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In 1531 Mary appeared to a 55-year old Indian, Juan Diego, as he was hurrying down Tepeyac Hill to participate in Mass in Mexico City. Mary told Juan to tell Bishop Zumarraga of her wish that a church be built on the spot of the apparition.
When the bishop asked for proof of the appearance, Mary had Juan take some roses which bloomed on the cold arid hillside, arrange them on his mantle, and carry them to the bishop’s house.
When Juan opened his roughly woven mantle, the roses spilled out and on the mantle appeared the miraculously painted life-size figure of Mary that is reproduced in stained glass at our Grotto and in the Gathering Space of the Church. Juan was to see Mary four more times and Pope Benedict XIV made December 12 a feast and holy day of obligation in Mexico.