Missionaries who first came to Mexico with the conquistadors had little success in the beginning.
After nearly a generation, only a few hundred Native Mexicans had converted to the Christian faith.
Within a short time, six million Native Mexicans had themselves baptized as Christians
* The Significance of Juan Diego's Tilma
In the Indian cultures of that time, the tilma was the exterior expression of the innermost identity of the person. By being visible on Juan Diego's tilma, Mary became imprinted in the deepest recesses of his heart -- and in the hearts of all who come to her. Our Lady of Guadalupe is not simply an image on the tilma, as miraculous as this is. She has become part her children's innermost identity.
- The first point is that God has chosen Mary to lead us to Jesus. No matter what critics may say of the devotion of Mexicans (and Mexican descendants) to Our Lady of Guadalupe, they owe their Christianity to her influence. If it were not for her, they would not know her son, and so they are eternally grateful.
- The second point we take from Mary herself. Mary appeared to Juan Diego not as a European madonna but as a beautiful Aztec princess speaking to him in his own Aztec language. If we want to help someone appreciate the gospel we bring, we must appreciate the culture and the mentality in which they live their lives. By understanding them, we can help them to understand and know Christ. Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of the Americas and patroness of the unborn.