In mid-December, you read the story of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe), the patron Virgin of Mexico. She is so well-loved that there's a saying about Mexico's devotion to her: "No todos somos Católicos, pero todos somos Guadalupanos." ("We aren't all Catholics, but we all love la Guadalupana.") There is no apparition of the Virgin Mary that is more highly venerated than this one. She's known by many loving nicknames: La Morenita (the little brown woman), Paloma Blanca (white dove), and La Guadalupana (the woman from Guadalupe) are just a few. She's first in our hearts, but there are many other apparitions of the Virgin Mary that are also much loved in Mexico.
Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows). This apparition of the Virgin Mary is often seen standing at the foot of the cross where Jesus was crucified. Dressed in black and frequently depicted with arrows piercing her heart, she is the image of pain.
La Virgen en Tránsito (The Virgin in Transition). According to Roman Catholic doctrine, when the Virgin Mary died, she was assumed into heaven, body and soul. This 17th Century statue, from the Templo de la Companía in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, shows the Virgin after death but prior to her assumption into heaven.
Nuestra Señora de Zapopan, Basílica de Zapopan, Zapopan, Jalisco. This 16th Century image of the Virgin Mary is made of pasta de caña: a pre-Hispanic paste of cornstalk and orchid-bulb juice, molded to the approximate shape of the Virgin, covered with gesso, and polychromed. She measures a mere 14" high. One of her nicknames is 'La Generala' (the general), given to her after she helped Mexican troops to victory in a battle in 1852. She is the santa patrona (patron Virgin) of Guadalajara, seen here dressed and crowned as she is when her image is on the altar in the Basílica.
Nuestra Señora de Zapopan--the same one you see in the photo above--dresses for travel, too. Here you see her ready to go out for a road trip; she's wearing her rebozo (shawl) and her straw hat. If she isn't going far, she travels in her Virgenmobil--a brand new vehicle that starts the trip with zero kilometraje (mileage).
La Inmaculada Concepción (the Immaculate Conception). This statue of the Virgin represents the Roman Catholic doctrine of her conception without the taint of original sin. Mexico Cooks! photographed this modern image in the Templo de la Inmaculada Concepción, Concepción de Buenos Aires, Jalisco.
Mexico is devoted to many more apparitions of the Virgin Mary. People sometimes ask me how many Virgin Marys there are in the world: there is only one, but she has appeared in many guises, in many types of clothing, and in places all over the globe.
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