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Archived Online Discussion
Topic: Our Lady of Guadalupe: History and Meaning of the Apparition
Date: 5-6 pm (ET)
on Thursday, December 20, 2007
Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight
Carl A. Anderson:
Thank you all for joining us this evening as we discuss Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Wheeling, WV
I enjoyed this book, and I understand that there is another book on Our Lady of Guadalupe by Fr. Eduardo Chavez, whom the Knights have speaking throughout the United States. What is the title of that book, and how can I get it?
Carl A. Anderson:
I am glad you enjoyed this book. The title of the other book you reference by Fr. Eduardo Chavez is "Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego: The Historical Evidence." You can purchase it from several of the large online booksellers.

Tony Genco, Deputy Grand Knight
Woodbridge, Ontario Canada Council 13630
What is the most important lesson we can learn from the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe?
Carl A. Anderson:
First of all, the most important lesson is hard to say. Clearly, the central message is that Our Lady intercedes for us. Her apparition was a direct intercession on behalf of an entire continet, and at the same time an intercession for one humble Native American. So we might say that she intercedes for each of us and for all of us collectively, and that her intercession changes the history of mankind as well as the history of single individuals.

Tucumcari, NM
In America and Columbia magazines, you wrote about the unifying force of Our Lady of Guadalupe for this hemisphere. Could you please explain your vision for a hemisphere united by her?
Carl A. Anderson:
We have to take to heart what Our Lady emphasizes: that we are all brothers and sisters in her son, and as Benedict XVI said in Deus Caritas Est, the Church is a family. This family like all families must transcend borders, so we have to begin to take seriously how we help and care for all the members of our family.

Tucson, AZ
What can we as lay people learn from Juan Diego?
Carl A. Anderson:
Faith and courage. Moreover, it is notable that this simple lay man was able to help with the largest conversion in human history by following what Our Lady told him to do. Each of us in living out our vocation can have an influence on our world by our example and we should be very much aware of that.

Arlington, VA
I read that you dedicated your time as Supreme Knight to Our Lady of Guadalupe. What inspired you to do this?
Carl A. Anderson:
She is the mother of the Americas, and it is in the Americas that the Knights of Columbus was born. She is also the Philippines, so it seemed to me both natural and obvious to choose her. She is also venerated by many in the pro-life movement, so it really wasn't a hard decision.

Joe H.
Liberal, KS
I read in the October Columbia that the Order is planning an international Marian congress in 2009 in Phoenix. What will that entail? Can anyone attend?
Carl A. Anderson:
It will be a two day celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe with Masses, lectures, workshops and will conclude with a great living rosary. We welcome your attendance, and more information will be forthcoming on our website and in Columbia magazine.

Garrett Langdale
Clinton, CT, USA
If the apparition took place in Mexico, what significance does Our Lady of Guadalupe have for North Americans?
Carl A. Anderson:
First of all, Mexico is part of North Amrerica, New Spain at the time ranged from Seattle to Central America and included the Philippines. It is no accident that she was proclaimed Empress of the Americas by Pope Pius XII in 1945.

Shelley Roberts
St. Louis, Mo.
Our Lady appeared in Mexico nearly 500 years ago, and more recently at Lourdes and at Fatima. Do you or does the Church see any unifying message from Our Lady in these apparitions?
Carl A. Anderson:
There are three themes that I think can be easily seen. In each apparition, Mary leads us to her son. Second, and closely related, she leads us to deeper prayer. Third, as we see in each of these apparitions, and in others, she calls us to conversion.

What do you believe is the best argument in support of the authenticity of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe? What most convinces you that this story is real?
Carl A. Anderson:
I think the evidence is overwhelming, including the canonization of St. Juan Diego, and all the historical work and evidence that was presented as a part of that process. References to Our Lady of Guadalupe go back to the mid 1500s in Mexico, and Juan Diego's role is also very well attested from a very early time.

College Park, Md.
It seems Mexicans, and Hispanic Americans, have embraced devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, but not Anglo Americans. Why? Her apparition was very distinct to this part of the world.
Carl A. Anderson:
Certainly devotion is identified with Mexico in a way that it is impossible to think of Mexico separated from Our Lady of Guadalupe. But devotion to her in the United States among those of us who are not Hispanic is also significant. A shrine is being built to her in Wisconsin, and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York features a prominent portrait of her to the right of the altar. I think there are many non-Hispanics who have embraced Our Lady of Guadalupe as their mother. After all, there are not different Marys, what is important is her message.

Jed Rampe
White Plains, NY, USA
Does the ethnicity of Mary’s face mean it is not a true likeness of the historical Mary? How early did people recognize the ethnicity of Mary's face on the tilma, and what were the original reactions?
Carl A. Anderson:
Well, we will have to wait to know for sure, but the Indians immediately accepted her as one of their own with a message for them. It is clear that they did not see this as a message coming from their Spanish conquerors.

Tony Genco, Deputy Grand Knight
Woodbridge, Ontario Canada Council 13630
Can you comment on why you think this moment was chosen by Our Lady of Guadelupe to make her message known? Was the impact that which she would have wanted in your opinion?
Carl A. Anderson:
Shortly before her apparition, Bishop Zumarraga wrote to Emperor Charles V that if God did not intervene directly New Spain would be lost and with it any chance to evangelize an entire hemisphere. In addition, it is remarkable that at the same time that millions were losing their faith in Europe, millions more were being converted in the New World.

Dallas, TX
Some take the wide and enthusiastic devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe as evidence of a living, vibrant faith in the Americas; but isn't it true that many who pray to the Virgin don't even know the doctrine of the Trinity? How are we to guage the real meaning of the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe when it seems to supplant, for many, the fundamentals of the faith?
Carl A. Anderson:
You have to start somewhere. Its not a question of supplanting, its a question of adding. Is this not really a question for those of us who have the responsibilty to provide greater education in the faith to those lacking it. Devotion to Our Lady provides a platform for further instruction in the faith for a population which lacks many of the advantages in education that we take for granted.

New Rochelle, NY
Why do you think there is so much historical controversy about the apparition to Juan Diego?
Carl A. Anderson:
There has always been a certain controversy regarding all apparitions of Mary, so that issue is nothing new. What is new, is the intense pressure of atheism and secularization for more than a century to drive Christianity out of the life of nations. Imagine the future of Catholicism in Mexico if Our Lady of Guadalupe had been able to be discredited.

John Rush
Charles Town, W.V., USA
What can Knights in their local councils and assemblies do to spread devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe?
Carl A. Anderson:
Each Knight can take Our Lady of Guadalupe as his own spiritual mother, and I would encourage as many as can come to be with us in Phoenix for the Marian Congress in 2009.

Bill Briere
Laramie, Wyoming
During a visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, John Paul the Great announced that he was placing the prolife cause under the protection of the basilica's namesake. With that cause in mind, I'm sure the Knights of Columbus will play a key role in the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the apparitions, sneaking up on us in less than 25 years. Maybe a supreme convention and Marian congress in Mexico City in 2031?
Carl A. Anderson:
Sounds good to me, but I will defer that question to my successor.

Stubenville, OH, USA
Why the request for a church?
Carl A. Anderson:
I wouldn't want to presume to speak for Our Lady, but it certainly seems that a church was a good idea, considering that this shrine is now the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world with tens of millions of pilgrims each year.

Peter K.
Chicago, IL, USA
I believe I read recently that the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadulupe is receiving record numbers of pilgrims. Is there a renewal in devotion to her, and interest in her apparitions there? If so, why do you think that is?
Carl A. Anderson:
Yes, there is certainly a renewal of devotion to her, and this is in part the legacy of John Paul II, who had such a great devotion to and encouraged a renewed devotion to Our Lady, as well as canonized Juan Diego.

I heard that OL of Guadalupe has a waistband that means she is pregnant in Aztec culture. Is that true?
Carl A. Anderson:
Yes, the black ribbon is an indication of that.

Paul Konieczkowski
Hamilton, New Jersey
Is this the first confirmed apparition of Mary in which she is shown pregnant? What is the significance of her being pregnant in the image (moral, theological, etc)?
Carl A. Anderson:
It certainly is the first major apparition to depict her as pregnant. For the significance of the imagery, I would direct you to Fr. Eduardo Chavez, who has written extensively on this.

Carl A. Anderson:
Thank you for your participation in today's discussion on 'Our Lady of Guadalupe: History and Meaning of the Apparition.' Please join us on Jan. 24 for our discussion on 'Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI.'

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