After spending hours in the night preparing Christmas gifts for my family, I was too keyed up to manage to fall asleep. Nothing brings peace better than reading about Our Lady, and all the marvelous visits She has made to comfort and strengthen Her children.
Last night, I read about one apparition that happens to be close in time to the apparition of our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico city (which was commemorated with the Feast day that just went by, December 12). I often open up books at random, since I’m usually only able to read a few lines before someone pulls me away. I did so with the book “See How She Loves Us“, an absolute treasure written by Joan Carroll Cruz, and I came to this particular apparition. It is referred to as our Lady of the Burning Ocote, and also simply our Lady of Ocotlan.
With Her usual irresistible charm and originality, our Lady appeared to an Indian man, also called Juan Diego like the man who saw our Lady of Guadalupe, on his way to fetch water for his relatives. They were, together with the inhabitants of the town of Tlaxcala, suffering a devastating epidemic of smallpox. She stood among some trees and shocked Juan with Her beauty. She said, “May God preserve you, my son. Where are you going?” When Juan told Her that he was fetching water for his dying family She guided him to a hidden spring, saying to him,
Come with me and I will give you water to cure the disease. It will cure not only your family, but all who drink of it. My heart is ever ready to help those who are ill, for I cannot bear to see their misfortune.
When Juan filled his jug with the miraculous water, the Lady told him to go to the Franciscan at the Monastery of San Lorenzo:
Tell the religious for me that in this place they will find my image. It will not only manifest my perfections, but through it I shall generously bestow favors and kindness. When they find the image they are to place it in the chapel of San Lorenzo.
When Juan, together with the friars, returned to the trees where Juan had seen the Lady, the trees were on fire. Since they could not do anything to stop the fire, they went away and returned the next day. The abbot instructed one of the friars to cut down the largest of the trees. When he did, they found a statue of our Lady hidden within the tree. She was taken with great ceremony to the chapel and placed there, where She remains.