Welcome to TRAVELS WITH BETSY! For our first travelogue we will be visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. In future we will be visiting Lourdes and Fatima and many other important centres of Catholic pilgrimage. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of Betsy’s favourite places “anywhere.” Betsy will be wearing a different outfit for each trip! In the next episodes you will meet Florence, Betsy’s cat. Betsy claims that Florence is just about the smartest cat in the entire world! In another episode you will get to meet Betsy’s beloved dolly. Can you guess what her name might be?

But now, let us begin with the wonderful story of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

After the Spanish Conquest by Hernan Cortez in 1519, Franciscan missionaries from Spain began to stream into Mexico so that they could teach the people in this new land about the Christian faith. One of these indigenous people was Juan Diego. He was one of the first people to be baptized in the New World. He loved learning about Jesus and His Mother, Mary, and became a fervent Catholic!

One Saturday morning (a day devoted to Our Lady) on December 9, 1531, Juan was walking to Mass, when—to his astonishment—a beautiful Lady appeared to him. She told him that she was his heavenly Mother and that she would always love and protect him. She asked him to go to the bishop and have a church built.  After Juan spoke to the bishop about the astonishing encounter he had had with the Mother of God, the bishop told Juan to ask the Lady for a sign to prove that She had really appeared to him. On December 12 Juan received his miraculous sign: When he presented the bishop with the miraculous roses (that Our Lady had provided for him), immediately, before the bishop’s very eyes, an image of Our Lady imprinted itself on Juan Diego`s cloak. The bishop was stunned! All the people in the room knelt down before the sacred image and cried out, milagro! milagro! (miracle, miracle).

Within 10 years of this event 7 million Indians converted to the Christian faith. Today, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited shrine in the world. Millions come to see this same image of Our Lady that was imprinted on Juan`s tilma (cloak). That this image is still intact is a miracle in itself. The delicate fibres should have disintegrated within 30 years! The colours should have faded within an even shorter time. But, all these years later, the image looks brand-new!

Juan Diego was canonized by Pope St. John Paul ll in 2002. On this momentous occasion millions of Mexicans lined the streets of the city to pay homage to their beloved Pope John Paul ll. St. Juan’s feastday is Dec. 9. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feastday is Dec. 12.

And over the main portal of the basilica is this moving message: AM I NOT HERE, I WHO AM YOUR MOTHER? And here, in the Basilica of OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE, you will find an actual picture of your heavenly Mother! Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas and the Patroness of the Pro-Life Movement.





  1. The chapel at the top of Tepeyac Hill where Our Lady first appeared to Juan Diego.
  2.  The actual image of Our Lady of Guadalupe inside the Basilica.
  3. The Old Basilica. It is now a museum and is close to the New Basilica.
  4. The New Basilica.
  5. On the way up, up, up Tepeyac Hill. It is a long climb!
  6. A statue of Pope St. John Paul ll on the grounds of the Basilica.


And now you can make the paper doll of Betsy with her new blue dress. This is the dress she wore to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Copy the pattern for the doll onto cardstock paper. For the clothing copy the pattern onto lighter paper. Cut out the doll and clothing and colour. Now the fun begins!