It was the night of the 35th anniversary of the landing of Argentine military forces on the Falkland/Malvinas shores in 1982. I had been reading something in the web about the story of the Real Monasterio Santa María de Guadalupe, which is located in the town of the same name in Extremadura, Spain. The reading included some notes on the life of King Alfonso XI of Castile who was born on August 13, 1311 and died on March 26, 1350. He was called “El Justiciero” (Sp. avenger, dispenser of justice) and held the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile, Leon, and Galicia.
A winter night in Buenos Aires
You know I am a numbers guy … ever since I was a little boy I have been fascinated with numbers. I thought of that 35, half of 70. I thought on how much the Argentine political and social landscape was changed by the crude, tragic attempt of the comical Argentine Army to wrestle control of the islands from the UK. I thought of the seventy years passed since the days when another clownish character, Juan Domingo Peron, used to address “the masses” (about 100,000) from the balcony of the Presidential Palace — painted pink for more clownish effect, I am not making this up! — If Federico Fellini would have been born a demiurge able to create countries, instead of odd Italian movies, he would have created Argentina and her strange and tragic history of insane generals, governors, caudillos, military men, exalted hookers, and tango singers. Of course, Marcello Mastroianni would have been President, King, or something even worse.
Very well, it was late, it was a cold winter night in the brutal concrete aggregate we euphemistically call “Buenos Aires” where good air is really hard to come by … but sleep deprivation has its benefits… I had a flash, some may have called it a vision, a brain malfunction, or a strong delusion. I thought of a parable so vast, so impossibly long and complex that only God — madly in love with his human creatures — could have made it. A parable that started in the garden of a house in Ephesus where a young Syrian physician named Lucanus (later our beloved St Luke) was chatting with Mary of Nazareth, spirited out of Jerusalem by the followers of her Son, who happened to be God. The Son of Mary had parachuted behind enemy lines as a human to start a worldwide rebellion against the darkness presided by the Olympian gods. His followers, the worse kind of dreamers, would take over the Roman world for Him.
The Virgin Mary introduced herself to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin as “Our Lady of Guadalupe” – the name Guadalupe inevitably connects the two stories supernaturally. Later, I took a step back and considered the origin of the Spanish image and its Mexican counterpart and began to suspect that both images could be the work of the same author. Unfortunately, that will remain a mere suspicion since I am not able to interview St Luke. According to well-documented tradition, St Luke carved the image now in Extremadura at some point during the first century. The image was deposited along with him in his burial place in Thebes, Greece and was later taken to Constantinople with his relics.
Quote taken from Guadalupe: A River of Light
Luke the artist
Lucanus was an artist. He had studied medicine with the great Oriental physicians of his age but he was first of all, an artist. He painted, sculpted, played various instruments, composed Greek poetry, knew Mathematics, and was a convert to the Jewish faith which he had learned from the wise men of Damascus. Then he met the Christians, perhaps while visiting a patient called Saul of Tarsus. He learned about the conversion of Saul, and then about Gamaliel the great teacher. He had what we would call today “a personal encounter with Jesus Christ” and he experienced a complete life change. After befriending Saul, renamed Paul by the Christians, Lucanus traveled with him and learned the faith along the way. He decided to tell the story of Jesus and his followers in many ways: in a written document (he was a good writer after all) and also in a more graphic way, carving images of the only witness alive whose eyes had seen the whole life of Jesus Christ: Mary of Nazareth, who lived in the house of a rich Jewish family in Ephesus, who were distant relatives of John the Apostle. He went there and his eyes, his physician eyes, his artist eyes, saw a face that did not reflect the years she should have: there were no wrinkles, there was none of the the usual effects of old age, only that light, that celestial light, that serenity. She had perfect vision, perfect speech, her voice was not broken, her hair looked like a radiant wave of light, and her voice, her voice … They have told him that the voice of Jesus was something that made the birds grow silent, that everyone in a crowd of thousands could hear him even whisper but Mary’s voice was sweet and bitter, young and old, exulting and sorrowful. He talked with her for hours on end, listened to her poetry: “My soul magnifies the Lord …” her words seemed to put life into every story, her face looked ancient at times, and newborn the next instant … Mary, Mary, her motherhood involved Lucanus like a heavenly caress …
Lucanus, Lucanos, Luciano, Lucas, Luke, Lucius, his name was connected to light, his name was light  and he worked with light when painting on pieces of dry wood. He tried to register not the exact appearance of Mary’s face but her tender sorrow. He understood why the Law of Moses prescribed to eat the Passover Lamb with bitter herbs, the מָרוֹר mārôr … of course! maror, Mariem, the Mother of Bitter Sorrows next to the sacrificed Lamb. In the vortex of the Spirit he knew how important she was. He carved and painted many icons of her but there was always one more.
One special carving he kept by his side … when his life ended, his friends buried that image with him.
Centuries later: noise, shovels, light. The Emperor requested to unearth the remains of St Luke, the Luminous, the Beloved Physician. The pious diggers found the image of Our Lady next to his bones. They took all they have found to Constantinople. Once there, the Archbishop and the Emperor headed the solemn procession. Lucanus’ bones were placed beneath the altar, the image of Our Lady was taken to a place of honor. Soon the miracles began to happen, too may to describe here. Many years later, when Constantinople was in danger of being taken by the barbarians coming from all sides, the Emperor gave the precious image to the Roman Nuncio. The Nuncio’s name was Gregory, he was a saintly man. He returned to Rome with the image and kept it in his oratory. By the time he became Pope, it was Rome’s turn to be assailed by the barbarians. During one of those times of crisis, the city — rife with sodomy, pagan worshiping, and all kinds of immorality — was hit by the plague. Pope Gregory prayed and prayed. Finally he decided to take the image in procession through Rome. The people were scared. Those who could still walk joined the procession silently. They went past the Colosseum and while approaching the Hadrian Mausoleum  — the resting place of a very sinful Roman Emperor — they heard a celestial choir … all Rome looked up to the sky … the angels were singing a hymn never heard before, the Regina Coeli.
Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia:
For He whom you were chosen to bear, alleluia,
Has risen as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Then the Archangel Michael appeared above the mausoleum, sheathing his sword. That was understood as a sign that the plague was over. Most of the people of Rome witnessed those miracles and repented. The few remaining pagan sites of worship were destroyed after that vision. Mary had conquered Rome. The image carved by St Luke five centuries earlier had saved the Romans from falling back into pagan worship.
Perhaps because Rome was suffering wave after wave of barbarian invasions, Pope Gregory decided to send the miraculous statue away. Visiting the Holy See was Isidore, a saintly priest, the brother of Leander, the Bishop of Hispalis, now known as Seville. Isidore was in charge of taking the image to his brother the Bishop. He was escorted to Ostium where he took a ship headed for Spain. Near the Island of Corsica they sailed into a storm. Isidore and a priest took the image to the deck and celebrated the Holy Mass. The storm passed immediately and they reached Spain without further problems. The image they carried was going to be one day the first Spanish advocation of Our Lady of Guadalupe, many centuries before the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin at the Hill of Tepeyac, Mexico.
You can find the whole story in my book, Guadalupe: A River of Light. It was my intention to present that material in the form of a well-produced video, a radio series, and a television series (and other formats) but so far I could not raise even one percent of the meager funds needed to do that. Others who have funds, have taken upon themselves to do what I could not do. Dr Taylor Marshall has announced a webinar on the subject (see the video below). The ripple effect has begun! However, you will notice a small error in the webinar presentation. The statue carved by St Luke was given by Pope Gregory to St Isidore, who took it to Spain as a present for St Leander. St Leander did not carry the image to Seville himself.
There is another reference of the European-American trip of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the blog of Emmet O’Regan: Unveiling the Apocalypse. There he mentions Our Lady of Guadalupe towards the end of his article, Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Flood from the Dragon’s Mouth.
This story is just beginning to disseminate. I am sure you will find my next book even more interesting than this but I won’t reveal a thing until it is ready.
Happy New Year!
 Alfonso XI, “El Onceno” (Sp. The Eleventh) was the son of Alfonso X “El Sabio” (Sp. The Wise.) Alfonso XI was also the third great grandfather of Queen Isabella of Castile, “La Católica”, (Sp. The Catholic).
 A studious Spanish geologist, Dr. Antonio Yagüe Ballester, has found the Spanish word “luz” (light) hidden within the clothes of the miraculous image. It is very close to — almost overlapping — the image of Christ crucified painted like a shadow in the exact place where the left knee of Our Lady is delicately insinuated. Is that the signature of St Luke? To the right of the Crucified there is a clear letter “L”. See if you can discover the other two letters. Remember that “Lucanus” means “luminous”. That may very well be the signature of the artist, author of the heavenly image. Is St Luke the author of the first and the second image of Guadalupe? I would like to think so but we need more evidence, I think.
1491, by Charles C. Mann, Vintage Books Random House, New York, 2006.
A Handbook on Guadalupe, a collection of essays by various authors published by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1996.
Breve Historia de España by Henry Kamen, p. 9; translation by Marta Hernández Salván, Barcelona, Spain, 2009.
Conflict and Conversion in Sixteenth Century Central Mexico: The Augustinian War on and Beyond the Chichimeca Frontier (European Expansion and Indigenous Response)Conflict and Conversion in Sixteenth Century Central Mexico: The Augustinian War on and Beyond the Chichimeca Frontier (European Expansion and Indigenous Response), by Robert H. Jackson. Brill Scholarly Publishing, 2013.
De Viris Illustribus, by St Jerome, Scriptura Press, New York City, 2015.
Descubrimiento de un Busto Humano en los Ojos de la Virgen de Guadalupe, by Carlos Salinas Chávez; De La Mora, Manuel. Editorial Tradición, 2nd Edition 1980.
El mito de la fundación de México Tenochtitlan; Revista de Arqueología Mexicana, Especial 62, and El cactus en México Catálogo Visual by Enrique Vela, June 2015.
El Norte de Africa en los Milagros de Guadalupe by Gerardo Rodriguez; from Estudios de Historia de España; Volume XII, Tome 2, 2010.
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Il Segreto negli Occhi di Maria. Da Nazareth a Guadalupe, by Flavio Ciucani, Edizione Mediterranee, Roma, 2013.
Juan Diego en los Ojos de la Santísima Virgen de Guadalupe, by Carlos Salinas Chávez. Ediciones Ruiz, 1st Edition 2008.
La Fractura Historiográfica: Las Investigaciones de Edad Media y Renacimiento Desde el Tercer Milenio; by Javier San José Lera, edited by Francisco Javier Burguillo and Laura Mier. Salamanca, Seminario de Estudios Medievales y Renacentistas, 2008.
La vie quotidienne des Aztèques a la veille de la conquête espagnole by Jacques Soustelle; Hachette Littératures; Paris, 1955.
La Virgen de la Patria: Leyenda, Tradición e Historia de la Guadalupana del Tepeyac by Ramón Sánchez Flores. Puebla, Mexico, 1996. Comité Directivo Estatal.
Las Maravillas de la Virgen de Guadalupe, by Padre Angel Peña, O.A.R.; Libros Católicos, Peru, 2017.
Maravilla Americana y Conjunto de Raras Maravillas, Observadas con la Dirección de las Reglas del Arte de la Pintura en la Prodigiosa Imagen de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Mexico, by Miguel Mateo Maldonado y Cabrera. Imprenta Real del Más Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, 1756.
Miguel Cabrera, Pintor Oaxaqueño del Siglo XVIII, by Javier Castro Mantecón, and Manuel Zárate Aquino. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Dirección de Monumentos Coloniales; México, 1958.
Nican Mopohua, by Antonio Valeriano translated by Fr. Mario Rojas Sanchez, Grupo Macehual Guadalupano, Huejutla, Mexico, 1978.
Nican Mopohua by Guillermo Ortiz de Montellano. Mexico City, 1990. Universidad Iberoamericana.
Nican Mopohua: Breve Análisis Literario e Histórico by Jesús Galera Lamadrid; Mexico City, 1991. Editorial Jus.
Nican Mopohua: la Narración Más Antigua de las Apariciones Guadalupanas escrita en Nahuatl y Traducida al Español by Primo Feliciano Velázquez. Obra Nacional de la Buena Prensa, Mexico City.
Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness, by Warren H. Carroll, Christendom Press, Front Royal, Virginia, 1983.
Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Miracle of the Roses lecture given by Luis Fernando Castaneda Monter at Saint Francis Chapel, Boston, 2013.
The Ancient Cities of the New World Being Travels and Explorations in Mexico and Central America From 1857-1882, by Désiré Charnay, Translated by J. Gonino, and Helen S. Conant. Published by The Project Gutenberg, 2014.
The Hummingbird and the Hawk: Conquest and Sovereignty in the Valley of Mexico 1503-1541, by R. C. Padden, Torchbooks Paperback, 1970.
The Legend of Saint Christopher by Margaret Hodges, Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2009.
The likeness of unlike things: insight, enlightenment and the metaphoric way, by David Pimm. Published in For the Learning of Mathematics 30, 1; March 2010 FLM Publishing Association, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The Spanish History of Our Lady of Guadalupe Prior to the 16th Century Apparitions in Mexico, by Sister Gabriel, OP, 1900.
The Wonder of Guadalupe, by Francis Johnston, TAN books, Rockford, Illinois, 1981.
Tonantzin Guadalupe: Pensamiento Náhuatl y Mensaje Cristiano en el Nican Mopohua by Miguel León Portilla. Mexico City, 2000. El Colegio Nacional, Fondo de Cultura Económica.