Did you know that the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited Catholic shrine in the world?
An estimated 20 million devotees flock annually to the shrine and the basilica on the Tepeyac Hill property where the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared before the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531, and asked that a church be built on the site. The number of visitors swells on December 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Described as the champion of the underdog and disenfranchised, Our Lady of Guadalupe has interceded for countless prayers through the centuries. In gratitude, scores of believers embark on a pilgrimage to the shrine to thank her for the blessing of miracles.
With faithful followers across the globe, the Lady of Guadalupe has seen shrines created in her honor all around the world. Here are five of them—two of which are in the Philippines!
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Guadalupe Nuevo, Philippines
Founded in the 17th century, the former Our Lady of Grace Church was renamed to Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1803. Patrons like this church for its quiet atmosphere and large, spacious interiors. (Read: 5 Most Beautiful Churches in the Philippines)
“If you are a Marian devotee, it’s good to visit the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Makati and be amazed by the story and power of her intercession on your prayers,” wrote Jeiron Estrada, who visited the shrine nine months ago. “I, for one, can attest to that.”
Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The only Roman Catholic Church in Pagsanjan, and the oldest church in the Philippines under the patronage of our Lady of Guadalupe, the 333-year-old church with a Renaissance-style façade is home to a life-size image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a gift from Mexico sculpted by Ramon Barretto of Toluca. (Read: The 10 Oldest Churches In The Philippines)
“Every time I visit Pagsanjan I see to it that I visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine because I have so many answered petitions here,” wrote Jennifer Garcia, who was there a year ago. “Try to say or write any petition before the Lady and see how miracles do happen.”
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Des Plaines, USA
The most visited monument of its kind in the USA, this shrine sees hundreds of thousands of devotees paying homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary through a lighted candle, fresh flowers, or a thanksgiving prayer. (Read: Five most visited healing churches in the Philippines)
Our Lady of Guadalupe found her way to Illinois through Mexican immigrants who settled down in the city of Chicago to work in the steel mill in the early 1900s. A 12-foot-high statue of our Lady of Guadalupe, a six-foot-tall statue of St. Juan Diego, and an 800-lb replica of the Mexico City image are attractions of this religious destination.
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Marian Valley, Australia
Encased in a glass shrine by the garden is a faithful replica of Mexico’s Our Lady of Guadalupe image—blessed by the Bishop of Mexico and touched by the miraculous tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe before it was sent to Australia. In 2006, Archbishop John Bathersby proclaimed her Patron Saint of the Spanish-speaking community in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Found in Caceres Province, in the Extremadura autonomous community in Spain, the Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe is a polychrome cedar statue measuring a little over two feet in height. One of three Black Madonnas in Spain, it was reportedly carved by Luke the Evangelist and presented to St. Leander by Pope Gregory I.
If legend is to be believed, the Virgin showed herself in Spain before she did in Mexico. In 712, when the Moors invaded Seville, a group of priests buried the Lady’s statue in the hills near the Guadalupe River in Extremadura. Come the 14th century, as a cowboy named Gil Cordero was out hunting for an animal, the Virgin appeared before him and instructed him to have priests dig at the spot of her apparition. There, they found the statue and created the shrine in her honor.