The oldest and most venerable shrine of the Blessed Virgin in North America is in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. This was the scene of several appearances of the Virgin to an Indian peasant, Juan Diego. A miracle occurred in 1531 when a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego. The image of the beautiful lady had the dark complexion of the natives and they interpreted this as a sign from God. Over the next few years eight million Indians were converted. So eager were they to become Catholics that they ran out from their villages to greet and welcome the Catholic missionaries. While the Church lost many to the Protestant Reformation in Europe, she gained many more in the new world. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is still on display in Mexico City today.
Among the primitive teachers of the Irish church the name of St. Finian is one of the most famous next to that of St. Patrick. He was a native of Leinster, was instructed in the elements of Christian virtue by the disciples of St. Patrick, and out of an ardent desire of making greater progress passed over into Wales, where he conversed with St. David, St. Gildas, and St. Cathmael, three eminent British saints. After having remained thirty years in Britain, about the year 520, he returned into Ireland, excellently qualified by sanctity and sacred learning to restore the spirit of religion among his countrymen, which had begun to decay. Like a loud trumpet sounding from heaven, he roused the sloth and insensibility of the lukewarm, and softened the hearts that were most hardened, and had been long immersed in worldly business and pleasure. To propagate the work of God, St. Finian established several monasteries and schools; the chief of which was Clonard in Meath, which was the saint”s principal residence. Out of his school came several of the principal saints and doctors of Ireland, as Kiaran the Younger, Columkille, Columba the son of Crimthain, the two Brendans, Laserian, Canicus or Kenny, Ruadan, and others.
St. Finian was chosen and consecrated bishop of Clonard. The great monastery which he erected at Clonard was a famous seminary of sacred learning St. Finian in the love of his flock. and his zeal for their salvation, equaled the Basils and the Chrysostoms, was infirm with the infirm and wept with those that wept. He healed the souls, and often also the bodies of those that applied to him. His food was bread and herbs, his drink water, and his bed the ground, with a stone for his pillow. He departed to our Lord on the 12th of December in 552, according to the Inis-fallen Annals, quoted by Usher, but according to others in 564.
(Butler”s Lives of the Saints)