Many people of Mexican descent have pictures and statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe in their homes. Spanish-speaking Catholics throughout the New World have turned to Mary, under this title, in their times of need for many years.
However, this popular devotion has also crossed over into the English-speaking world. Now, it's not unusual to find people with no ties to Central America also keeping reminders of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, around the house.
This devotion is based upon a Church-approved apparition, which happened in 1531. A man named Juan Diego was walking to morning Mass when he heard a voice calling his name. Although his bishop initially did not believe he was receiving visits from the Mother of God, a series of events convinced him otherwise.
The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in what is now Mexico City is widely considered the turning point for the Catholic faith in Latin America. Prior to the appearance of Mary, the Mother of God, the Franciscan friars had little success preaching the Gospel. However, in the years following Our Lady's appearance to Juan Diego, millions of people were converted and baptized.
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