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The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
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The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church, a minor basilica, and a National Shrine of Mexico to the north of Mexico City. It is one of the most important and most visited pilgrimage sites in Catholicism. The Basilica is visited by millions of people every year, especially around December 12, the Feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Shrine was built near the hill of Tepeyac where Our Lady of Guadalupe is believed to have appeared to Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. This site is also known as La Villa de Guadalupe, or more popularly La Villa.
The basilica was originally built as a small chapel, on the site of a sacred site devoted to an Aztec mother goddess, Tonantzin, which was destroyed by Spanish conquerors.
Uninterrupted pilgrimages were made to the shrine since 1531-32. In the latter year, a shrine was constructed at the foot of Tepeyac Hill, which served the people for ninety years. In 1622, a rich shrine was erected, replaced again in 1709. Other structures from the eighteenth century which were connected included a parish church, a convent and church for Capuchin nuns, a well chapel and a hill chapel.
In 1750 the shrine received the title of collegiate, and a canonry and choir service were established. In 1754 it was aggregated to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and in 1904 the site was designated a basilica.
The basilica housed the original cloak of Juan Diego, which holds the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, from 1709 to 1974. In 1921 a bomb planted in a flower vase near the altar by an anticlerical activist exploded, causing great damage to the interior of the building. Miraculously the cloak survived largely undamaged.
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