December 9th was the Feast of Saint Juan Diego, and December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Juan Diego is the Mexican (of Aztek ancestry) to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in 1531. Cuauhtlatoazin was born in 1474 and baptized as Juan Diego in 1524 by Spanish missionary Franciscans brought over to the New World by Cortez. Our Lady imprinted this image (see right) on the Juan Diego's tilma, as many know, and to this day scientists cannot explain HOW the image got there. It is not painted, dyed or sewn. The process cannot be duplicated by modern technology and neither can the source be ascertained other than that of supernatural origin. One of MANY interesting facts on the tilma is:
Ophthalmological tests have found that MARY's eye is a human eye that appears to be living, and includes the retina, in which is reflected the image of a man with outstretched hands—Juan Diego. The image in the eye conforms to the known laws of optics, particularly to that which states that a well-lighted object can be reflected three times in an eye (Purkinje-Samson's law). A later study allowed researchers to discover in the eye, in addition to the seer, Bishop Zumárraga and several other people present when the image of Our Lady appeared on the tilma. And the normal microscopic network of veins in the eyelids and the cornea of the Virgin's eyes is completely recognizable. No human painter would have been able to reproduce such details.
This feature in addition to the accurate astronomic details and other fascinating dimensions make the image even more incredible especially when one realizes that this goes back almost 500 years ago. If 21st century science cannot explain or replicate the process, what does that say? Incidentally, more pilgrims per year visit the Basilica in Mexico City to see the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe than any other pilgrimage site in the world. More than Saint Peter's in Rome; more than Lourdes or Fatima; more than Padre Pio's. Recently, a Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse was consecrated by Archbishop Raymond Burke.