Sister Maria celebrates feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today the church celebrates the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn and the Americas.

Sister Maria Guadalupe RSM is a member of the Sisters of Mercy and hails from Indiana in the US. She is of Mexican-American heritage and her current assignment is in Edinburgh.

She received the name Maria Guadalupe upon entering the novitiate.

She said: "Today in Mexico and across all the Americas we celebrate this feast in which Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego in 1531.

"He was an Indian convert and she asked him to go to the local Bishop and request that a church be built on top of Tepeyac Hill where previously a pagan temple stood in which human sacrifices once took place. In this encounter she revealed herself as our merciful mother and the Mother of God.

"With a new church she promised to show all her love, compassion, aid and defence to all who love her. The story ends with Our Lady being forever with us in leaving her image on Juan Diego's Tilma, a garment that should have disintegrated within 10 years but is still intact and in perfect condition in her basilica today in Mexico City.

"As 15 million Catholics left the church during the Reformation, at the same time in the New World it is estimated that 15 million natives entered the Church, after being converted after seeing her image. It reveals Our Lady as an evangelist, as one who desires to bring people closer to her Son."