Beginnings: Humble Devotion and A Traveling Statue
In Des Plaines, Illinois, stands the emblematic Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This sanctuary, esteemed globally, commenced from the most unassuming of roots. In 1987, Joaquín Martínez's pilgrimage to Mexico led him to bring a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe back to Chicago. Eager to spread the devotion, the statue toured numerous parishes, symbolizing the increasing reverence for Our Lady in the city.
Securing the Statue: The Inception of the Shrine
With the Marian Year, as proclaimed by Pope St. John Paul II, in the backdrop, the statue was blessed by Fr. Robert Harne in an open-air Mass at Lake Opeka Park in June 1987. As the statue's pilgrimage continued, Maryville Academy, under Fr. John P. Smyth's leadership, became its cherished home by 1988.
Creation of "El Cerrito": A Reflection of Mexico's Tepeyac Hill
December 12, 1995, marked the genesis of an outdoor shrine inspired by Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City. Aptly named "El Cerrito," this area became the prime devotional spot for the veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Further cementing international ties, a digital replica of Our Lady of Guadalupe's original image made its way to "El Cerrito" in 1996 - the first to travel internationally from the revered Basilica in Mexico.
Strengthening Ties: Bridging Mexico and Chicago
June 1997 witnessed a symbolic union as Msgr. Esteban Martínez and the Basilica Choir from Mexico named the site "Cerrito del Tepeyac de Chicago." During this profound ceremony, soil from the original Cerro del Tepeyac was merged with the Chicago site, strengthening spiritual bonds and echoing sentiments of unity.
Artistic Embellishments and Their Significance
2001 saw the installation of a replica of "The Offering" by AGD Mendoza. This magnificent sculpture, weighing over two tons, was a tribute from the Basilica of Mexico. Later, in 2008, "The Apostle's Cross" added further artistic magnificence to the shrine, encapsulating the visions of Mexican mystic Concepción Cabrera de Armida.
Evolving Leadership: Steadfast Devotion and Growth
Fr. Miguel Martínez Figueroa's appointment 2008 as the first Director marked the start of an era of robust leadership. Subsequent years saw the dedication of the shrine land, and in 2013, Cardinal George's declaration rechristened "Cerrito del Tepeyac" as the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Fr. Marco Mercado, its first Rector, zealously worked towards enhancing the shrine's facilities.
By 2013, it had gained international recognition as the second-most visited shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe worldwide. Subsequent leadership, from Most Rev. Blase J. Cupich to Fr. Esequiel Sanchez, has worked tirelessly to make the shrine a beacon of faith and devotion.
A Continuing Legacy: From the Past and Into the Future
Fr. Sanchez, with the Shrine's Council Members, heralded the construction of the Chapel of St. Joseph in 2017, showcasing continued development and reverence.
Today, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe thrives with life and spirituality. It stands as a testament to unwavering faith and the power of devotion, inviting everyone to join its inspiring journey.
For more information please visit https://www.solg.org/