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The Guadalupe Story

  • The Guadalupe Story

The traditional story of Guadalupe, translated from

the original Nahuatl language of the Aztecs

by our Fr Martinus.

Introduction by Fr Martinus Cawley

1.   Announcing the  Story & the Miracles 2.   Dates and  Locations 3.   The Bird-Song 4.   Summons to the  Hilltop 5.   The Lady &  Her Question 6.   The Lady’s  Request 7.   Gaining Access to  the Bishop 8.   Juan Diego  Reports to the Lady 9.   He Begs Off 10.  She Commissions  Him Anew 11.  Sunday Mass &  Interview 12.  Episode of the  Spies 13.  Juan Bernardino’s  Illness 14.  He Plans to Avoid  the Lady 15.  She Tenderly  Outwits His Plan 16.  The Lady’s  Reassurance 17.  Miracle of the  Flowers 18.  Presenting the  Flowers to the Lady 19.  Interaction with  the Doorkeepers 20.  Presenting the  Flowers to the Bishop 21.  Miracle of the  Tilma 22.  Planning to Build  the Shrine 23.  Re-enter Juan  Bernardino 24.  Building of the  Shrine


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.


1.   Announcing the  Story & the Miracles

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,

and saying:


“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,

Your Declaration.        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,

Your Declaration,         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,

My Commissioners,         that I am wont to leave it

that  they  should   bear  My Utterances,

My  Declarations,         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,

and         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?”


And himself!       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 listen,

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,         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,

its erection.


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.




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