Sunday, December 12, 2010

Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. However, we've been celebrating the feast since last Thursday, which was the feast of St. Juan Diego.

Juan Diego was a poor Aztec Indian who experienced an apparition of the Virgin Mary.  She appeared to him three times, asking him to ask the bishop to build a chapel on the rocky hill where they were standing.  The bishop did not believe Juan Diego and asked for a sign to prove it was the Blessed Mother.  The Blessed Mother had him pick roses and put them in his tilma, then bring them to her.

That in itself was a miracle, since roses did not grow in that rocky area, especially in December.  Even more miraculous is that fact that they were Castile roses, a gorgeous red rose known in the Spain but not yet grown in the Americas.

Juan Diego brought them to Mary, who arranged them in his tilma, then asked him to show them to no one but the bishop.  He took them to the bishop in Mexico City and dropped his tilma, allowing all the roses to cascade to the floor.  He thought the roses were the sign, not realizing that a beautiful image of Our Lady was now imprinted in his tilma.

You can find out more about this miracle and why red roses are so popular in Mexico here.

We spent the last few days learning more about Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, plus tying in a bit of Mexican geography and culture.  Some of the things we have done (or will be doing today) include:

1) Eating a Mexican meal of tacos and spanish rice, and drinking non-alcoholic Sangria.   Sangria is very simple to make! Just mix 1/2 cup of grape juice, 1/4 cup of orange juice, and 1/4 cup of Sprite or 7-Up.  Add ice cubes to glasses and pour mixture into glass then add a maraschino cherry or orange slice for garnish.  Makes about 2 cups.  It is delicious!

2) Making roses and/or poinsettias out of red tissue or crepe paper.  Martha Stewart has directions for large and small roses here, including templates.

I originally planned to make  roses, but decided to try poinsettias instead after viewing this tutorial on the Essential Packaging Store Blog. I thought we could make a few extras to decorate gift packages.  Isn't the flower on this package beautiful?  (By the way, it would also be a great project to go along with Tomie DePaola's book The Legend of the Poinsettia.)

3) Watch CCC of America's DVD Juan Diego: Messenger of God. My now 11-year-old son was fascinated by this cartoon video when he first watched it at age 8. I will be introducing it to my 8-year-old daughter this year.

4) Read Tomie DePaola's book The Lady of Guadalupe.  It's a beautiful story told in a way that children can understand. We also read a small book called Our Lady of Guadalupe by Father Lovasik on Thursday.

5) If we still have time, we might make this Guadalupe Day Decoration found on the Crayola website.  I've been looking for a way to use those packages of Model Magic clay in our craft cabinet!

6) Listening to the Glory Stories CD that features the story of Juan Diego.  This is a CD we picked up for free from Holy Heroes!  My daughter received it from St. Nicholas on December 6.

7) Adding pages to Our Saints Notebook.  My daughter is keeping a notebook about all the saints that she is learning about this year. Each saint has a brief biography, a handmade trading card, a coloring page or her drawing of the saint and a paper doll.  We developed our own trading cards but some saint trading cards are available for a free download from That Resource Site.  For paper dolls, we use either the free downloads from the Paper Dali blog or adapt the Biblical paper dolls on the Making Friends website.

We spread out our activities during the past few days since some of them were more time consuming.  today.  If we have time, might do some of the simple Mexican activities found on the DLTK website.  Their  paper quilt would be a fun way to learn a little about Mexico's customs and cultures.

Some resources:

Juan Diego: Messenger Of Guadalupe

The Lady of Guadalupe

 The Legend of the Poinsettia
Our Lady of Guadalupe


  1. Thank you, Cheryl, for joining the O+L+G Feast Day Link Up! Love that little craft from Crayola -- something I'll have to remember for next year :)

  2. Lovely ideas for celebrating ! I'm here from Evann's link up party!