The Gates of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Part 2)

By Christopher Zoukis

Not only was the image on the Tilma a miracle, but miracles continued to escort the image’s passage through time.  In 1785, nitric acid was inadvertently spilled on the Tilma.  Regarding this incident, Dr. Orozco stated, “Besides any natural explanation, the acid has not destroyed the fabric of the cloth, indeed it has not even destroyed the colored parts of the image.”

The second miracle occurred in 1921, when a bomb exploded in close proximity to the Tilma.  The force of the blast shattered the marble flooring, blew out windows 150 meters away, and warped a brass crucifix.  The Tilma and the glass pane protecting it remained unscathed.  Dr. Orozco said, “There are no explanations why the shockwave that broke windows 150 meters afar did not destroy the normal glass that protected the image.  Some people said that the Son by means of the brass crucifix protected the image of His Mother.  The real fact is that we don’t have a natural explanation for this event.”[1]

The eight gates of St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in Los Angeles are the portal to this miraculous manifestation of the power of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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The Gates of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Part 1)

By Christopher Zoukis

There are eight gates, each weighing approximately 700 pounds.  For three-quarters of a century – from 1922 until 1997 – these gold colored gates surrounded the shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe at St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in Los Angeles. 

Traditionally, gates symbolize the threshold of an entrance into a new life and communication between one world and another world.  Gates represent the protective, sheltering aspect of the Great Mother.  In Christianity, the Virgin Mary is the Gate of Heaven.  Passage through the gate, especially for those in spiritual poverty, leads to rekindled spiritual understanding.  Proverbs 8:3 associates the gate with mystical wisdom. 

The eight gates at St. Vibiana’s stood before a shrine commemorating the Virgin of Guadalupe, who, in 1531 appeared to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico.  Her appearance served as a bridge between the old Aztec world and the new world of the conquering Spanish conquistadors.  The miraculous manifestation of the Virgin’s image imprinted on a peasant’s cape[1] was reported to the Vatican.  The Vatican accepted the occurrence as a bona fide miracle, and a sanctuary was erected on the spot in 1533.  In 1695, construction   on a new sanctuary began, followed by the modern Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1976.  Tantamount to the Shroud of Turin, Our Lady of Guadalupe’s shrine remains second in visitors only to the Vatican.  Pilgrims come from all over the world to kneel before the shrine.  Her image, according to the Boston Globe, “May be the most venerated picture in the world.”  She is the benefactor and symbol of Mexico.

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