In Part 3, we are still on the grounds of the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Coming down from the church at the top of the steps are gardens and statues to commemorate Juan Diego’s vision of the Virgin and the conversion of the indigenous people. After the fountains and statues is a miniature of the area, and resting on one of the rocks I saw a tiny lizard and snapped its picture before it scurried away. Finally, there is an enormous statue of the Pope and at this point, this is the end of my photos and commentary at the Basilica…
Take care – Saludos to All…
There will probably be another two posts at least, since there is way too much commentary and too many pictures to cram into only one. In these pictures, we are still on the grounds of the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
In the previous post, I displayed photographs of the churches on the grounds, and the photos and commentary in this post will explain how this all came to be. From December 9th through 12th, 1531, an indigenous man named Juan Diego had several visions of the Virgin Mary. She told him to go to the bishop and to say that a church was to be built on that site.
The bishop did not believe him and asked for a sign. Juan Diego went back, but first spent time with his uncle who was mortally ill. The sign given to him was roses in full bloom, which was a miracle since this was a freezing cold December. Juan Diego put them in his cape and brought them to the bishop, and when he opened his cape and let the roses fall out, there was a picture of the Virgin imprinted on his cape. When he went home, another miracle had occurred – his uncle was cured of his illness.
I will now end my narrative – to be continued tomorrow…
Good night, All…………….
Gardens around the basilica
Stairs leading to the spot where Juan Diego saw his visions of the Virgin Mary – The Virgin of Guadalupe.
Several views of the churches and grounds as you climb the stairs
Church at the top of the stairs, built at the spot where Juan Diego had his vision of the Virgin of Guadalupe
In this place at dawn on Saturday December 9, 1531, the Mother of God talked for the first time to Juan Diego. In the afternoon the same day, and in the late afternoon on Sunday, December 10th. She talked with him again on December 12th in the morning. Juan Diego collected the miracle roses. The story is that Juan Diego found roses at this spot at a time of year when roses would not be blooming.
View from the church at the top of the stairs. You can see the pilgrims and their tents throughout the walkways and plaza below.
The next installment of my trip to Mexico City has been put aside for today as it is the holiday of Day of the Dead, or All Souls Day as it is also known throughout the world. As both names imply, it is a day to honor the souls of those who have passed on.
Yesterday, many people from the village went to the cemetery and spent the day cleaning it up and beautifying the grounds in preparation for today. Before 9am, almost the entire village walked to the cemetery carrying flowers and food, including the favorite foods of the departed. People were also lined up just outside the cemetery fence with food and drink to sustain everyone, and flowers for sale in case anyone had not already brought them.
First there was an outdoor mass said and people would go up to the altar and read off the names of all their loved ones who were in this cemetery. I was surprised at how much I understood of what the priest was saying, so I guess my Spanish is actually improving. I had to laugh along with everyone else when he told everyone to be seated, then quickly said not to sit, as we would all have been sitting down in the dirt!
After the mass, people gathered around their family’s graves, and then visited with other families. For some, they would pour a drink over the grave for their departed loved one. I was very touched to be a part of this – to listen to the memories of the lives of the family members and to know that they are more than just names on a headstone. They are truly not gone, nor forgotten, but continue to exist in the hearts and minds of those they left behind. I was also told that it does not matter where you are living when you die, but you are buried in the place where you are from, and so, except for some gringo graves, the people buried in this place are from here – Cofradía de Suchitlán.
It is good to witness a holiday keeping to its original values rather than being commercialized and I am grateful to have been a part of it.