Rio Madre: Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

An altar celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe (Photo credit: Rebecca Hall)

By Melanie P. Moore and Judy Beene Myers

The Feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated this week, December 12. Here at The Abbey, we’re sharing poems from Austin poet Judy Beene Myers. Below the poems is information about a special Eucharist at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin on Sunday, Dec. 17, followed by a brief history of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a link to explore further.

Mi Amigas

Mother Mary,
Kuan Yin,
you welcome me into day,

Mi madres,
My sisters,
My friends.

I travel
through clouds
and stars
to find you.

You walk toward me,
dark virgins,
clothed in Earth’s skin.

We meet on the path,
Maria y Senora de Guadalupe,
walking hand in hand
with one manifested
as she who hears
the cries of the world.

Together you come
to teach me.
I listen.
I learn
I abide.

Rio Madre

I am
cowgirl, rope thrower,
singer with sisters
serenading beneath stars,
camping by your side,

Guadalupe, Rio Madre
river of my childhood,
I am you.

Strong woman in blue jeans,
feeding cows, drawing water
in the bucket clanking up
from the well.

They said to me,
“Where is your dress,
your make-up, your lipstick?
Where is your party invitation?

I turned away, Guadalupe,
my river, Rio Madre.

I turned instead
to your clear depths.

I glide with you, in you
over water-washed stones
forgetting what is asked of me
or expected.

my river,
Rio Madre,

I only desire
to know you,
to be you,
the river,
the flow.

Holy Eucharist Honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe

At 9 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17, the Hispanic ministry at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin, TX, offers a Holy Eucharist, Rite II worship service honoring the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe with roses, blessings, and special Mariachi music. This service will be livestreamed. Those attending in person are invited to join parishoners after the service in Sumners Hall for hot chocolate, churros and more festive music.

Brief History of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patron Saint of Mexico, was granted a feast day in 1754 by Pope Benedict XIV. The story is that Juan Diego, an Aztec convert to Christianity following the conquest of Mexico by Spain, was walking on Tepeyac Hill (now a suburb of Mexico City) when the Virgin Mary appeared to him and requested a shrine to her be built on the spot where she appeared. When Diego asked the local bishop to build the shrine, the bishop demanded proof. Meanwhile, Diego’s uncle had become very ill and was about to die. In an effort to avoid the Virgin Mary, Diego took a different route to see his uncle but she appeared to him on the different route, told him his uncle would be fine, and ordered him to collect roses (which some say were Catalonian roses, not native to Mexico). In a second visit to the bishop, Diego opened his cloak, roses fell to the floor, and the Virgin Mary appeared on the inside of his cloak.

More detail on the history of Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found here.

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3 Responses

  1. I love the poem and the detail about the Virgin of Guadalupe. Thank you both!
    Rivers are such rich venues for story telling. I wrote a book about a tributary of the Guadalupe titled the San Marcos: A River’s Story. tributary of the Guadalupe.

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