Meditations on Our Lady
Examining the importance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in everyday lives, as Santa Clara’s celebrates the moment she appeared in Mexico.
Interview by Aurora Zahm ’18
“Life is messy and exists” in shades of grey, says Maria Del Socorro Castañeda-Liles ’98, co-founder of Santa Clara’s annual La Virgen Del Tepeyac performance. In Our Lady of Everyday Life, she finds that often the messier parts of life are relegated to silent shadows. She says, “It’s that silence that is a sin.” To break that silence, she interviews Hispanic Catholic women, finding a culture that turns to Our Lady of Guadalupe for support. Here’s an excerpt of what she learned.
What does coffee with milk have to do with Mexican Catholicism? According to Esperanza (age 68), it has everything to do with it. I had arranged to interview Esperanza after the noon Sunday Mass. This prompted me to ask whether, for her, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Mexican cultural symbol or a Catholic religious symbol.
In a firm but endearing tone, she asked, “Could you please … remove the milk from the coffee you are drinking?” Her question caught me by surprise, and … I felt puzzled—as well as stupid. I told her that what she asked me was impossible, for the coffee and milk were mixed. She then proceeded to say: Exactamente mija, Mexico es como el café con leche. No se puede separar a la Virgen de Guadalupe de la religión y la cultura, todo está mezclado (Exactly mija, Mexico is like coffee with milk. You cannot separate the Virgin of Guadalupe from religion and culture, it is all mixed together.)