As promised, I want to share with you the story that helped to bring me out of deep spiritual darkness. I owe great gratitude to Our Lady of Guadalupe for what she has done and continues to do for me and my family, so in her honor, I am sharing this with you today.
The story begins in 1999, when my dad was newly arrived in Tokyo, Japan, for a new assignment with his job. The first Sunday after his arrival, he ventured out of his hotel in search of the Franciscan Chapel in Roppongi, where he had been told he could go to Mass.
Shortly after, he found himself completely lost. He didn't know where he was and he didn't know how to get to where he was going. He didn't know the language and the locals didn't speak English. All of the street signs were in Japanese, so he had no way to be guided there.
Soon, he began to worry. Now, you have to understand that my dad wasn't a particularly religious person. In fact, I can remember him more often away from the church than not, but in this moment of worry, he remembered my mom's devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
"Our Lady of Guadalupe, please, help me to find the way to the Franciscan Chapel!"
And just like that, he came upon a group of foreigners.
"Please, help me," he said. "I'm trying to get to the Franciscan Chapel but I'm lost. Do you know where that is?"
"Oh yes," they said. "We are going there."
My dad was astonished, and told them what happened.
"I asked the Virgin of Guadalupe to help me find the way," he said, "And all of a sudden, I meet with you, and now I have the answer!"
He continued, "I cannot believe this is true! How come I ask the Virgin of Guadalupe for help, and you just appear...? I cannot understand it!"
He was completely amazed and thankful.
But that was not all. They also happened to speak my dad's native Spanish, and they were not one bit surprised.
"We are missionaries of the Virgin of Guadalupe," they said.
* * *
I had never heard this story until this past June when my parents visited us from Chile. We were chatting in our basement, where they were staying, and I'll never forget how my dad struggled mightily, but unsuccessfully, not to burst into sobs as he told us that last line.
Well all sat in awe of what Our Lady of Guadalupe had done for my dad.
"There was no rational explanation for what happened," he said. We all agreed.
And then it hit me. Our Lady of Guadalupe had something for me, too.
In 2001, I had received the sacrament of Confirmation at the same Franciscan Chapel.
* * *
Fast forward to August, when I found myself in deep darkness, struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety.
Thanks be to God, with the help of a team of good doctors, therapists, spiritual director, confessor, my family and the prayers of so many of you, I made it through.
But a particular help was this story, which stood out in my heart and mind like a light in the deepest darkness.
Our Lady of Guadalupe wasn't just a pious story or folk tale. She was true, and she had left us miraculous proof of her visit in St. Juan Diego's tilma.
Even more, she has touched countless people, like my dad, to give testimony to the truth of her loving presence and intercession as Mother of the One True God and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.