Located in the Tepeyac Gardens of the Basilica de La Virgen de Guadalupe in Mexico City is La Ofrenda, Aurelio G.D. Mendoza's final work. At the age of 80 he was the commissioned architect who designed and oversaw the construction of this monument dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe. The monument includes 17 larger-than-life-sized bronze statues celebrating the indigenous people's adoration of La Virgen. It embodies the marriage of the indigenous people with their new Christian faith. They come bearing gifts to fortify and consolidate their union with Her, becoming the first Guadalupanos.

 

The monument took four years to construct with Mendoza presiding over all aspects—engineering, masonry, quarry, landscape, and waterfall design. Mendoza moved from his home in Pasadena, California to Mexico City for the time it took to construct the monument. He himself served as a model for certain statues to ensure they fitted his exacting standards and artistic vision.  He first created a sketch of his vision decades earlier when he and Antonio Del Valle Talavera, the philanthropist behind this project, first spoke of its possibilities.  The details changed little over time.  Mendoza's oil painting entitled similarly, "La Ofrenda," and translated "Offering to the New God" is similar in nature to the monument.  La Ofrenda opened to the public in September 1986 and has been admired by millions. Two of the statues were replicated and installed at the Church of Maryville in Des Plaines, Illinois; Cardinal of Mexico proclaimed this the "Second Tepeyac of North America."

 

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Juan Diego, a native of Mexico, was the first to have been granted an apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe on four separate occasions in December 1531 at the hill of Tepeyac, then outside but now well within metropolitan Mexico City. According to Carl A. Anderson:

 

"Prior to her apparition, the Spanish missionaries had had very little success in converting the native peoples of Mexico. The Spanish had won the war for Mexico against the Aztecs, with the help of those tribes tired of Aztec domination. But the Spanish had not won over the hearts and minds of the native peoples to the Christian faith. The appearance of Mary to the native Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531 had a decisive effect on evangelization. Its influence greatly overflows the boundaries of Mexico, spreading to the whole Continent. She appeared as “perfectly inculturated,” and thus was especially able to help heal and transcend the clash of civilizations occurring at that time in Mexico. Also key to the momentous change she produced was her message. Her message of inculturation was not limited only to the image of her mestiza face. It was contained in her words of tenderness, love, reconciliation and forgiveness. Thus, the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe is that evangelization to be successful must also be “inculturated” and that requires respect, not exploitation, reconciliation, not domination."

 

According to Wikipedia, "[t]he Basilica of Guadalupe, located at the foot of the hill of Tepeyac, is home to Juan Diego's mantle or cloak (known as a tilma) on which an image of the Virgin is impressed by a miracle as a pledge of the authenticity of the apparitions."