Thursday, January 28, 2010

La Virgen de Guadalupe

I attended a lecture this evening entitled "Guadalupe's Others: Rethinking Marian Devotion in Colonial Mexico" given by Luisa Elena Alcalá of La Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and I learned a few things about Our Lady of Guadalupe that I found interesting and thought I'd share.

The Virgin of Guadalupe, the iconic image of the Virgin Mary that is so admired in Mexico was popularized in large part because of the way in which she appeared. Unlike many other virgins which were highly esteemed by Catholics, the Virgin of Guadalupe was [as legend has it] not a work of man, but rather appeared on the cloak of a peasant, Juan Diego - that is, a divine and miraculous creation.

Alcalá said that the Church allowed and encouraged the belief in this as it did not contradict any Catholic doctrines and it was a matter of number of believers and time that led to what the Virgin of Guadalupe represents today for Mexico. I think this is interesting in light of what our Global Studies book said about the importance of perception instead of reality in Latin America. It is not necessarily important whether or not the story of the appearance of the virgin on Juan Diego's cloak is true, but rather that it is believed to be true.

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