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Guadalupe shrine in the Patagonia Mountains, AZ.

I was introduced to Our Lady of Guadalupe while living in Arizona. I often found her image in the rocks and crevices of the Sonoran desert – placed there by those risking it all to immigrate to the U.S.

I just completed my own journey across a large chunk of the U.S. and found the Virgin’s image in the south, along the east coast, in the midwest, and the southwest. I saw her on body parts (arms & backs), candles, plywood, buildings, and T-shirts. Her constant presence had me contemplating the “us v. them” mentality that is currently being propagated by portions of the U.S. government. That myth of fear and the propaganda tool used to keep people on edge and to make them start to doubt their neighbors. The device used to artificially elevate those in power – to make them appear as the protectors of their citizens from their own manufactured and imaginary ghosts. That tool of hate. How could it live, let alone survive in her presence?

The Virgin of Guadalupe is a symbol for the unification of people from all backgrounds. She was and is venerated by devoted Catholics, as well as, those from different faiths, and those with no religious ties. She represents the harmony, equality, and beauty of life that is available to all. There are no borders or “us v. them” in her message.

As I traveled across the U.S. I was inspired to see her representation just about everywhere I went and to encounter her virtues in every person I met, without exception, along the way. I am grateful for her reminder and to live in a country that continues to strive for the beliefs that all people are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and happiness.

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