As proof of the authenticity of the apparition, the Virgin Mary told the native to bring the flowers of a rose bush that miraculously appeared on arid Tepeyac Hill to the bishop.
When St. Juan Diego presented the flowers to the bishop, his tilma, the cloak in which he carried them, bore the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the bishop authorized the construction of the church.
The image of the Virgin, full of symbols that could be read by the Mexican indigenous people, promoted the evangelization of Mexico, facilitating millions of conversions in the following years.
The tilma of St. Juan Diego with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe shows no signs of deterioration after almost 500 years and is kept in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
In 1921, a government employee, in the prelude to a wide scale persecution of the Catholic Church, attempted to destroy the image with dynamite concealed in a floral arrangement placed on the altar in front of the image. The explosion caused no damage to the miraculous image of Our Lady, and the glass protecting the image of Our Lady wasn’t even broken, although there was extensive damage to the rest of the church.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.