In light of full disclosure, I must state that my parents were married on this day, so they would be celebrating their wedding anniversary on earth if they were still alive, but I am sure my mom and dad are both celebrating in heaven.
The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world. Over the Friday and Saturday of 11 to 12 December, back in 2009, a record number of 6.1 million pilgrims visited the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico, DF to join in the commemoration of the anniversary of the apparition.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas; she is also venerated by Native Americans, on the account of the devotion calling for the conversion of the Americas. Replicas of the til-ma can be found in thousands of churches throughout the world, and numerous parishes bear her name.
Due to an alleged claim that her black girdle indicates pregnancy on the image, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under this title is popularly invoked as Patroness of the Unborn and a common image for the Pro-Life movement.
Catholic sources claim many miraculous and supernatural properties for the image such as that the tilma has maintained its structural integrity over nearly 500 years, while replicas normally last only about 15 years before suffering degradation; that it repaired itself with no external help after a 1791 ammonia spill that did considerable damage, and that on 14 November 1921 a bomb damaged the altar, but left the icon unharmed.
That in 1929 and 1951 photographers found a figure reflected in the Virgin's eyes; upon inspection they said that the reflection was tripled in what is called the Purkinje effect, commonly found in human eyes.An ophthalmologist, Dr. Jose Aste Tonsmann, later enlarged an image of the Virgin's eyes by 2500x and claimed to have found not only the aforementioned single figure, but images of all the witnesses present when the tilma was first revealed before Zumárraga in 1531, plus a small family group of mother, father, and a group of children, in the center of the Virgin's eyes, fourteen persons in all.
Numerous Catholic websites repeat that in 1936 biochemist Richard Kuhn analyzed a sample of the fabric and announced that the pigments used were from no known source, whether animal, mineral or vegetable. Dr. Philip Serna Callahan, who photographed the icon under infrared light, declared from his photographs that portions of the face, hands, robe, and mantle had been painted in one step, with no sketches or corrections and no visible brush strokes.
Caryana.org, The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Udayton.edu, Marian library's discussion of Guadalupe as Mexican national symbol
NEWS.BBC.co.uk, BBC photo essay of 12 December festivities in San Miguel de Allende.
Pbase.com, Photo essay on Los Angeles Latino community's Guadalupan murals, etc.
NewAdvent.org, The Catholic Encyclopedia
http://www.sancta.org/ Catholic site dedicated to Guadalupe.