Stephanie Ledezma is a Cohort 8 Seton Teaching Fellow working with the Operations team at Brilla Caritas Elementary School in the North Bronx. She is an alumna of the University of Dallas, where she studied Psychology with concentrations in Spanish and Human & Social Studies. In this post, Stephanie reflects on the way that Our Lady of Guadalupe has been of particular devotion in her personal life as a Mexican-American woman and missionary.
Growing up in a Mexican-American household, I was accustomed to seeing images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and asking “La Virgencita” to intercede for us. I didn’t realize the importance that Our Lady of Guadalupe had in my life until much later when I learned about Mary in high school. I learned about various apparitions she made throughout history and how she always encouraged the people to come back to her son, Jesus.
In particular, her apparition to Juan Diego and her motherly love towards him was something that moved my heart. She appeared to him and asked Juan Diego to trust her intercession. Through that encounter, Juan Diego’s sick uncle was healed, and the rise of the Christian faith in the Americas began. For many years I knew this story intellectually, but finally I felt Our Lady tugging at my heart, urging me to come closer to her and trust that she will intercede for me. She not only represented the Catholic faith and Mexican identity, two of the most important aspects of my life, but I felt such comfort asking for her intercession. Remembering the immense love my earthly mother has for me, I could not fathom how much love our spiritual mother has for me.This allowed for me to know her love for each and every one of us in a deeper, more spiritual way.
My personal connection to Our Lady, in addition to her prominence in the Americas and especially among the Mexican community, has given me great comfort knowing she has my back and will always guide me back to her son. Asking for Our Lady of Guadalupe’s intercession is what keeps me grounded in my faith when there are big changes or difficult situations. Even more, she is a source of joy for me because I know La Virgencita takes delight in our joys as well.