March Musings

Healing and Ghosts

Earlier this month I was traveling with my partner in Europe. There were a few sacred spots on our itinerary, one was a visit the ruins of a monastic community at Fountains Abbey. It is tucked into a valley, by a river in North Yorkshire, England. There is a shell left of what was once a Cistercian monastery, still it remains a mystical space.

A friend asked me if I felt it was crowded with all the spirits walking around, when we visited Fountains Abbey. People close to me know I see angels, spirits and in many ways see things most people do not see. I do not believe that I am special and believe everyone can see otherness. Not just, what some people see as supernatural.

If we think about the life around us, like a stage play or some other stage performance, there is the show that happens in front of the audience and a show that happens behind the curtain. If we only want to recognize one part of the performance, taking away portions of the, the cast would perform in the same clothing from beginning to finish of the performance, set pieces would not shift, and lights would not move our attention to other places. The experience and performance would look a lot different. The removal of any one part, changes the translation of the story of what is happening on the stage.

Many things went through my mind while walking around Fountains Abbey. It did not feel crowded as my friend asked, it felt peaceful and wise. I could still feel the chants that were sung through the naive, beginning in the 12th Century. The Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) could still be felt among the remaining pieces of the abbey telling a different story than originally intended.

I wonder if our curiosity of supernatural and understanding things we cannot see the same way we see buildings and material things, is because of our own fear to look beyond what we have right in front of us. To overcome the fear of the unknown. This same fear can have us watching movies or putting ourselves, even unconsciously, into harms way; to project ourselves into a situation to contemplate how we would respond. This leads to the question; if something is not tangible, it is it real or not?

We give power to what is important in our lives, tangible and intangible. Our memories are not something we hold, though inanimate objects might remind us, these things are not the memory. At Fountains Abbey I saw walls, people walking about, trees, rocks and a river. We all carried our story, now the story of the abbey through our own filters and awareness in life. If any of us are lucky at sacred sights, possibly the presence of peace and maybe a spiritual awakening.

For me, I know a time in my life, I would see nothing more than a shell of buildings, I would see the destruction and the violence committed upon a non-violent community. I would have gotten lost in the violence and seeing it everywhere. Instead I saw how we can carry this monastic community around with us. We all see life through the filters of our life experiences. Some of these experiences limit us, while some lift us up, these are our ghosts. We decide which of these ghost we want to give power to, to tell our story. We choose to keep the spirit alive.

Just as the ritual of Baptism unites us to the Holy Spirit, we have to choose to be baptized and to also accept the Holy Spirit into our lives, from that day forward. We give power to the inanimate things in our lives, such as sacred places, a saint medallion we wear or prayer beads we move through our fingers, reminding us of our spiritual life. Ultimately, we decide which material objects and what actions hold power and how much power. The story that tells my life and all our lives, is up to us. Just as some stage performances can have multiple acts, so can ours and we have the opportunity to decide where light is projected.

The ghosts I saw and were aware of, were my own. I saw the ways I have put fear based limitations on myself. I became aware of how in the Baptism I had in the sixth grade connected me to the Holy Spirit, I decided when to fully accept God into my life. That every moment I have the opportunity to renew that connection, much like any stage performance it does not happen without attention, focus and practice. The actions of power and greed can try to eliminate the sacred, but spirit cannot be taken away. We always have the opportunity to begin to heal the wounds of our past, while walking forward in love. It starts with our courage and which ghosts we want to pay attention to.

I will conclude with a prayer that I found myself praying while walking around Fountains Abbey. It was written for people who suffer with HIV/AIDS. However, disease has many names, it is the evil mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer, negative thoughts, cancer, material wealth, distractions and _______ and….. Think about the disease (dis-ease) in life and see where the Holy Spirit can be more fully present.

“Disease is so limited;

It cannot cripple love.

It cannot shatter hope.

It cannot corrode faith.

It cannot eat away peace.

It cannot destroy confidence.

It cannot kill friendship.

It cannot shut out memories.

It cannot silence courage.

It cannot invade the soul.

It cannot reduce eternal life.

It cannot quench the Spirit.

It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection.

In God’s love we rest. Amen.”

March Saint of the Month Saint Katherine Drexel

Saint Katherine Drexel (1858-1955)

Feast day: March 3

Beatified November 20, 1988

Canonized October 1, 2000 by Pope Saint John Paul

Patron saint of: philanthropists and racial justice.

Image of statue in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC

Saint Katherine Drexel, born into a wealthy family in Philadelphia, PA. She is the second canonized saint born in the U.S., just after Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Growing up, Saint Katherine Drexel had the ability to study and learn, though always feeling called to serve in faith.

An impact and one reason that led her to seek a spiritual director, was the long suffering from cancer, her mother experienced. Her long term Spiritual Director was Father James O’Conner and also experienced the dedication to prayer from her father each night for 30 minutes.

One of the first acts of charity she and her sisters performed was to donate a portion of their wealth to St. Francis Mission of South Dakota’s Rose Bud Reservation. This was possibly left over desire from a family trip to the western states where she wanted to help the Native Americans they saw, who needed help.

While touring in Europe, she and her sisters had a private audience with Pope Leo XIII, who recommended her to become a missionary. Saint Katherine took her first religious vows on February 12, 1891. She would dedicate the remainder of her life working for American Indian and African Americans, until her death in 1955.

She dedicated all of her inheritance to found a number of primary schools and Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic African American University. In addition to building the first mission schools for Native American children in Santa Fe. In addition to finding the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1891. They are still active today, continuing on Saint Katherine Drexel’s devotion to the Eucharist.

There are many saints and spiritual people who, like Saint Katherine Drexel, Saint Francis, The Buddha and others who founded communities and were driven to aid the poor, were first born into financial comfort. For example, The Buddha, much like Saint Katherine Drexel, left the comforts of their wealth behind to focus on their spiritual life.

These individuals had already experienced life that included all they needed, while still knowing it did not bring them happiness. They each experienced suffering of sadness or something that forced them to ask those spiritually deepening questions. For Saint Katherine Drexel, the question was asking how she could be of assistance to Native Americans and African Americans, during a time of racial divide and lack of understanding.

Saint Katherine Drexel donated all of her inheritance from her family, to build schools and universities and meet the needs of underserved populations. She knew that money could not bring her happiness, knowing there so many others in need around her. As a fellow saint, she cast herself out, to be one with others in need, she found happiness within divine things and not human things.

*Image with a quote some from the public domain.

*The image statue was taken by me in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

February Musings

Wisdom and Compassion

The word compassion, might be one of those words or a part of a catch phrase, frequently tossed around these days. Although, it might be used without understanding the whole value it holds in our everyday existence. For some, compassion can look scary, while it can be comforting to others. Hopefully it is something we all experience or have experienced in our lifetime.

It may possibly be our human construct of black and white thinking, that limits our ability to fully embrace compassion. This black and white view, most common around us, can alter the full benefit of compassion and can even leave some feeling taken advantage of. Furthermore, some believe compassion is an all or nothing act, making this exhausting view of compassion to seem unattainable. This ultimately limits the full benefit of compassion. If we first have a healthy relationship with compassion we are better able to take action to empower or lift others.

As outcasts, experiencing compassion be limited, if at all. As humans if we do not understand something or someone, our first reflex is to remove the cause of discomfort. While some spiritual practices, teach us to sit with the discomfort gaining understanding of the source, not all spiritual practices have this. The practice is to not allow discomfort to control our thoughts and actions. We begin to live in fear, when we allow our thoughts to control us. By sitting with the discomfort we can let go of thinking, we do not become our thoughts. Our thoughts are part of our egos which, does not include compassion. In addition if we are constantly thinking and trying to think our way through a discomfort, we can get lost too far away from our current moment. This is the mindful look at compassion because, it is not possible to think about how a discomfort will be in ten minutes, we are not there. In ten minutes the discomfort may have subsided. Acting with compassion allows us to care for our current needs first, then to plan as best we can for the future. If we are already calm, then we carry calm into the next moment. This is a part of compassion for oneself.

To help with understanding compassion, it is also necessary to look at wisdom. Few people want to see someone else hurt, neglected or in some way experiencing pain. Again, nobody wants to experience discomfort and studies show, our brain responds with empathy when we see someone else experiencing discomfort.

It is possible to experience offering so much compassion, that it becomes hard to be compassionate. Compassion fatigue is a real thing. The aspect wisdom offers is what balances compassion. Wisdom balances compassion, because it helps us to understand how we can be of assistance, while sustaining our own existence in compassion or returning to self compassion quicker. This enables us to continue offering compassion, in more situations and to more people. Although we would like to think we could give of ourselves until we could not any longer, in truth we cannot do that long term. Even Saint Mother Teresa, who worked tirelessly with outcasts in Calcutta, was known to take days off and take time to rest and for personal care. She practically embodied the example of compassion in action, by also remembering herself.

It is wisdom that also reminds us, the most important person that deserves compassion, is ourselves. It is when we are able to show ourselves compassion, that we are able to offer the most care for others. This is when we love our neighbors as ourself.

Looking for how to add wisdom before moving into action, is a way of offering sustainable compassion. I once had a spiritual mentor who said to ask these questions before jumping into action; Can it or does it harm me or anyone else? Are the actions I am taking for my benefit, for someone else or the person in need? Though these can offer somewhat vague answers, only we know what will work best for ourselves.

The wisdom in compassion is being able to tell if the compassion offered is helping someone to empower themselves. If compassion becomes doing it all for someone else or taking on all their pain, then nobody gains any wisdom in life. The best compassion is to meet someone where they are, to guide others while living our own life and remembering self compassion.

It is the generosity of compassion, that feeds souls. That the most subtle kind of compassion, of kindness or a warm smile, can reach past our realm of comprehension. There is a lot of beauty in compassion and even more beauty when compassion also holds the balance of wisdom and the awareness of spreading compassion in all directions. This wise compassion moves, both inward and outward.

*Image and quote of Saint Mother Teresa obtained and used, from the public domain.

February Saint of the Month

Absalom Jones (1746-1818)

Feast day: February 13

This month the Saint of the month is not a canonized saint with the Roman Catholic Church, as the previous few have been. Saints come in many ways and from many spiritual paths, Absalom Jones is recognized in the Anglican Tradiiton for the devotion he showed and the gifts he left behind. All while refusing to accept the limitations society tried to give him as an outcast.

Part of being an outcast, is knowing who we are inside and knowing our own self worth, then moving beyond the obstacles society tries to limit or condemn us by. These obstacles of all sizes might be some of the hardest parts of being an outcast, by accepting the awareness others are not going to like us because of our race, addiction, sexual orientation, gender-identity, poverty, and so on. It is part of the journey of our own path, to show a different way of living is possible, no matter how small a shift of broader awareness it may be.

Many of the leaders or catalysts for social change may not be recognized for theIr contributions during their lifetime. The need is seen. Then someone will plant the seed and leave it to nurture and grow. It takes someone to first break and stir up the soil, then plant the seed. The life of Absalom Jones is just that, a seed planter. Although he was born into slavery, purchasing his freedom in 1784, after he paid for the freedom of his wife six years earlier. He taught himself to read, continuing to see the need and the opportunities for other African-Americans.

He is not the first African American to be ordained in the U.S., that goes to Reverend Lemuel Haynes. However, Absalom Jones, is the first Ordained African American in the Episcopal Church in 1795 and also founded the first all black church in America, St. Thomas Episcopal church in Philadelphia. The church was made up of members from the Free African Society, that Jones and friend Richard Allen (1760-1831) started when black church members were asked to sit apart from the white members of the church, in either the balcony or the narthex during services. St. Thomas is still serving the community today, along with some 90 other churches that were at one time all black churches. St. Thomas celebrated their two year anniversary in 1992. Later on, Absalom Jones, again with Richard Allen now ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church, started the African Methodist-Episcopal Church (AME).

Bishop White is the person who ordained both Richard Allen and Absalom Jones.

It could be said that part of being an outcast and a saint is love for self and the love of others. To take opportunities to build communities that are empowered, uplifted and recognizing the value everyone holds. As an outcast, we are able to see the presence of God when we learn to turn toward God for comfort and celebrations of life. However, that looks for each of us, with music, in meditation, contemplative prayer or however we are able to hear God’s inner guidance, leading us toward being whole.

Absalom Jones, heard God’s calling. Just as with the disciples, God does not call the prepared, God prepares a way for the called. He saw the need and opportunities for everyone to be of service to one another, not being stopped with limitations society tried to lay upon them because of their race. For Absalom, this way included starting multiple churches that reached out to an underserved community. This enabled a place for all God’s children to hear the word of God and to have the opportunity to be fully present in service.

The life of Absalom Jones continues with congregations who are a part of the Episcopal and AME Churches that he and others helped to establish and more. Then well into the future, in Atlanta with the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing carries on the mission of meeting the needs of the community. Absalom planted a seed, he did not see or know how far reaching the impact would reach. Though it may not be a church, it might be an outreach of kindness to another person, being a guide for someone, prayer and so many other ways we can be present to people around us and to God. We like Absalom Jones hold the same opportunity to start a ripple for God, that can expand beyond our comprehension.

Changing Direction January Musings

We are half way through the first month of the new year. A New Year Resolution is all about changing direction of how we are doing something right now. For some who made a “New Years Resolution”, those valiant efforts may have waned. While others are staying the course for a while longer, with fewer each day holding to that decision to a newness of life. That many people do not stick to a resolution could be, something other than not having the will power to fully commit.

One of the most common themes for a New Year Resolution, is to be healthier. With that resolution might be those concrete health goals, to eat more veggies, walk or run the first 5K or half marathon or whatever it may be. While being healthy might be exercising our mind, by reading books that uplift us, gain new knowledge or old classics that help us to feel comfort.

Many of us know so well, it is easy to set goals! It is not always easy to obtain them.

This is where our spiritual health can aid the resolution intentions of creating a healthier version of ourselves. Although there may be several stages of goals, the shift in thought, that made a difference for me was to see what I can do and not what I cannot do. This can also be called “the law of attraction”. I was able to see how much I already was doing, this helped me to feel more comfort to add a something here and something there. Making gradual shifts in awareness, helped bring more opportunities.

This stopped me from the comparison game to what others were doing and I was not doing. It is a game really, because all we do is bounce back and forth from one comparison to the other. That comparison is in some ways saying that “we are not enough, unless” and is an absence of faith that we can live different than we are now. To first recognize that we all do things differently.

Often our resolutions are shared in a way, that says we are lacking in something. Whether it is a healthy looking body, a job title or another goal. This is a comparison game, because what we are really doing is seeing how close we can be like someone else while not being a clone or to fill the expectations of someone else. Instead of looking at the inspiration someone offers. While also ignoring when we have been made to believe or feel less than someone else. This why our resolutions do not work, because we cannot be something or someone we are not. Our goal is to be our authentic self.

This is an absence of faith, because we are enough just as we are. For whatever reason, we have forgotten our greatness already present. I recognize, this may feel easier said than done, but awareness can begin with gratitude. To be grateful for what we are able to do and honoring the limitations we have been given. It is faith, to also not to do something. To not cast ourselves out by setting our own limitations by living in comparison toward others.  It is when we are able to honor who we are and what we can do, that we can take our next steps toward greatness. Gratitude, is faith in action.

Perhaps that is the resolution for each of us, to be grateful for what we and others have accomplished. Then seeing the new opportunities we can open up, by accomplishing our own goals. Just as different movie directors can bring a different view of the same script, our lives hold different experiences. We hold now, the opportunity to recognize each new day and each new moment, holds a possibility to change direction. To be resolute with who and where we are now. Also, knowing that right now does not hold our limitations and to know we might have to adjust when we least expect it. There may be similarities, but there are differences. The best end result for a healthy spirit will look the same, when our resolution is to be our own authentic self.

January 2018 Saint of the Month

Saint Mary is the January 2018 Saint of the Month

Also known as:


Blessed Mother

Mother of God

Virgin Mary


Our Lady

Star of the Sea

Mother of Mercy

Our Lady of Guadalupe

New Eve

Feast Days in the Anglican Communion

January 1 Saint Mary the Mother of God

February 2 Purification of the Blessed Virgin also the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple

February 11 Our Lady of Lourdes

March 25 Annunciation of Our Savior to the Blessed a Virgin

May 1 Queen of Heaven

May 31 Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

September 8 Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (nine months after the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

November 27 Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

December 8 Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Patron Saint of all humanity. Also, said to be the patron saint of many professions and places.

The Saint of the Month is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary has many names and many feast days throughout the year. The first feast day being the first day of the calendar year, January 1. It is fitting that the calendar year, begins with Mary. After all, it is with her preparation, devotion and demonstration of faith that we are Christians today.

The devotion of love, that Mary knew from her parents Saints Joachim and Ann, helped her to develop the faith needed to answer the call from God. Mary was the only child for Saints Joachim and Ann. Without knowing if they were going to have a girl or a boy, they promised their child to God. They gave Mary an education and opportunities to learn the traditions of her faith. These very actions stood apart of popular actions of their time, treating Mary different, by offering her an education that was seen mostly given to men. Also having faith to promise their first and only child, can be hard to comprehend during a time when children were heirs to the family name, traditions and material possessions. Such a devotion can only be understood by moving through the unknowns of faith. Saints Joachim and Ann may not have fully known the greatness Mary was going to bring to humankind. However, they prepared the way by being ready and helping Mary to be ready.

It can be hard to connect to an understanding of the unknowns of faith in our current lifetime with so many certainties offered through new discoveries and science. Faith is not something that is found or developed. Faith is like grace, it is something we choose accept. For example, we did not understand how our Baptism would connect us to eternal life, but we had faith that we would come to know that meaning. Faith is doing something beyond our imagination or known ability, that ultimately connects us to salvation.

Mary demonstrated a human devotion and the ability to transcend our faith, whichever spiritual practices we have. It was her faith as a young Jewish woman accepting a call when the Angel Gabriel came to her. She was not afraid, even without clear understanding of what her actions meant for herself and our world. Though, Mary did not get to this place on her own, it was the example set by her parents, Joachim and Ann, that helped her to be prepared to teach Jesus, that going to the outcasts of society is where faith and hope can be found.

It is perhaps that very courage that she demonstrated, as to why there are more apparitions of Mary than any other saint. That we can see in ourselves in the real possibility to understand faith, grace, mercy and love. These very possibilities are what leads us, to know we are able to do great things through faith. As Saint Louise Marie de Montfort, in his book True Devotion of Mary, says, “Mary is so full of love, that no one who asks for her intercession is rejected, no matter how sinful he may be”. It is Mary who could see, we are all of worth, it begins with our faith. A faith that can be found when we are vulnerable and open to love

It is love which fuels courage. This love is what Mary demonstrated by not running away when the Angel Gabriel came to her.(Luke 1:26:33) Her love for other people and for the gift which she was to bare for the world, took continual courage to remain open and on a faithful path. It took her life long dedication to God and devotional practice, to remain on the path of love, allowing the growth of love.

As the new calendar year is upon us and we are growing more aware of love surrounding us, we can set our intentions to learn ways to connect with our faith through Mary. It is the courage of a woman, with the demonstration of unconditional love and of service toward God, that brought us Jesus. We do not know when or how God will call us to act upon our faith and beliefs. That is faith. It is part of the mystery of faith that we know something to be true, even if we do not fully understand.

May each new beginning, hold the courage to stand like Mary. To not be afraid to stand out apart from the majority, by loving others as much as Joachim and Ann, offering unheard of opportunities to Mary. Such a connection, helps us set aside fears, to fully understand love present in devotion to God. We first are asked to be ready to say yes to God and the mercy of God in our life. That devotion to mercy, is our love that continues when we die. Love is our eternal life. Our eternal life comes when we have loved outwardly and loved greatly.

Musings in December 2017

Much of our life is lived in the past, which often catapults us into anxiety of an unknown future, based on what we know in the past. If the past seems bleak, the future will seem more so, which leaves the present not having a chance. Our past invades our present in such common ways, we often do not recognize, it is the past.

The past creeps in when we read the newspaper of events that have already happened and most television programs are recorded. Then while sharing conversations with people, we catch up after days and weeks have passed by since we last saw one another. It is usually after we catch up about happenings and feelings, that we return to the present, maybe dabbling into the future. This is the ebb and flow of going, from the past to the present, then to the future and so on. Flowing in and out, as our breath moves through and around our bodies.

This perhaps is the reason our breath is used most often to connect us to the present moment. Our breath enters and exits our body, usually without us even thinking about the process. If we focus our intention on our breath, the rising and lowering of our abdomen, soon as we inhale and exhale our breath, we can begin notice a softening in soften our bellies. This allows the focus to be in the present moment, “I am breathing in. I am breathing out”. There can be impromptu moments when we notice our breath coming and going, just as there can be moments when we set aside time to be in the present as we breathe.

Similarly as we notice our breath, we can notice the seasons coming and going. One preparing for the next as cycles continue. The season we are in now, is preparing us to embrace winter. The season of advent, holds the possibility for us to become stuck in the past. The idea of the oncoming cold and darkness can be intimidating. Our breathing can be hurried, labored and even shallow, as we move through the weeks leading to Christmas and a new calendar year. There is often the sense to overcoming of past holiday hurts, the holidays with limitations, to recreate the perfect holiday or maybe a somber noticing of people who have left our circles. There is so much nostalgia with the holiday seasons, that we see people busying themselves, almost in a way to leap into the future, while holding tight to the past, often missing the beauty we have right now.

All of this, can make it easy for us to lose sight of the seasons as we ebb from autumn and flow into winter. The season of Advent offers the reminders of hope, joy, peace, love and the light that already exists inside of us, as we move into the darkness of winter. There is a purposeful action in these days and weeks, whether we are lighting a Menorah, Yule Log or Advent Wreath. Each offers an active reminder of our light, when times ahead can look dim. We can see tangibly, that we have the ability to activate our light and connect to our breath in prayer.

Our breath can help fuel that light, just as a bellows fuels a fire. It is the action to the awareness of our own ability to carry light. We have light, even if someone is there to help us until we can hold our own light. Returning to our breath and finding ways to nurture our spiritual path is always fruitful, whether through meditation, Centering Prayer or Spiritual Direction. Each allows us to set aside time in our schedule, giving permission to focus on our present moment. Our present moment allows us to be fully engaged, breathing in and breathing out life, flowing freely and gently through our days. Holding the awareness of a constantly shifting tide, as our light brightens with each breath.

Saint Juan Diego Pray for Us

Or Saint Juan Diego, in appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe, you, a humble present, or chosen as Her messenger. Your faithfulness in the task is evident still today. In the miraculous image the Virgin left upon your tilma. Intercede for me, I pray, that I might have your childlike trust in the Mother of God, and that my heart might respond to her maternal promptings. Through such simple confidence, obedience, and love, may I join you one day in sharing everlasting joy, where our heavenly Mother reigns in the glory of her son. Amen

*Image and prayer gathered from a prayer card available from Catholic Company online.

Saint Juan Diego December Saint of the Month

Saint Juan Diego


Feast Day December 9

Patron Saint: Indigenous People,

Beatified in 1990 and Canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II

Saint Juan Diego was born in 1474, given the name Cuauhtlatoatzin and is the first indigenous American saint to be canonized. It is important to know, that not all canonized saints are cloistered men and women living a monastic life. While, some saints are laypeople within parishes, with faith of some form which enables the. To become canonized saints. This is the case for the saint of the month for December, who was not a monk, but a weaver and farmer.

He was not born into his faith, he would have been approximately fifty years old, when the Franciscan Missionaries arrived in what is today Mexico City, Mexico. He and his wife Maria, were some of the first to be Baptized in 1524.

His wife had died before he saw his first apparition of Mother Mary in 1532, on his way to the Franciscan Mission for mass. It was on Tepeyac Hill, where she asked him to tell the Bishop to build a shrine in the spot where she appeared. The Bishop, did not believe him. Probably at that time it was unknown that apparitions of the Blessed Mother Mary happen more frequently than any canonized saint and have been reported since A.D. 40.

An apparition is usually a term used in reference to sighting of Mary. Over 20 thousand apparitions of Mary, some include healing and some have been seen by large groups. There are different types of apparitions, not all offer a message and not all apparitions are seen by faithful Christians. The multiple apparitions, has resulted in many names being assigned to Mary, often in reference to the sighting location, such as Our Lady of Lourdes or Our Lady of Fatima. The apparition that Saint Juan Diego saw, became Our Lady of Guadeloupe, whose feast day is on December 12. The image used in reference to Our Lady Guadalupe is the image that was on the tilma that Saint Juan Diego wore when he offered proof of roses to the Bishop.

Image of Out Lady Guadalupe on St. Juan Diego's tilma in the public domain

The proof that Saint Juan Diego thought he was providing was roses that Mary provided and he collected from the hill where Mary asked a shrine to be built. When he showed the Bishop the roses, the image of Our Lady Guadalupe had appeared. His tilma with the image of Our Lady Guadalupe is displayed today in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The basilica is round so that the image can be seen from anywhere within the basilica and is second only to Saint Peters Basilica as a  pilgrimage sight.

There are some discrepancies as to whether or not Saint Juan Diego ever existed, which has been met with a lot of discussion and speculation. There are even speculations about the second miracle attributed to him for canonization. The same skepticism has happened with other spiritual figures and even sacred sights, putting into question the validity of the actual place or people. Some of the speculation is based on the fact that Saint Juan Diego, was not someone in a monastery or having an education seen as worthy to experience Mother Mary. Perhaps, it has been forgotten by some, that Jesus did not gather disciples who had already been theologically educated, but people who were of faith and held the courage to walk with Jesus.

In this day and age, we can lose sight of our faith in seeking scientific facts. We forget that it is the faith of Mary, saying yes and believing in something that was not concrete and did not happen in every day life, that brought us to our faith today. Though science can offer proof and aid us, it also can lead us to doubt parts of our faith. This is one of those times, it comes down to our personal faith, where we want to put our energies and what feels right in our hearts.

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