The vision of the young woman appeared on December 9, 1531, as a Native Mexican American named Cuauhtlatoatzin walked in the morning air of the Tepeyac desert near Mexico City. The dark skinned young woman spoke to him in Nahuatl, the local language, and asked that a Catholic church be built in her honor, on the same hallowed ground that the Aztec mother goddess Tonantzin was once worshipped. Cuauhtlatoatzin, who later converted to Catholicism and was renamed Juan Diego, believed that the apparition was Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. The woman of the vision eventually became known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and she is central to the spiritual beliefs of the peoples of Mexico.
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