“Mary said, ‘Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word’”
– Luke 1:38
When I was living and working in Chicago in the 1990s, one of my closest friends was a Catholic nun who was a teacher and Assistant Principal at St. Pius School in the Pilsen neighborhood. In the 1990s, Pilsen was a primarily Mexican neighborhood, and my friend Sr. Jane told me that every year, St. Pius would cancel regular classes on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – the feast we celebrate today. Students would come in for breakfast, engage in Mass or a prayer and then go home. It always sounded like a great community celebration. Our Lady of Guadalupe was an extremely important day for the community of St. Pius. Evidently, even though the Pilsen area has gentrified over the years, graffiti art of Our Lady of Guadalupe still peppers the neighborhood.
Quite honestly, a profound devotion to the Blessed Mother has not been central to my faith life. Frankly, I think my lack thereof says more about my prayer life than it does about Mary! While I am far from an expert on apparitions of the Blessed Mother, my impression is that Mary generally appeared to folks like Juan Diego – young and poor, with an extremely sincere faith life. They obviously were able to see things that I don’t. So, on this Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as we remember Juan Diego, the people of Mexico, and our Blessed Mother, I pray that I may learn from their faith. May I have the faith to see roses in December, to believe in things that may seem impossible, and work for their completion.
Blessed Juan Diego, pray for us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
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