a 55-year-old neophyte (trainee priest). Juan Diego, near what we today know as Mexico City. She identified herself as Mary, the mother of Jesus. The woman asked the neophyte to take a message to the bishop that a church should be built on the spot where she appeared. The woman then waited at the same place for the next two days to hear the answer of the bishop. The bishop did not believe what Juan had told him, and cross-examined and observed him, but the neophyte never wavered in his story. The bishop then sent Juan back to the place to find the woman and ask her for a sign to prove that she truly was the mother of Jesus. Juan agreed to do this.
However, at the same time Juan's uncle was dying. Juan decided to first attend to his uncle, and on the 12th December, when it was clear that the uncle had reached the end of his life, Juan ran to the nearby convent to find a priest to read the last rites to his uncle.
Juan deliberately avoided the area where the woman was waiting because he wanted to deal with his uncle first. However, she knew where he was going and stopped him on the way. He told her about his uncle, and the woman appeared to Juan's uncle and instantly cured him.
She the told Juan to go to the rocks and gather roses. Juan knew that it was not the season for roses, but went anyway because he was curious. Juan was wearing a tilma (a long, poor quality cloak made of cactus and worn by Mexicans) and gathered many roses in his tilma.
When he got back to the woman, she rearranged the roses and then told Juan to deliver the roses to the bishop. Juan went back to the bishop and delivered the roses, fresh and wet with dew. In the tilma, the life sized figure of the woman, just as Juan described her, was glowing. This tilma with the picture was guarded safely in the bishop's chapel and later in the church that was built where Mary wanted it built. Today the tilma is displayed in the basilica at the same spot. The tilma with the image still looks as fresh as it did in 1531.
In 1999, Pope John Paul II visited the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the third time and declared 12th December as a Liturgical Holiday for the whole continent. The Pope indicated that she was the protector of children, especially those that have not been born yet.