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ong the way-side, where pilgrims to the church used to pause to say their prayers, but [Pg 258] the new one is not so well provided. The tram-cars run at a rapid rate, the mules often dashing


into a gallop, but coming suddenly to a halt when the conductor blows his horn. The youths inquired as to the origin of the church, which is the most famous of all the places of worship in the country, and the object of many a pilgrimage every year. The result of their

inquiries was the following story: "The Church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe stands on the spot where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a poor shepherd, an Indian named Juan Diego, in 1531, ten years after the capture of the city of Tenochtitlan by Cortez. He lived in a mud hut near the base of the hill, and one day, his father being ill, he went to obtain medicine for him, and was stopped by the Virgin, who upbraided him for the slowness of the Mexicans in accepting the religion wh

ich the conquerors offered them. She announc

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ed that she was to be the patron saint of the Indians, and told him to go and tell the bishop what he had seen and heard. "He went to the house of Zumarraga, who was then Bishop of Mexico, but


was turned away unbelieved and almost unheard. The Virgin appeared to him again, and told him to gather some roses from the top of the rock and carry them in his blanket to the bishop. He did so, and [Pg 259] when the blanket was opened the picture of Mary was found to be painted upon it, and surrounded by the imprint of the roses. The bishop was incredulous at first, but when he reflected that the Indian could not paint, and was too poor to employ an artist, he accepted the miracle, and it was soon after adopted by the nation. "It was not easy to identify the spot, and so the Virgin appeared again and stamped her foot upon the ground. Immediat

ely there burst forth a spring which is said to possess wonderful healing properties, and it has continued to flow ever since. A small chapel was immediately erected, and soon afterwards the foundations of the church were laid. Pope Clement VII. officially proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe to be the patron saint of Mexico, and the adoration of the picture spread throughout the whole of America and also to Catholic Europe. "At one time," said Frank, in his account of the visit, "the church of Guadalupe

was one of the richest in Mexico, second on

ly to the great cathedral; but the greater part of its treasure was taken by the Liberal Government, a

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nd coined into money, at the time of the confiscation of Church property. The golden frame of the picture of the Virgin was carried away, but afterwards returned. The altar railing, of solid silver, was not disturbed. Its [Pg 260] value must be very great, as it is massive, and the metal is said to be of the highest standard. STA


TUETTE OF THE VIRGIN MARY. "The original painting is kept in an iron

frame above the high altar, and is shown only on rare

occasions. By paying a fee to the sacri

stan we obtained a view of it.

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