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  • She is the mother of millions. They come to her with countless petitions and prayers.

    To demonstrate their devotion, many crawl on their knees across the great square to the church where the cloak is on display. It is called the tilma, made of agave fiber that should not have lasted a decade, but is now four hundred years old. The image on that cloak is her gift to the people, to remind them of promises made on Tepeyac Hill in 1531.

    They lay their offerings at her feet: flowers, rosaries and small metal milagros. Their requests are tragic and real. Four centuries ago she promised to listen to the petitions of Indians exploited by the Spanish conquerors. They believed her words. Miraculous events followed.

    Now they wear her image on a gold chain around the neck.

    She is tattooed upon a shoulder or on the back for protection.

    She is airbrushed onto a low rider car. She hangs from a taxi mirror.

    Her picture leads their armies into battle.

    She is venerated in almost every home, a talisman of protection.

    The poor are her children, the forgotten, the weak and the sick call upon her aid.

    The old long to join her after death.

    Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Virgin Queen of Mexico, gratia plena.
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