The Origin of the Name Guadalupe?
| Before there was a
Guadalupe in the New World, there was a Guadalupe in the Old―a
holy place in Spain. By tradition, the Old World shrine has a
long story behind it, in terms of time. Here we will look into
that history, to see how the shrine and its name originated on the Iberian Peninsula.
A Look into Past
There is a tradition that St. Luke the Evangelist and author of the Acts of the Apostles was a painter. It's said that he carved a wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin holding a child in one hand, and a sceptre in the other, thought to signify her royal motherhood. If true, it really reaches far back into Christianity, and with the statue having been done by this companion of St. Paul and an author of books of the Bible, it adds a specialness to the sculpture.
According to another tradition, the statue was venerated by Pope St. Gregory the Great in his oratory and he gave it to his friend St. Leander, the Bishop of Seville. To give this a time frame, Pope Gregory reigned from 590 to 604.
Joan Carroll Cruz in Miraculous Images of Our Lady, says the Spanish treasured it, and during the Moorish invasion in 711, it was hidden with papers documenting its history. Accounts differ, one saying it was placed in a cave under a churchbell and another that it was buried in an iron casket. Those who hid it were killed during the conquest and the statue was lost for centuries.
Then, in 1326, its whereabouts came to light. A herdsman named Gil Cordero said he was looking for a lost cow when a radiant lady came out of the forest, indicating where he should dig for a treasure and requesting that a chapel be built there. Church authorities were summoned to the scene, where they found a cave entrance, and inside, the statue with its authenicating documents. Unstained and made of oriental wood, it was in perfect condition.
Francis Johnston in The Wonder of Guadalupe relates that 1340, King Alphonso XI of Castille had a monastery built for the statue which became "the most celebrated shrine in Spain," attracting a great numbers of pilgrims, one of whom was Columbus after his first voyage to the New World and his discovery of America. Cruz says noblewomen through the years made her jeweled mantles and robes, embroidered with gold which are kept in a nearby reliquary cabinet. One headdress worn on special occasions, contains 30,000 precious stones.
Cruz states that the chapel and statue were named Guadalupe after the nearby town of that name. Johnston says the cave where it was found was located in the banks of the River Guadalupe, which means "Wolf River," probably because of the wolves infesting the area. He also noted that other meanings given for it are "Hidden River" and "River of Light."
Some History of Spain
Let us delve into
some history of
Spain. Latin was the language of the Roman Empire, and in the
pre-Christian era, the Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula, not only the
Spanish tribes but what is called Portugal. The whole peninsula became
a Roman province called Hispania, from which comes the name Espana. The
Latin brought in by the Romans and spoken by
the Spaniards, gradually
developed into Spanish.
An etymological dictionary of
geographical names listed guad and
guadi as Spanish in origin for "river."
This in turn originates from the Arabic wad and wady meaning
river or valley. A variant spelling of wady is wadi, which the
World Book defines as "a gully or ravine through which a stream flows
in the rainy season," and says is Arabic for ravine.
Copyright © 2005 - John Riedell - All