Less the one hour before midnight on December 11, 2013 I am seating on my couch watching La Mananitas a La Virgen de Guadalupe on Univison. I have been watching Las Mananitas for at least the last 12 years. I remember the first time I found out about the 2 hour long program, I was excited. I made sure to get my VCR ready to record the live event to add to my collection of videos. To my surprise, my grandma told me that Las Mananitas comes on every year on the eve of Guadalupe’s feast day. I was extremely excited to be able to witness the beautiful songs that were being shared by many individuals at the Basilica. I made a promise to myself to one day go visit Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe at her Basilica.
As far back as I can remember I have had a great devotion for La Virgen Morena. It wasn’t till some time in my later years in high school that I was given an article that talked about the images within the image of Guadalupe. I became extremely interested in the secrets that where hidden in plain sight. The advent of home based internet had become a reality in Cordova. I spent hours searching for more information about the image of Guadalupe and found the account of her appreciation in Spanish, English and Nauha. I was in heaven. I was learning about an image that has been around 471 years. Today it’s been 482 years since the appreciations took place. I spent a lot of time researching her image and learning about her Catholic meaning only to find that there is a meaning that is older then what I had ever imagined.
Though all this background is great to discuss with you, I want to get to the real reason for this blog post. This post is to give honor to La Guadalupana for all she has done for me with her intercessional prayers during some difficult times in my life.
My connection and deeping devotions to la Guadalupana began in the summer of 2005, I found out earlier that year that I was going to become a father for the first time. I was not prepared to be a father. I had no home, no stability; I was still in college and living a fairly free life style. Well, as we all know life happens and bam I am going to be a father. Not many people know this, but I had a difficult time accepting the reality of parenthood. In July of 2005 I made a trip from Juarez, Mx to the Federal District in Mexico City, Mx. I was part of a group of about 20 total, including the instructors. Every city or village we stopped between Juarez and Mexico City I visited every church I could offering prayers. Searching for answers to my soon to be role in this world, a father. We arrived in Mexico and we visited the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, I visited as many churches and chapels within the grounds. At the end our time there I had found peace of heart and mind that I would be a great father to my soon to be born child. I visit and took a few pictures as a reminder of my trip and the esperanza I had found being in the home of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. I returned home full of esperanza and I haven’t turned back since. I am now the father of two beautiful daughters, Esperanza and Isabella. Both sleep under a blanket with the image of La Guadalupana. My faith in her intercession is as deep as my roots in my home town of Cordova.
Since my visit to the Basilica, my increased interest in photography and my new interest in poetry I have photographed many murals, statues and other images of Guadalupe. My first poem about Guadalupe I wrote while I was in El Paso during a week of field work with my master’s program. I was a student at New Mexico Highlands University. This poem reflects how Our Morenita is always with us. How she is always just around the corn and available to use for prayer and guidance.
A few years ago El Santuario de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe had a statue erected in front of the Santuario. I remembered that when the statue was being brought over from Mexico it was held up by customs. It was held for a few days or weeks. I don’t remember the exact time. I wrote poem to reflect that La Guadalupana was with her children, always. She became a victim of the border injustices that many of our people are facing daily. This poem reflects on how La Guadalupana accompanies her children though their tribulations.
In 2012 I took Amanda to celebrate her birthday in Alburquerque. We met up with our friend Ruzita while we were there. Ruzita took us to see a carving of La Guadalupana made by her father many years ago. This is a beautiful image and profession of faith. It was an honor to have been able to see this great image. The devotion and faith that went in to create this image was increditable. I was humbled by the great faith and work that went into creating this image.
This was a sad year for my family. My Tio Onivas passed away. He was one of the most faithful children of La Guadalupana. He would sing her song almost daily. He would sing at the top of his lungs and he could care less what anyone thought. His faith and devotion was deep in his heart and soul. One of his last wishes was that an image of La Guadalupana be painted on his casket, he asked local tattoo artist, Johnny Baca to paint the image for him. Johnny honored my Tio’s request, but instead of painting her image he used a wood burning. I know my Tio was happy with the work Johnny created for his casket.
The last few months I have been busy at work and not put time aside to write poetry, but I do take the time to photograph any image I find of La Guadalupana. I have created an extensive collection of images of Guadalupe. I know she is with me daily because she makes her presence known when I least expect it. For example, I took Amanda to see Ozomatli in concert for her birthday. As we are traveling south on 2nd street on our way to have dinner at El Paisa with our friend Andrea I spot a two murals with La Guadalupana. The next day I make a trip to photograph the image. It was a beautiful mural. During that same trip we went to Santa Fe and visited the Santuario of Guadalupe at night. I took some great photos and a poem soon came to me. This was the first time I had see this statue at night and it was a powerful view. Again, I knew that Guadalupe would be by my side no matter what I was going though.
In this blog I have provided links to my poems and images of Guadalupe. I hope she inspires your to create beautiful poetry, that she guild you in times of need and give you hope in good and bad times. My devotion is deep and I wanted to share a small piece of my faith with you on the eve of her feast as the night moves toward her feast day. I hope you have enjoyed the poems and images. Please share your stories on the comment section of this blog!
Here are a few more images for your devotion and prayers.