Our Lady instructed Juan Diego to gather flowers from a hillside and take them to the bishop of Mexico City with a request that a church be built in her honor. When Juan Diego made his request to the bishop, he opened his cloak and the flowers fell out. Then an image of Mary appeared on his cloak.
A church was indeed built and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is miraculously preserved nearly 500 years later. Over 20 million people visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe each year.
Mary’s appearance to the peasant Juan Diego is in keeping with her own simple life and her complete obedience to the Lord’s call. In the opening lines of the Magnificat, prayed every evening as part of the Liturgy of the Hours, Mary declares:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.