Our Lady of Guadalupe. Credit: Sacred Heart Cathedral Knoxville via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is well-known. The Virgin Mary appeared to the indigenous peasant Juan Diego in the 1500s and miraculously left her image on his tilma, which is still venerated today.

Lesser-known, however, is the story of how a crucifix once saved the image when a bomb exploded in the 1920s.

The story is recounted in the back of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, next to where the crucifix, twisted by the explosion, is displayed. The crucifix is known as the “Holy Christ of the Attack.”

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According to the story, on November 14, 1921, “an unidentified man, on the pretext of placing a bouquet of flowers, approached the altar and placed his offering before the venerated image of Our Lady.”

“Around 10:30 in the morning, a dynamite bomb that was hidden among the flowers exploded. The altar steps made of marble, brass candlesticks and this Sacred Image of Our Crucified Lord, which fell twisted to the ground, were damaged.”

The heavy metal crucifix, however, absorbed the impact of the explosion, protecting the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe behind it.

The story notes that the glass pane in front of the Marian image “was not even smashed in” by the explosion.

“The Mexican people were greatly outraged by the attack,” and on Nov. 17 of that week, “commerce in our capital was shut down for five hours in protest over this unspeakable attack.”

“Since then, the faithful people of Mexico have venerated in a special way this image of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which protected his Holy Mother from such a perverse attack,” the story relates.

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