There’s A 70-Year-Old Mosaic Of La Virgen De Guadalupe Inside Of Notre Dame. Here’s Its Condition After The Fire
It’s been just a week since the fire destroyed Notre Dame, and we now have more information about historical relics that survived the devastation. If you’ve been to Notre Dame, you may have been surprised, like many, to come across a section inside the cathedral that honors Mexican patron, La Virgen de Guadalupe.
The mosaic of La Virgen, which was placed inside the Notre Dame in 1949, has an extraordinary meaning for Latinos, in particular to the Mexican community.
In an interview with El Universal Father Jose de Jesus Aguilar Valdes said that the iconic mosaic of La Virgen survived the fire because of its location inside the church.
Valdes said that most of the damage occurred in the center of the church, and the altar dedicated to La Virgen was located on the left section. He added that most relics that were on the left and right side of the cathedral were thankfully salvaged.
When I first saw La Virgen de Guadalupe located in its own altar, adorned among Mexican flags, I was moved because it was as if a piece of my family was right before me in Paris.
I expressed my sadness over the devastation having just visited the Notre Dame a year ago.
Other Latinos also expressed their feelings about the destruction of the Notre Dame and La Virgen mosaic that lived there.
Alejandro Lugo of Las Cruces, New Mexico, told the New York Times about his poignant memory of La Virgen in Paris when he saw it for the first time.
“As a Mexican-American, I felt blessed and surprised to have found inside Notre-Dame an altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe, who is Mexico’s patron saint!” the 56-year-old said. “In 2003 my family and I went to celebrate the 15th birthday or quinceañera of my oldest daughter, who was blessed by the priest during the Notre-Dame mass.”
The mosaic in Paris is a replica of the legendary painting located at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The painting honors the apparition of La Virgen to Saint Juan Diego in 1531. According to the legend, Our Lady of Guadalupe told Juan Diego to build a shrine in the spot where he saw her, which is Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City. The shrine has been there since 1556 and been blessed by several popes. According to the Britannica Encyclopedia, the painter of that particular painting of La Virgen is unknown; however, in 1568, an English prisoner in Mexico City described the image.
According to Father Valdes, the replica in Paris was created by local artisans that worked with Mellerio jewelry. The mosaic also has a crown made of 18-carat gold and is decorated with gems and pearls.
“The presence of Mexico is made with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe,” Father Valdes said, according to Televisa. “A beautiful image in one of the most visited chapels of Notre Dame. Fortunately, it has been saved, because the fire damaged the entire roof and the heat of the fire, as it, unfortunately, damages the windows.”
Other saved treasures from the Notre Dame fire include a 14th-century life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus and the cross at the center of the cathedral.
France President Emmanuel Macron has already vowed to rebuild the church within five years. More than $1 billion has been raised for its construction.
I and countless of others look forward to visiting the Notre Dame once again and praying the altar dedicated to Mexico and La Virgen de Guadalupe.