Our Lady’s urgent message was one of faith, hope and comfort to the indigenous population oppressed by their Spanish overseers. In a matter of months, she ended the Aztec culture’s cult of death. The Aztec religion involved human sacrifice on an unthinkable scale. In the decade following her appearance, ten million Indians converted to Catholicism, creating a vibrant community of faith that persists to the present day.
In Europe, the Protestant Reformation raged, dividing the Church and causing millions to turn to Protestantism. At the moment that millions in Europe were being torn from the Church founded by Christ, God was arranging for twice as many in the New World to be brought into it. By divine Providence, Our Lady was creating unity and a wellspring of deep devotion among the faithful in Mexico. Her words to Juan Diego, “My dear child. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms?”, made him, and his fellow Indians, in every way the Spaniards equals in dignity.