A Pilgrim's Journey

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In Mexico City at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, many worshipers crawl to the altar of Our Lady on their knees. The shrine of the Black Madonna is expansive. Elaborate gardens and the spacious plaza encircle the half-dozen older churches and the modern basilica. The trek for the worshipers stretches the equivalent of several city blocks: from the iron gate that separates the shrine from the vendors on the city street, across the worn stones of the plaza filled with tourists, then into the basilica that beckons with seven doorways. Inside the space is open and airy and all aisles lead to the altar. Behind the altar, beneath the cross, suspended on a wooden pillar, enclosed in a brocaded golden frame and covered with glass is their destination. The tilma (cloak) with the imprint of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Black Madonna. Her dark skinned beauty is wrapped in a turquoise mantle and surrounded by a golden aura.

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