On December 12th 1531, Our Lady appeared to a converted Aztec man named Juan Diego on top of Mt. Tepiac just outside of Mexico City.
She requested of Juan that he go to the Bishop of the Catholic Church in Mexico City and tell him about her. She also said that the Church was to build a temple in honor of Her and Her Son Jesus in that place.
Juan followed Her instructions. The Bishop was polite, but he required proof of this apparition of Mary before he would undertake such a request.
Juan went back to Mt. Tepiac and Mary appeared to him again. He told her what the Bishop requested. Our Lady told Juan to come back the next morning and She would give him the proof he needed.
Juan returned home to find his uncle near death. The next morning, Juan avoided Mt. Tepiac, choosing instead to go directly to the church so he could find a priest that would perform last rites for his uncle. Mary encountered him on the way and told him that his uncle would be fine. She then instructed him to go to the top of Mt. Tepiac, gather all the flowers growing there, and bring them to her. He did as She asked, and when he returned She arranged the flowers in his tilma (cloak) and told him to give the flowers to the Bishop.
A year earlier, the Bishop had made a special prayer to Mary. The Aztec Indians of the area were known for very barbarous acts and for making offerings to pagan gods. The Bishop had made a mission of converting them to Catholicism, but he was uncertain of his path. He asked Mary to send a sign that he was doing the right thing – he asked for Spanish roses to come to him as proof.
Juan went into the Bishop's office at the Church, presented him with the roses, and said, "These are from Our Lady." The Bishop fell to his knees, looked at Juan, and in front of him and 7 others, Our Lady of Guadalupe mystically appeared on Juan Diago's tilma.
In the years following these events, 9 million Aztecs converted to Catholicism. The tilma was made of a cactus pulp fiber and should have rotted in 20 years. It remains in perfect shape to this day, 470 years later, despite hundreds of years of time, burning candles, and millions of hands placed on the exposed tilma.
In 1921, a bomb was placed in front of the tilma. When it went off, the bomb destroyed the altar, bent the iron cross 20 feet away, and blew out the windows – but no harm came to any of the people there at mass, or to the tilma.
In the last 50 years, science has discovered through a magnification of the eyes on the image, a reflection of the 7 people who were in the room exists in the pupils of Our Lady. The stars on her cloak were the exact constellations of the apparitions on December 12, 1531 – only they were reversed as if the seer was outside the universe looking in.
To this day, thousands of miracles have been attributed to these events, and the 23 million visitors at the shrine in Mexico City each year.