The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated by Catholics on December 12. The occasion observes an apparition of the Virgin Mary that appeared to Juan Diego, a native of Tepeyac, a village near Mexico City, in 1521. The apparition left roses for Juan Diego when there were none in bloom and an image of herself inside his tilma, a native cactus-cloth cloak. Celebrate the feast by making crafts that symbolize the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe and tell the story of her message of love and compassion.
Create paper dolls of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego to reenact the appearance of the apparition. Print coloring pages of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego. Color the pages while referring to a photo of the actual tilma so that the colors match. Tell the story of what unfolded when the apparition appeared as children color the image. Cut the colored images out, and glue them to popsicle sticks. Act out the scene at Tepeyac with the paper dolls. Children will learn the significance of the story through taking part in recreating the scene.
Paper Bag Tilma
Have children make a tilma from a paper shopping bag. Cut away the sides of the bag. Turn the bag upside down, so the bottom of the bag is now the top. Cut out a 7-inch circle from the top, so that it will fit over a child's head. Fringe the bottom of the bag by cutting slits into it, or punch holes and string colored raffia from the holes. Color a printed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and paste the picture to the front of the bag. Have children try the tilma on and imagine they are Juan Diego discovering the image on his tilma for the first time.
Create a model of the Our Lady of Guadalupe grotto -- the shrine created to honor the miracle. Use ordinary craft items for the project, or purchase a special kit (available from catholicchild.com). A kit comes with popsicle sticks, stones, semi-precious gemstones and a print of the Blessed Mother. Shape the popsicle sticks on a small piece of cardboard in the shape of the grotto, forming a cross at the top. Glue gemstones or jewels onto the popsicle sticks, and small, white stones onto the cross. Paste the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the center of the popsicle sticks, and glue small stones all around the outside of the grotto. Place the completed project on a table or hang it on a wall.
Create a textile picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe to help children celebrate the feast. Draw an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on a paper bag. Outline the entire picture with glue. Place beans, lentils and popcorn kernels on the glue to give the image texture. Use beads of all different colors to make the image similar to the original picture on Juan Diego's tilma. Allow the glue to dry completely before lifting the bag to be sure that none of the beans or beads come off.
Sarah L. Harrer has more than eight years of experience as an editor at Thomson Reuters. She has edited titles such as "Lindey on Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts," and written several continuing education manuals. Harrer's work has also been published in "The Pioneer" and "The Angle." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. John Fisher College.