When Juan Diego spoke to the Spanish bishop, the bishop did not believe him, asking for a miraculous sign. Although it was winter, the Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers, and Spanish roses bloomed right at his feet.
When Juan Diego presented these to the bishop, the roses fell from his tilma (apron), and an icon of the Virgin was miraculously imprinted on the cloth. The bishop ordered a church built at once, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
|Left: The miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe displayed in the basilica. Photo by Hernán García Crespo.|
On November 14, 1921, a factory worker placed a bomb a few feet away from the apron. The explosion demolished the marble steps of the main altar, blew out the windows of nearby homes and bent a brass crucifix, but the fabric suffered no damage. Since 1993, the apron has been protected by bullet-proof glass (left).
In 2002, the Pope declared Juan Diego a saint; he was the first Mexican to achieve sainthood. Replicas of the miraculous image can be found in thousands of churches, including the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.