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Mexico City's Shrine of Virgin Guadulupe: A visit to remember

Mexico City's Shrine of Virgin Guadulupe: A visit to remember

Florine Roche
Daijiworld Media Network

Mexico, Dec 11: Visiting Central American state of Mexico was my long pending wish which has now become true. I arrived here on 7th of this month in the city of Mexico, the capital city of the country. The city is about 2240 meters (7200 ft) above sea level and is quite cold here. I have been visiting different places in Mexico City since two days and today I had the opportunity to visit the Basilica of Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The shrine of Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world.

A scene depicting offering to the virgin Mary

Altar of one of the many chapels inside the shrine area

The interior of the old Basilica

View of a painting inside the old Basilica

Pilgrims in colourful attires at Basilica

Women with little children in the traditional dress of Juan Diego

Procession with decorated vehicle

Another view of interior of old Basilica

Outside view of a chapel near the shrine

The new and the old Basilica

The new Basilica

Old Basilica which is slightly slanted

The slightly slanted old Basilica

The Timla housed in the new Basilica

I am lucky to have visited the place at a time when the annual feast of Virgin of Guadalupe which is celebrated every year on December 12. But the novena or the nine day celebrations have begun and people from different parts of Mexico and neighbouring countries converge at this Basilica in millions. This Basilica gets second highest number of visitors after Vatican with people coming to the shrine seeking healing and favours, fulfilling vows or paying homage to Virgin of Guadalupe who is acclaimed as the Queen of Mexico and Empress of Latin America. It is therefore not surprising to see some pilgrims approaching the atrium on their knees as part of their vows. The representation of the Virgin on the Tilma is considered as Mexico´s most popular religious and cultural image.

The novena has begun on November 3 and now the shrine is getting ready for the grand finale to be celebrated on December 12.

The shrine is built near the hill of Tepeyac where our Lady of Guadalupe is believed to have appeared to Saint Juan Diego and houses several chapels, churches and shrines. But the three important shrines, very old one built in 1531 and the modern Basilica are the most important among the many shrines in this 100 odd acre expanse containing many religious buildings. The new Basilica houses the original tilma (cloak) of Juan Diego that holds the image of our Lady of Guadaulupe. The modern Basilica is constructed on the site of a 16th century church. When the basilica began to sink as it was built on a lake, the New Basilica was built between 1974 and 1976 and the original image of Virgin of Guadalupe is now housed here. The Basilina has a circular floor plan so that the image of Virgin can be seen from anywhere within the building. The circular structure which is 100 metres in diameter can accommodate 50,000 people at a time with a seating capacity of 10,000.

Even the old shrine shows signs of its foundation sinking and one can see the old shrine slightly slanted due to sinking of its foundation. The side wall of the imposing structure at one place is cracked from top to bottom and in another place the wall of an adjoining structure is drifted from the attached wall. The interior of the old shrine is simply awe- inspiring and is a feast to the eyes lovers of colonial architecture. The first structure was believed to have started in1531 and was finished in 1709. The side walls and on the sky high roof of the basilica depicts giant paintings of 8X5 metres Basilica and Juan Diego, the peasant who saw the vision o virgin Mary leading to the construction of the Basilica.

The new Basilica which is supported by major pylon to prevent sinking and can be termed as an architectural jewel. Its roof evokes old Jewish tents symbolizing Virgin Mary´s mantle protecting the faithful.

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Comment on this article

  • Miguel Lopez, Peru/USA. Maryland

    Sun, Jan 24 2016

    Long story short...She saved me from dying coming from Guatemala looking for the Ferry If I do not stop to drink orange juice she was selling on the road at 2.30 A.M.(She told me to go slow following the tire marks on the road) I would it have jumped to the top of
    the Ferry now somebody told me there is a Bridge.I did not Know she was the Virgen until I sow her on a picture on a house, since then she has done a lot for me before this I did not know how she was dressed. I do not know what I would it have done if I knew she gave me the big glass of orange juice at 2:30 in the morning God bless her always I know she will wait for me when I pass away... thanks Mother Guadalupe.I finally visited her last year because my mother and sister invited me for this trip, God bless them too otherwise it would it take me longer to see her in the Tepeyac now because of her all the Mexican people are my family God bless you all I will try to go this year.Thanks.

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  • jimmy, usa

    Fri, Dec 13 2013

    try to find a news agencies in the USA that covers this and you'll see that not one of the major news agencies cares to cover this event.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • joe, muscat, mangalore

    Thu, Dec 12 2013

    Thanks F. Roche
    I would like to add some points
    This unique Image our Lady of Guadalupe with its miraculous powers has inspired millions of pilgrims over the past five centuries, Here are some highlights: 1. After the 1531 apparition nine Mexicans converted within a decade.
    2. This Miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the only image not made by human hands. Here are some properties:
    a) the cloak ( tilma)containing the image of Our Lady is made of ayate fibre from the cactus plant which can last 20 years.Diago”s tilma has lasted till date -474 years
    b) the tilma has not been affected by heat or smoke from the candles over 100 years. A protective glass added later
    c) in 1921 a powerful bomb exploded near it twisting an iron cross but not damaging the tilma , or the thin glass in front of it.
    d.) in 1791 workmen spilt nitric acid accidentally on it but nothing happened to the tilma.
    e. using infra red photography experts found no cracking or fading .
    f there are other notable features on the image that seem to point to the ancient cultural and religious symbols of the native Indians before the American Conquest.
    (courtesy: Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart , December 2005.)
    St Juan Diego feast is on December 09. He is black, native Indian. To him Our lady appeared as little black girl !!!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gretta, Gretta, Mangalore

    Thu, Dec 12 2013

    Lovely article and pics. I really felt as though I travelled personally to the Holy site. May Our Lady of Gaudalupe bless and protect everyone who believes in Her as a true Mother of Hope.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gerry D'Mello, Bendur / Canada

    Thu, Dec 12 2013

    WOW!!! An amazing article and wonderful pics all the way from Mexico City. Have a enjoyable and memorable time in Mexico!

    DisAgree [9] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

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