When I was little, my mom and grandmother made a pilgrimage to Mexico City to see where the Blessed Mother had appeared to Juan Diego. Appearing as a young Indian maiden and speaking in his native tongue, Our Lady asked Juan Diego to go to entreat the bishop to build a church on the hill at Tepeyac. When the bishop wouldn’t heed this request and instead asked for a sign that the apparitions were true, the Mother of God instructed Juan Diego to gather the roses growing on the hill, though it was the middle of winter and snow covered the ground, and take them to the bishop. Juan Diego did as he was told, and when he opened his tilma, letting the roses fall out, they saw a full-color image of Our Lady.
Our family lived in Rowlett, Texas at the time my mom and grandma took that pilgrimage. I can still remember being in my parents’ bedroom when my mom was packing her suitcase. I really wanted her to take me with them, so I put my slippers in her suitcase, thinking she’d have to bring me along if they were packed. Each time I’d put them in while she went to the closet or dresser to get other clothes, she’d come back and with a laugh take them out of her suitcase and put them beside it.
Of course, I didn’t get to go on the trip with them, but I am still benefitting from the prayers they prayed there, and I wear a gold cross they found on their trip every day. When they were in Mexico, they purchased this unusual gold cross, and after returning to the United States and not being able to find anything like it, they had another one made so my mom and grandmother could each have one. When I turned eighteen, my mom presented me with a gold cross she’d had made for me that was just like theirs. I have worn the cross for years and treasure it as a symbol of the rich Catholic faith handed onto me by my parents and my very devout grandmothers. Devotion to the Blessed Mother has indeed been a very strong family tradition.
I am absolutely certain that praying the Rosary and The Prayer to Mary for the Conversion of a Loved One which I found in this book are two of the very powerful forms of intercession the Holy Spirit inspired me to turn to often when I sought to open Kevin’s heart and mind to the richness and Truth of the Catholic faith.
More recently, our beloved brother in Christ John introduced my husband and meyh to a beautiful reminder of Mary’s love which he keeps hanging up at work. This is a message Juan Diego received from the Blessed Mother that is meant for us, too:
"Hear and let it penetrate your hearts, my dear little ones. Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you; let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Do not fear vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, your Mother? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?"
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.