Located in the St. Joseph’s Chapel at St. Vincent Ferrer Church is the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The image of Our Lady wearing symbols of native dress reminds us that the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer is enriched by the devotion of faithful Catholics from Mexico, Central and South America and the Philippines. The Parish commissioned the artist, Janine Manheim, to create a museum quality triptych of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer. The icon was installed on December 7, 2015 and blessed on Saturday, December 12, 2015, her feast day. The beautiful shrine and place of prayer came about through years of contributions by hope filled people who had taken this cause to their hearts candle by candle.
History of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Virgin Mary presented herself in several apparitions to Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian, in December of 1531. On Tepeyac Hill, on his way to Mass, the Virgin Mary appeared to him. Speaking in his native language, she asked him to tell the bishop that she would like a shrine built where she was making her appearance. Juan Diego took this request to the bishop. At first, the bishop did not believe Juan and asked him to provide a sign from Our Lady. At the time, Juan lived with his uncle who had become gravely ill. He happened to be searching for a priest to provide last rights when Our Lady appeared to Juan again. Juan told Our Lady of the bishop’s request and she advised Juan to go and pick roses from a place that Juan knew did not grow roses that time of year. Following her instructions, he went to the hill and found, to his surprise, many roses were in fact, blooming. Our Lady also told him that his uncle would recover from his illness and to go directly to the bishop with the roses and they would be his sign. He went to the bishop and when he opened his tilma, or cloak, dozens of roses fell out and an image of the Virgin Mary miraculously became visible, imprinted on the inside of his cloak. Now that he had his proof, the bishop ordered a church to be built on Tepeyac Hill in honor of the Virgin. Juan returned home and found that his uncle’s health was restored.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint, is located north of Mexico City and is the site of an annual pilgrimage of hundreds of thousands of people, a reminder that miracles are performed as a means to lead us to a deeper faith. It is the most visited Catholic shrine in the world. The original tilma of St. Juan Diego hangs above the high altar of the Basilica. In 1910, Pope Pius X proclaimed Her patron of Latin America. In 1935, Pope Pius XI declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the “Heavenly Patroness of the Philippines”. She was declared “Patroness of the Americas” in 1946 by Pope Pius the XII. Juan Diego was beatified By Pope John Paul II on May 6, 1990.
The triptych in Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in St. Vincent Ferrer uses authentic Byzantine painting techniques and is gilded in 23k gold leaf. In the trefoil is an icon of the Holy Spirit. When the doors are open, the Holy Spirit completes the icon of the Annunciation, and presides over the icons of the saints. When the doors are closed, the triptych reveals a sixteenth century map of the Americas. The Holy Spirit presides over and intercedes for the Americas. The opened doors yield to the image of the encounter between St. Juan Diego and the Blessed Mother upon the hill of Tepeyac. Framing this image are four Dominican Saints of the Americas drawn from the history of the Dominican Order in the New World.
Atop the left door is a smaller icon of the Archangel Gabriel. Directly below is a larger icon of St. Rose of Lima, The Patroness of South America. She practiced extreme asceticism in emulation of St. Catherine of Siena. She also became a Third Order Dominican. St. Martin de Porres completes the door. He was a lay brother who is noted for his work among the poor and establishing hospitals and orphanages.
Atop the right door is a small icon of Our Lady. Directly below is St. Louis Bertrand, the Apostle of the Americas. While he preached in his native Spanish, he was understood in various languages. He also fought for the rights of the indigenous people against the Spanish conquerors and converted many to Catholicism. Completing the door is St. John Macais. He was a lay brother and assistant porter who was known for his love of the Rosary and his generosity to the poor. He helped hundreds of people who came every day to the convent seeking material and spiritual aid.