The celebrated icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe

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A mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe enveloping Pope John Paul II adorns a wall in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Laurie Avocado via Flickr/CC)

Latino Catholics around the world are celebrating the Virgin Mary. Or as she’s known to them: the Virgin of Guadalupe. Her feast day is today, Dec. 12.

It’s a special and holy occasion to millions, who believe, according to Catholic tradition, that a vision of the mother of Jesus appeared to a peasant in Mexico City hundreds of years ago and asked him to build a temple.

The celebration of Guadalupe has always been a big deal in many households, including here in Southern California, and we’ve asked Laura Medina, professor of Chicano Studies at Cal State Northridge, to talk to us about how this story – the legend of the Virgin Mary’s appearance – has endured over centuries.