Mexican Icon: Empress of the Americas

The Houston Museum of Natural Science has on display an exhibit featuring La Virgen de Guadalupe, or as others may know her, Our Lady of Guadalupe. The exhibit was originally scheduled to run only for a short period of time as a limited engagement, but because of the outpour in interest, it has now been extended until September 2016.

The exhibit introduces the history, politics, and culture surrounding La Virgen de Guadalupe, and informs visitors of this extraordinarily venerated icon who appears in various forms of artworks. From the handmade renditions of South America, to the North American versions found in the United States, each display in this exhibit features a touching tribute to the Empress of the Americas.

Taking photos is not permitted in the exhibit, but believe me, it is definitely worth a visit. There is a replica of the piece of cloth which belonged to Juan Diego, the indigenous man who is said to have first encountered La Virgen de Guadalupe, and upon this cloth is where her image appears. The original cloth, or tilma is on permanent display at the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Mexico City where every year millions of pilgrims from around the world come to pay tribute to their holy empress.

La Virgen de Guadalupe’s presence in the Americas is undeniable. Only seven years after her original appearance in 1531, 8 million indigenous people had converted to Catholicism, representing an average of 3,000 people per day. Her legacy continues today, as she is celebrated and venerated throughout the American continent every year on the 12th of December. The Day of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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