U.S. shrine re-creates Our Lady of Guadalupe apparition with giant sculptures
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 12, 2022 / 14:30 pm
A Catholic shrine is re-creating “Tepeyac Hill” — where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared nearly 500 years ago to St. Juan Diego — in the United States.
The new hill, located in Oklahoma City, was dedicated Sunday in anticipation of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12. Two bronze-painted sculptures rest on its top: a 12-foot-tall, 4,400-pound statue of Our Lady and an 8-foot-tall, 3,300-pound statue of St. Juan Diego.
With her hands held in prayer, Mary gazes downward as a kneeling St. Juan Diego lifts his eyes to meet hers.
The two works of art were created by Georgina Farías Nicolópulos, a sculptor from Mexico City, where the original hill is located.
Present for the dedication, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City expressed his hopes for project.
“Having Tepeyac here, having the beautiful bronze statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego, I think this is going to really be a very significant Marian shrine for this part of the country,” Coakley told EWTN’s Alan Holdren. “So, I’m very, very happy with that.”
The new Tepeyac Hill is a part of the new Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine, which is scheduled to be dedicated on Feb. 17, 2023. The Spanish colonial-style church will be the largest Catholic church in Oklahoma and plans to host diocesan events and help accommodate the growing Hispanic population there.
The shrine’s executive director, Leif Arvidson, stressed the importance of Our Lady of Guadalupe both for himself and for visiting pilgrims.
“It’s very personal for me, just the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe as our mother — our loving mother — and I think it will be very beautiful and very personal for all of the pilgrims who’ve come today, especially the Hispanic community, to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe here in the United States,” he told Holdren. “Sometimes Hispanics come here and they feel that they don’t have a home; they can come here and realize their mother is right here waiting for them.”
When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City in 1531, she not only looked like a native woman but also spoke in the same language as one. She came at a time of conflict between the Spanish and the indigenous peoples to ask Juan Diego, a peasant who had converted to Christianity, to persuade the bishop to build a shrine in her name. When the bishop asked for a sign that the apparition was real, Juan Diego went back to Tepeyac, and Mary appeared again. She instructed the saint to gather a bouquet of flowers even though it was winter. He returned with the bouquet in his tilma. When he saw the Castilian roses and an image of Our Lady miraculously imprinted on the tilma, the bishop fell to his knees.