20 odd years ago.

On that basis alone (to say nothing of so much other evidence)…not only do I believe…I could not deny her if I wanted to.


In October 1571, Admiral Andrea Doria carried a copy of an image of Mexico’s Our Lady of Guadalupe into battle against the Moslems. The battle is known as the The Battle of Lepanto and much is written about it.

What do you mean a lack of historical proof? Are you referring to a lack of written documentation as well?


That’s what I meant. There is no “proof” for miraculous events that are visible to only a select few.

Okay, here goes!


1531- The Pregon del Atabal is composed

1537 - A junta eclesistica is convened to consider baptismal modifications due to the large number of Indian baptisms

1537 - Pope Paul II issue papal bull Sublimis Deus regarding Indians being able to receive sacraments, etc

1541 - Franciscan friar Toribio de Benavente writes about the conversion of nine million Indians

1545-48 - The Nican Mopohua by Antonio Valeriano is a written account of the apparitions

Mid to late 16th century - 3 manuscripts written which now reside in the New York Public Libray:

  1. The Codice 1548 is composed on deerskin depicting apparitions with dates
  2. The Codex Saville - a pictorial calender
  3. 1555 Archbishop of Mexico Alonso de Montufar formulates canons that indirectly approve apparitions

1555-56 - The Chapel of Tepeyac is put the Uppsala Map

That should be enough written proof! I can’t wait to look up these different historical writings!

True, however the tilma is visible for all to see. Science has proven it to be authentic.

Please see my post on historical, written proof as well.

Here is a translation of The Pregon del Atabal:


Oh my gosh - look at this!!!


The real significance of the Nican Mopohua held at the New York Public Library is its possible date of authorship. Scholars contend it may be the earliest written version of the account of Juan Diego and the occurrences at the hill of Tepeyac. The manuscript may even be in the hand of the Nuhua scholar Anotonio Valeriano (ca. 1531-1605) and thus closer to an original account of Juan Diego’s narrative than later printed versions. Thus, the manuscript also relates to Aztec traditions around Tepeyac as they were transformed by Catholic ritual in the middle of the sixteenth century.

Papal bull Sublimis Deus: 1537


The Nican Mophua:


Thank you for posting this. It is so beautiful it must be true. Thanks be to God for Our Lady!

Thank you, Goya.

These are all mentioned in the book by Carl Anderson? That’s great. I just ordered it from the library.

I recommend this website. The author has really done his research on the subject:


I think one of the things you need to remember on the subject of Our Lady of Guadalupe is: many Guadalupans (and anti-Guadalupans) seem to take the account as written in the Nican Mopohua or in the other traditional sources (Becerra Tanco, Lasso de Vega) too literally. They assume that the story in the Nican is literal gospel truth - never mind that each of these sources all have degrees of differences with each other - and proceed to work from that assumption. (Anti-Guadalupans are also at fault for doing precisely the same thing: throwing the baby in the bathwater by assuming that just because the traditional narrative may have certain holes in it when held up to close scrutiny, it automatically means Juan Diego never existed / the apparitions are not genuine and the miracle stories are fake.)

Thank you, Patrick. Will try to learn from this.

Taking a page from the website I linked to earlier.

From what we can see from the sources, the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe seems to have been at first a local, native thing. Juan Diego was only really known in his native Cuautitlan, and the image was only really venerated by the natives. The Spanish were mostly ignorant about the Tepeyac Guadalupe or considered it unimportant until 1555-6, when a Spanish herdsman was miraculously cured after praying to the Virgin.

It was only around the 1550s that the Spanish in Mexico City began to take the devotion seriously (although they were still apparently mostly ignorant about Juan Diego or the image’s actual origin), and it wasn’t until the mid-1600s that the legend of Juan Diego became universal throughout Mexico.

As for Bishop Zumárraga, there’s the issue of whether he was really the friar Juan Diego went to or whether it was actually someone else. Even if he was, the thing about Zumárraga is that he was hardly the person you’ll expect to publicize the story.

The man opposed popular superstition and the pursuit of miracles (which could lead to idolatrous practices); he cracked down hard on people he deemed to be engaging in superstition. In fact, he instigated the Mexican inquisition in 1536-1543 to check idolatry among the converted Indios. (It was actually in 1536 that the natives began to convert en masse to Christianity.) Assuming that he was really a major player in the origin of the Guadalupe devotion, he would have still been wary that the devotion could easily devolve into error and superstition (a pressing concern of his), which is why he might have kept silent about it.

Even in the traditional legend of Guadalupe, Zumarraga is skeptical, even severe, towards Juan Diego; in fact, Zumarraga is never mentioned as returning to Tepeyac once the image is enshrined there. He participated in the first procession, but that’s about it.

Our only source for Doria supposedly owning a copy of the image comes from a written testimonial by Italian scholar Antonio Domenico Rossi (1788-1861).

Discovered in Genoa in the palace of His Excellency the Lord Prince Doria two images of the Madonna of Guadalupe, one may have been a gift from Holy Excellence the lord Cardinal Giuseppe Doria, and it was that which with all certainty, as is recounted in the archive of that most noble family, had touched the original. It had been donated by His Catholic Majesty the King of Spain to the immortal Andrea Doria, grand admiral of the Spanish, to serve as the icon of the chapels of the principal galleys, which that celebrated captain directed; indeed it would have to be in the very same time as the celebrated battle of Lepanto, in which, by the intercession of Mary, Christendom had a most signal victory over the Turk.

Only the first part of this testimony is well substantiated (that one of the copies of Guadalupe in Genoa was donated by a Doria, Cardinal Giuseppe Doria Pamphili (1751-1816), and that this copy touched the original). The rest of Rossi’s claims is problematic, however (these are really just his personal theories).

First off, Grand admiral Andrea Doria (1466-1560) was already dead by 1571. His grandnephew, Giovanni Andrea Doria (1539-1606), did participate in Lepanto, but he was only squadron commander.

As for the actual image itself, the Doria family did have it as far back as 1684, but it doesn’t seem to have been acquired or even made during the late 16th century.

We know that around the 1670s, a member of the Doria family (Violante Lomellini Doria (1632-1708), widow of Andrea III (1628-1654) and mother of Giovanni Andrea III (1653-1737)) wanted a copy of the image. (This would have been odd if the Doria family had already possessed a Guadalupan icon of illustrious history.) A Jesuit priest went to Mexico in 1675 to get a copy for her. There, the priest found out that the native painters competed annually among themselves to see who could make the most faithful copy of the image, and so he got the copy that got first place that year. This is the image that was passed on to the Doria family.

Now the thing about the Doria image (in Aveto, Italy) is that it’s very similar to the copies of the image that were made by a late-17th century Mexican painter, Luis de Texeda (who was famous at the time for precisely that - painting copies of Our Lady of Guadalupe); in fact, the Aveto copy matches his style. If that’s the case, then the copy couldn’t have been made in the 16th century.

I need to qualify this statement. There is paint in the tilma. The thing about the original image (which is inexplicable) is that it was actually embellished and even slightly altered. The face especially were (infamously) retouched in stages during the last century, resulting in Our Lady turning somewhat older, somber and slightly fatter in appearance.

(It’s actually pretty easy to tell many of the painted additions; these are usually the places in the image where you see cracking and fading, such as the golden sunburst rays or the black moon or the tassel.)

As per the 1979 infrared study of the image conducted by Philip Callahan, the Guadalupe image would have probably been simply of Mary in a praying pose. (I show Mary’s figure here in full length, but some people think that it’s possible that the image was originally just a three-quarter portrait than a full-length picture, with the lower third of the body being an addition.) The tilma would have been larger than it is today - the cloth was only later cut to size.

Then, the image was embellished by the addition of certain elements: the dark moon and the tassel, then the angel and lower fold (the so-called ‘Aztec fold’, that fringe of the mantle the angel is holding on), followed by the white background and sunburst (and a crown - which was removed in the 19th-20th century), then the gold trim with dark outline in the mantle and tunic, and finally the stars. The thick paint in these areas had cracked and peeled in numerous places, which is one of the things that distinguishes them from the ‘original’ parts of the image.

(Some writers argue that the sunburst and the moon were already part of the original image, albeit the rays would have been more subtle and the moon more smaller - and probably not black.)

There was even a time when someone tried to paint cherubs on the background, but these were eventually erased after they deteriorated badly.

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