The Virgin of Guadalupe
Catholic accounts relate that in early December of 1531 Juan Diego, a Mexican Indian and recent convert, had a vision of a young woman on the Hill of Tepeyac outside of Mexico City. Speaking in the indigenous Nahuatl language, the woman asked that a church in her honor be built on the site. Recognizing the apparition as the Virgin Mary, Juan Diego informed Bishop Juan de Zumárraga, who in response requested additional evidence of the Virgin’s sighting in New Spain.
Following the Virgin’s instructions, Juan Diego then gathered Castilian roses from Tepeyac to be carried in his tilma, or peasant cloak, back to the Bishop. When Juan Diego presented the roses to Zumárraga, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared imprinted on the tilma. This manifestation of the Virgin Mary, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, has become Mexico’s patron saint and foremost cultural icon as well as a symbol of national identity. On display are texts and images documenting the appearance of, and devotion to, Our Lady of Guadalupe published in a variety of genres and formats in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.