The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Empress of America

Think it is a story mainly for Mexican Catholics? Or, as many pro-life Catholics like to emphasize, is it an appearance of Our Lady to emphasize the sanctity of life? Or, is it about an event that happened so long ago that it has little significance for anyone living today? Well, whatever you think, you may want to get to know this timeless story again.

The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Empress of America, is a fresh and unique retelling of this well-known true story about the most remarkable event in the history of the Americas. It is a children's book and so much more.

First-time children's author C. Lourdes Walsh wrote the book as an encouragement for children but, as with real spiritual treasures, the story itself transcends that purpose to teach us lessons on many levels. It is a story about friendship, faith, trust, hope, compassion, self-confidence, and perseverance.

Walsh tells the story with a simplicity and beauty that reveals the trusting and intimate friendship between the youthful Mother from Heaven and the aged widower Juan Diego. Mary addresses him affectionately as “My small son,” while Juan Diego calls her “Little daughter.” As with real friends who reciprocate their kindness and love, Juan Diego puts his whole heart into fulfilling Mary's request while she allays his fears and goes to console and heal his dying uncle.

Unlike the later apparitions of Our Lady at places like Lourdes, Fatima, and Medjugorje, Our Lady came to Tepeyac Hill in 1531 with no general message in words for the world but rather with a mission of action for two men. To Juan Diego she says, “Go and ask, and keep on asking,” and to Bishop Zumarraga, she says, “Build.” These two very different men would eventually work together to prepare a place for keeping the greatest and most eloquent image in the New World.

With her mysterious and exquisite self-portrait, rendered with Castillian roses on a tilma made of cactus fiber, Our Lady brought about on a grand scale the spiritual conversion of Mexico, which Christian missionaries up to that time had been unable to accomplish. Through her friendship with the humble Juan Diego, Our Lady changed one man's heart, liberated a people from the suffering of human sacrifice, and gave hope for the end of foreign oppression.

The most delightful feature of The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Empress of America, is the inclusion of 18 color reproductions of Jorge Sanchez-Hernandez's “Nican Mopohua” collection. The great artist's paintings powerfully tell the story in their own way. And Walsh makes a fitting choice to illustrate her book with them because the persuasive force of Our Lady's message came not through words but through the symbols she used on Juan Diego's tilmaOne very attractive special feature about The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Empress of America, is its usefulness for parents who want a creative activity for their children. This is not a book that you merely read to your children, but one that you could actually use as a starting point to role-play any situation that causes your children anxiety and requires a virtuous response.

Children face more challenges and pressures than ever before, requiring more guidance and attention from their parents than ever before. Help them learn from St. Juan Diego how to take courage in ordinary but trying situations such as speaking up in class; being faithful to God and family &#0151 and to themselves &#0151 despite being teased and criticized; and persevering in reaching a goal. And, if you read closely, Mary also shows moms and dads from her own example how to be truly supportive and compassionate parents.

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