Legend has it that this image belonged to Luke and was buried with him when he died. In the fourth century Luke's remains, with his statue, were brought to Constantinople. Later Pope Gregory the Great (c. 540 - 604) brought the statue to his private chapel in Rome. Soon this Virgin performed her first great miracle. It was during an outbreak of the plague that the people carried her in a great procession through the streets of Rome and with intense religious fervor asked her to stop this punishment. That day the epidemic ceased while an angel was seen on the castle cleaning a blood stained sword.
After Gregory's death, the image was given to St. Leander, archbishop of Seville. It was venerated in his cathedral until the Moorish invasion in 711. In 714 some clergymen who were fleeing from the Muslims took the Virgin with them and buried her in an iron casket near the river Guadalupe (Hidden River).
After six hundred years, Our Lady of Silence was ready to emerge from
yet another grave. By now the area was Christianized again. One day a
poor cowherd from Cáceres by the name of Gil found one of his cows dead.
He decided to skin it for the leather. But when he had made the first
incision in the form of a cross, the cow suddenly revived and at that
very moment the Queen of Heaven appeared and addressed Gil thus:
A little hermitage was built and entrusted to the Franciscans who wrote this story down. Over the centuries they also collected nine codices, kept in the monastery archives, that list the miracles attributed to this Virgin of Guadalupe.
One of the early Franciscan monks at the monastery of Guadalupe became Zumarago, the bishop of Mexico City to whom the Mother of God sent Juan Diego with news of yet another Marian apparition. Supposedly the Lady in Mexico told Juan Diego her name was Coatlaxopeuh (pronounced Quatlasupe), which some translate to mean She who Crushes the Serpent.(*2) Sounded like Guadalupe to the man from Guadalupe.
The monastery of Guadalupe must be the richest sanctuary in the Hispanic world, because for centuries, just like a worldly queen, the Virgin of Guadalupe had the right to demand alms and part of the inheritance of well-situated people.(*3) All that wealth was not only used to adorn her church-palace and throne room but also to accommodate her pilgrims and take care of their needs. At one point four major and seven minor hospitals, a school of medicine and music, pharmacies, libraries, pilgrims' hostels, and scriptoriums formed part of her sanctuary. It is a magnificent center for Hispanic culture and religion.