Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
Luis Efren Aguilar
The Virgin of Guadalupe is recognized as a symbol of all Catholic Mexicans and “Nuestra Morenita’s” brown appearance speaks to the mestizaje or mixedness of a new culture in the Americas, part native and part European. “La Virgen Guadalupana” is a celebrated Roman Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary and is considered by many the Patroness of the Americas. Like many other Catholics, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe speaks to us about the strong connection she has with her “children” and her “pueblo.” La Virgen has been part of my life since I was a child and she continues to be someone I can always pray to and have faith in. The knowledge I have gained here at Santa Clara University has allowed me to have a deeper understanding of Nuestra Morenita. Professor Ana Maria Pineda is someone I can definitely thank for teaching me about La Virgen, because her courses revolve around La Virgen and the history and symbolism attached to La Virgen de Tepeyac. The Virgin of Guadalupe has been accompanying me in my path in life and she has shown me that she will always be with me in the best and worst of times.
As a young child I had always been taught to pray to La Virgen to guide me in the right direction and to always be my protector. La Virgen was someone I could reach out to in times of both joy and sadness and she always helps me realize how blessed I am. Although I had never really been in a situation of high stress and fear, La Virgen was with me and my family when we found out my mother had been diagnosed with cancer. This was a very difficult moment in my life because it was just weeks before I started my first year in college, and I was uncertain about what was to come, both for my family and myself. After much time of prayer and reflection I knew that the best decision would be to continue my dreams of attending college because this was something my mother had always hoped I would accomplish. My first three years at Santa Clara were great, yet I always continued to fear the worst for my mother. What kept me motivated and at peace with myself was the fact that my mother was being well taken care of and that I had a great support group here on campus. Not only did I have friends and professors who showed support and love, but I always knew La Virgen de Guadalupe was with me in my struggles.
It is not easy for me to talk about my personal life to others, but I chose to write this piece, because I believe La Virgen de Guadalupe performed a divine act, which I will never forget. On January 12, 2012, I received a phone call from my sister telling me how my mother had taken a turn for the worse. I was uncertain of what to do or even what to think about it, especially because I had planned to take a retreat with the Christian Life Community (CLC) just a day later. I was unsure of the severity of my mother’s condition and I did not know if I should plan to drive back home to Pasadena that weekend. That afternoon I went to the Mission Church and prayed before the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe and asked her to give me strength and to allow me to make the best decision. After much reflection and prayer that day I knew La Virgen was telling me to head home and be with my mother and all I could ask La Virgen for was to give me the opportunity to see my mother once again. All I could say is that I am blessed to have had the chance to spend one last day by the side of my mother talking about our family and dreams before she passed away on January 15, 2012. I am forever in debt to La Virgen for continuing to give me the strength, wisdom, health, and faith I have today. This piece does not do justice for how much I love La Virgen, but I hope this story can help others realize how faith and hope can help when they too face a difficult challenge in their life.
Luis Efren Aguilar is a senior psychology major who aspires to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology. If you run into him right now you might see a GRE study book under his arm. In his spare time he works out, follows soccer, and has a soft spot in his heart for the LA Dodgers.