On December 9, 1531, In Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor humble Aztec Indian. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him to build a church. Juan Diego did as she asked; but the Bishop asked for a sign that this message was really from Our Lady.
The Lord granted his request. On December 12, Mary showed Juan where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in bloom because there was frost on the ground and only cactus and thistles grew. Juan Diego gathered them in his tilma, or poncho, and brought them to the Bishop.
The Bishop was amazed at the roses,; but was even more amazed at what began to happen to Juan Diego's tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our Lady began to form on the cloth. He had the church built at her request. The tilma is still intact after 470 years, and it has been on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for all this time.
Mary's appearance embrace Christianity and it helped the Spaniards treat the Indians with respect. In the course of seven years, six million Indians converted to the Catholic faith. This was the biggest conversion in the history of the Church.
We continue to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Rita High School. On Wednesday, Dec. 14, at our weekly all-school Mass, everyone received an Aguinaldo. Aguinaldos are traditional treat bags that are handed out to celebrate the birth of Jesus. St. Rita students enjoyed the music of a Mariachi Band following all-school Mass and during lunch periods in the McCarthy Center.
Also, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, the St. Rita Family surprised Head of School Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D. with a birthday cake following Mass! Happy Birthday Fr. Paul!