January 31, 2017 — Jesuits joined Canadian Catholic organizations to form
the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle to
strengthen and foster relations with Indigenous people.
The coalition brings together Indigenous people,
Bishops, clergy, lay movements and institutes of consecrated life, engaged in
renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous
people in Canada. The new initiative has
a fourfold mission:
- To provide
a forum for its members to dialogue and encourage deeper understanding of the
relationships between the Church, Indigenous people and Indigenous spirituality
serve as a united Catholic public voice on relations and dialogue between the
Church, Indigenous people and Indigenous spirituality in Canada;
assist Catholics in engagement with the Truth and Reconciliation process and
its Calls to Action;
carry out agreed upon initiatives and concrete actions.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle held its first official meeting at the offices of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on December 5, 2016. Its institutional members are the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council (CCAC), CCCB, Canadian Religious Conference (CRC), Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace / Caritas Canada (CCODP), Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Knights of Columbus, and The Catholic Women’s League of Canada. Along with two CCAC
representatives — its Chair Deacon Rennie Nahanee and Vice-Chair Mr. Irving
Papineau — the Indigenous members are Mrs. Rosella Kinoshameg, the Honourable
Graydon Nicholas and Sister Priscilla Solomon, C.S.J.
Our Lady of Guadalupe was proclaimed patroness of the
Americas by Pope Pius XII in 1946. The devotion dates to 1531 when the Blessed
Virgin Mary appeared as a young Aztec woman to Juan Diego, a convert to
Christianity whose Indigenous name is Cuauhtlatoatzin (“Eagle Who Speaks”). The site
of the apparition was called the Hill of Tepeyac, which eventually
became part of Villa de Guadalupe, a suburb of Mexico City, where today is an
international Marian shrine. Some 20 million pilgrims and other visitors each
year come to the shrine, which brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous
Catholics from all the Americas. Authentic devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe shows
how the Catholic faith finds expression in Indigenous cultures. In 2002 Juan
Diego was declared a Saint by the Catholic Church.