Explain the story and importance of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

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The Virgin of Guadalupe is the same entity as the Virgin Mary of Christianity, the wife of Joseph and the mother of Jesus Christ, conceived by immaculate conception.

When the Aztecs of central Mexico were defeated in 1521 and Spanish rule began, the Virgin became a popular religious icon throughout Mexico and Central America. The first figure is believed by some to have been made by Marcos Cipac, an indigenous artist of the mid sixteenth century working in Mexico. This icon can be seen in Mexico City in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is not depicted as white-skinned. Some believe this statue was created by a supernatural and sacred maker, not Cipac.

It is said that La Guadalupana appeared to a new Christian, Juan Diego, in 1531 on a Mexican hillside and asked that a shrine to herself be constructed there.

The Virgin of Guadalupe's feast day is celebrated on December 12. She is seen as a supporter, protector, and helper to Mexican and Mexican-American believers.

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