Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe comes to Kenosha

by Karen Mahoney, Kenosha News Correspondent 

A reproduction of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a 482-year-old religious treasure from Mexico will arrive on September 8 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church until September 17, and will travel to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish September 13-16.
The Missionary Image from the Guadalupe shrine in Mexico City is a gift of the Catholic Bishops of Mexico to the people of the United States and is visiting a number of cities across the country, as well as in the Kenosha area.
It is a digital replica of the Virgin on the “tilma,” or cloak of Aztec Indian Juan Diego, who on December 9,1531 reported that she had appeared to him on the barren hill at Tepayac, Mexico, asking that a church be built there to show her merciful love to all of her children. The cautious Bishop asked Juan to ask the Lady for a sign. Juan did so, and on December 12, Mary appeared again to Juan on Tepayac Hill and told him to pick the Castilian roses (from his native Spain), which miraculously appeared there and to bring them to the Bishop as a sign for him to believe the request. He gathered the roses into his tilma and brought them to the Bishop.
It is believed that after he presented the roses to the bishop, the pregnant Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the tilma, where it remains to this day.
Catholics who honor Our Lady of Guadalupe believe her purpose then was to bring peace between the Aztecs and their Spanish rules and credit her with the conversion of 9 million Aztecs in the following years.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a dark young mestizo woman with rich robes of indigenous design and color. Her hands are folded in prayer and she is surrounded by heavenly rays. According to Fr. Sean Granger, pastor of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, tests have shown that this image is not a painting and the tilma shows no sign of decay after so many years.
“This is the only major image of Our Lady when she is pregnant and that seems to have been painted by the hand of God himself,” said Granger. “The image seems to be floating above the fabric and it is a miracle that the image could survive this long as the fabric, made by the threads of the maguey cactus should have decayed after just 20 years. There are so many miracles in the image itself; such as when technology caught up with the image and her eye was scanned to reveal the inverted image of three people standing there. The stars in the night are the same ones on her gown, and the shapes on her dress are like the mountain region from where she appeared. Her hands are joined in prayer and she pointed her finger to the cross at her neck, and she has sunrays from behind her with the presence of divinity. Not that she is divine, but who is within her is.  There are so many neat things. The image is a miracle of itself—it is absolutely perfect.”
That St. Elizabeth parish was picked to host the Missionary Image on the birthday of Mary is another coincidence, as well as the fact, that St. Elizabeth was Mary’s cousin and the mother of John the Baptist. According to Beverly Beyers, who attends the parish, the opportunity to meet Dan Lynch, the National Guardian of the Image, happened in 2010 at a Marian Conference in Chicago. She was there to sell her scripture art and had the opportunity to speak with Lynch about the Image.
“When I learned that no one had asked for a visitation during Our Lady’s birthday, I asked if we could host her here in Kenosha, and Dan said we could, if I found a parish to host it,” she explained. “Fr. Sean was gracious to tell me his story of being in Mexico to marry someone and his only opportunity to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to say a Mass was September 8. We both thought that was a special connection and he approved us hosting the Image.”
While there have been miracles associated with the presence of the Image, Granger cautions individuals to come not expecting a miracle, but because Mary directs people to Jesus and it is an opportunity to get to know Mary more.
“It is possible that coming to pray and see this image will increase the faith of Catholics as well as non-Catholics,” he said. “Many have traveled to Mexico and experienced something profound. We hope that those who come experience their own private revelation and get to know Our Lady’s Son more, as she directs everyone to Jesus.”
For more information on the Missionary Image, Fr. Granger suggests these books:
Handbook of Our Lady of Guadalupe by Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
Our Lady of Guadalupe, hope for the world by Dan Lynch
If you want to go:
Sept 7-12–St. Elizabeth – 4816 7th Avenue     
Sept. 13-16–Mt Carmel -1919 54th Street
St. Elizabeth Schedule
Sept. 7    Holy Hour 7-9 pm
Sept. 8    Open 8 am – 8 pm
                Nativity of Mary
                Mass 8 am, 4:30 pm
                Birthday Dinner   4-8 pm
Sept. 9    Open 8 am – 8 pm
                Mass   8 am, 10 am
                Latin/Spanish Mass 4 pm -Bishop Hying -Procession follows
Sept. 10 Open 8 am – 8 pm
               Mass 8 am, Rosary 7pm
Sept. 11 Open 8 am – 8 pm
               Mass 8 am Rosary 7pm
Sept. 12   Open 8 am -8pm.
                Mass 8 am 
                Songfest 7 pm.
Sept. 16   6 pm – 8 pm
                Vespers 7 pm
Sept. 17   8 am – 12 noon.
                Mass 8 am
                Rosary of Thanksgiving

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