Mary was a women who loves and dares. In the story of Jesus, she first appears when an angel announces that she will bear a child. Her response is to boldly sing, "My soul magnifies the Lord!" This song, known as the Magnificat, praises God who brings down the mighty and raises up the lowly. Mary could be very tender as a mother is to her child but also very strong.
Mary's strength and concern for the downtrodden is revealed in Mexico, where she is called "Our Lady of Guadelupe." Typically Our Lady of Guadelupe is imaged as a woman wearing a crown and starry robe standing on a crescent moon held up by a cherub. The sun glows behind her, suggesting the image of the woman clothed in the sun from the Book of Revelation. Her name may derive from the Aztec Nahuatl word "coatlaxopeuh" (pronounced quatlasupe) -- the one "who crushes the serpent."
According to Roman Catholic tradition, Mary appeared centuries ago (1531) in Central Mexico to Cuauhtlatoatzin (Juan Diego), an Aztec and a Christian convert. He reported that a beautiful woman surrounded by light as bright as the sun appeared to him and requested that a church should be built on that location. (See a painting of Juan Diego by Jose de Ibarra, 1743.)
Mary revealed herself, not to a member of the church hierarchy but to one who was poor, not to a European but to an indigenous person. Roman Catholics of Mexico, especially those who are among the many living in poverty there, treasure this powerful image of "Our Lady of Guadelupe." They see her as a champion of the poor and oppressed, a defender of children, and even a dragon-slayer (the dragon or "beast" is symbol of the devil).
Mary is known by a variety of titles in Latin America. The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute lists these:
Picture Credits: Metal Sculpture, "Our Lady of Guadelupe," photo by Nancy A. Carter, 1981 (taken at the retreat center of the Sisters of Guadelupe of Christ the King in Cuernavaca, Mexico). All other art of Mary is from the web site "Our Lady Of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas" http://www.sancta.org. Used by Permission. Click pictures for larger image.
These are selected images.
Choral Reading of Gospels: Women of the Anointing, Crucifixion, and Resurrection (The Four Marys)
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