The story told in this film is the story that happened to Juan Diego on December 9, 1531 at the hill of Tepeyac, Mexico, at the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. It’s one of miracles, healings, and the foundation of the fastest growing religious movement of that time, 9 million conversions in 7 years. Following the apparitions of Guadalupe, there were much speculations as to the veracity of these events, a rift in the church, then a spread of religion that happened so fast and so completely that believers in the mother Quadalupe is now common place in most of South America and the symbol of the Mexican Catholic Church.
In this drama, two scientists combine efforts to dig up possible artifacts and clues from the past that will better clarify the events that transpired that December in 1531. In order to sift fact from fiction, backed by a grant, they go to study this phenomenon. Though they go to find hard facts, they actually find that their hearts are moved by the stories they discover. As the story goes, Juan Diego was visited by an angelic being, which spoke to him and identified herself as belonging to the very true deity. This was his first encounter. Juan later went to Fray Juan de Zumarraga and told his story, but Juan didn’t believe him. Juan Diego went back to the hill and saw another apparition and she told him to keep asking him to believe him. Going back a second time, the fray told him to ask for a sign from this apparition to prove who she said she was. That same day he goes back to the hill and she appears to him assuring him that it will happen. The sun rises on the third day since he first started seeing this being on the hill, and he gets word that his uncle is so sick, that he may be near death. He goes to him, but on his way, the woman again appears to him and asks where he’s going. Juan Diego explains and she replies with a famous saying, Am I not your mother, and aren’t I here with you? After assuring him of his uncles’ recovery, and upon her instructions for gathering flowers that were in the area, Juan Diego went to the fray and reported what happened. The flowers were stored up in his cloak but when he opened it and the flowers fell, they fell revealing the image of Guadalupe.
In times past there had been barbaric images and recent vicious wars played out within the country. This was a much more soothing idea and image than the rest, and was a welcome reprieve. In place of victimization and images that portrayed cycles of violence, here came an image of a caring mother.
There are critics for sure of these progressions of events, the most troubling one being the miraculous fabric that showed the Lady Guadalupe. I suppose before asking the “how could that have even happened” I must admit, that’s why it may be called a miracle.
The director shared that in the making of this story great lengths were taken to make sure the events of the story were told accurately. He worked closely and diligently with clergymen in Mexico as well as collaborating with the Institute of Guadalupan Studies. Avoiding error and mistakes in this retelling was a top priority for director Santiago Parra. The Cardinal of Mexico City has endorsed this movie praising the creators for putting such a film in close reach to the public.
Whether one is able to study the archaeological facts or disprove the story of Juan Diego, one thing cannot be ignored, the significance this story has had on Catholic culture the world over. The Mexican Catholic Church has adopted her as their official symbol, millions of people visit the Church of Guadalupe in Mexico City, praying to her, asking her to pray for them. It has created a movement of unity, a common point of interest over an entire continent. That is not easily performed, and some would say it is because it was an act of God that it succeeded like this. The story’s authenticity aside, when you start talking about the mother of Guadalupe you are cutting to one of the cores of Mexican culture. A bond of belief that I think most Mexican Catholics would agree on having.
This film is for anyone who is curious about the Lady Guadalupe, whether they know much about her, or have just learned of her and want to know more. This is a good Christian family film that hones in on a cultural centerpiece that may not be your own, but is immensely beneficial to watch nonetheless.
Guadalupe was released December 8, 2006 by Dos Corazones Films. It was directed by Santiago Parra and written by Roberto Girault, Alfonso Gutierrez, and Adrian Posse. This film was rated PG for mature discussions. It received 6.1 stars out of 10 from IMDb.com.