Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
In 1521, Spanish conquistadors invaded what is now Mexico and gradually destroyed the great native cultures, taking away their wealth and converting them to Catholicism. As has happened at other points in history, the Christians' attempts to destroy the so-called pagan cults resulted in the old beliefs being subtly integrated into the newly dominant religion thereby subverting the conquerors and allowing parts of the native cultures to survive. Such is the case with the cult of Mexico's dark-skinned Virgin of Guadalupe, a modern form of the ancient earth-goddess Tonantzin. In this way, the native culture quietly prevails. This fascinating and colorful documentary chronicles the genesis and rise of the country's cult of the Virgin which began in 1531 after the Indian Juan Diego first saw her atop Tepeyac Hill. At first Mexico's first Bishop, disregarded the vision, but after another miracle occurred, the Catholic church (hoping to use it to convert more Indians) built a church there and a legend was born. Currently over 12 million people, most of them impoverished, sick and economically downtrodden, make the trek to the Virgin's hilltop basilica in hope of finding healing, solace and good fortune.
Catholicism, Conquistador, invasion, religion