By order of events, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on Mexican soil 100 years before the Daughters of Charity were founded.
- 1531 – apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe
- 1633 – establishment of the Daughters of Charity
- 1830 – apparitions of Our Lady requesting the Miraculous Medal
- 1846 – bishops of the USA choose Blessed Virgin Conceived without Original Sin as patroness
- 1854 – Ineffabilis Deus – Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
- 1858 – Our Lady of Lourdes apparitions declares she is the Immaculate Conception
The apparition of those times would surely reveal the woman depicted in the last book of Revelations. For St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac, Our Lady of Guadalupe was the ‘great sign, dressed as the sun, with the moon upon her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars,’ (Rev. 12, 1). Behind them were the countless stories of conversions and the many miracles sprung forth from this lady of the sun.
And yet, how distant those signs of hope and light seemed when St Vincent and St Louise looked all around their beloved Paris. In the shadows of the most trendy and lofty of boutiques of the times, sat men, women and children begging for food or spare change. Around the busiest of corners, many would gather asking for a chance to be noticed. Those most in need, cried in despair tugging to the last of their belongings.
These situations were visible to St Vincent and St Louise. They could not let the opportunity pass to extend hope and offer light. With their look, they gave recognition. In their embrace, they offered warmth.
“I hope that your gratitude will place you in the disposition necessary to receive the graces you need to serve your sick poor in a spirit of gentleness and great compassion, in imitation of Our Lord who acted this way with the most unfortunate.” – St. Louise de Marillac (SW L383, p. 434)
For those of us, here today, with the appreciation we do have of the messages of Our Lady of Guadalupe, how much we can share! To be able to say to those feeling unappreciated – beloved, you are dear to Our Mother! I see you, as our Mother has you in her eyesight! If cold and insecure, how true it is to be held under a cover of stars and song. When words are difficult and actions harsh, but to remember a sweet voice that reminds us “Am I Not Your Mother?”
Being but 12 days aways from the birth of our savior, how will the Mother of this child carry us into a welcome that is dignified, appreciative, humbling and anticipatory? On this special day, will you be reminded of the woman that shines brighter than the sun in the middle of a cold winter? Upon seeing her image all throughout our neighborhoods, will you steal one of the stars from her cloak and enlighten someone?