Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/356

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CHAPTER XV.


RELIGION AND ART.


THE story of the apparition,—or rather—numerous apparitions of the Virgin Mary, commonly known by the appellation of the "Virgin of Guadaloupe," in December, 1531, immediately after the conquest of Mexico, to the Indian convert, Juan Diego, and the subsequent erection of the church of that name on the spot, has been often told by historians and travelers, and I need not again relate it in detail.

Suffice it then to say, that on the 12th of December 1531, the pious Juan Diego, praying by night on the volcanic hill of Guadaloupe, about three miles outside the north-eastern gate of Mexico, and some five miles from the grand plaza, saw the Virgin, clad in robes of wonderous splendor, with a face dark as that of the Indians, but radiant with a light not of earth, standing above in the air. She told him that in order to save the Indians of Mexico, and prove to them that she was indeed their Mother, she had appeared in this complexion, and desired him to go to the Bishop of Mexico and tell him that it was her wish, that in her honor a church should be erected at that point. He was so astonished at the apparition that he dropped his sombrero from his hand,—you can see the same old hat there now just as he dropped it—nevertheless, he rallied his wits, and talked back until he was satisfied that he had the full purport of the message, and then hurried off to the