Today, December 12, is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I have written columns about her for the U Matuna here and here.
But before there was a New World Our Lady of Guadalupe, there was an Old World Our Lady with the same name; and our own Lady of Kamalin, could very well be a copy.
In the 8th century, Christians fleeing the Muslim conquest of Spain, buried a statue of the Blessed Mother in an unmarked location on the banks of the Guadalupejo River.
It wasn't just any statue. Tradition held that the statue had been carved by St. Luke himself, who is thought to have personally spent time with the Mother of God (thus the details of the infancy narrative are only found in his Gospel).
Over the centuries the statue found its way to the private oratory of Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604), who gave it as a gift to the Bishop of Seville (Spain) where it was venerated until 711 A.D., when the Moors began to overrun the Iberian peninsula.
If Tradition here is accurate, then the statue, having been carved by St. Luke who personally knew the Mother of God, then the likeness is nothing other than the very likeness of Mary, herself. (While the statute is black, it is thought to have been blackened by age and its centuries-long burial.)
The Christian reconquest of Spain began in 1224, and in 1326, Our Lady is said to have appeared to a herdsman and revealed the statue’s location. The statue was entrusted to the Franciscans and a monastery was built on the spot which soon became the most celebrated shrine in Spain.
By 1492, the year, the Moors were said to have been fully expelled from Spain and Christianity restored, the shrine, so named Our Lady of Guadalupe because of the location of its discovery along the banks of the Guadalupejo River, had become one of the most venerated shrines in Spain.
Because of its popularity and what was believed to be the patronage of Our Lady in restoring Christian Spain, copies of the statue were made and brought aboard Spanish ships for protection.
One of those ships was thought to have sunk off the coast of Guam.
And you know the rest of the story.