2024 Roses to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feb 27, 2024 / Written by: Anne Drake & Lora Lucas-Bailie

A Joyful Event in a Troubled World

On February 24, 2024, America Needs Fatima volunteers and friends delivered 14,520 roses (including 2,400 red roses for Valentine's day) to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.

The thousands of roses represent the love and devotion of the thousands of ANF members and supporters, a fitting tribute to Our Mother Beyond Compare. Like little children who bring small but symbolic things to their mothers (like a bunch of dandelions or wild flowers), the roses represent our childlike devotion. Unlike the roses we presented, that will wither after some time, the permanence of Our Lady’s image on the miraculous tilma represents Our Lady’s undying affection for her children.

To send roses and your personal intentions to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, click here!

Preparing a Tribute fit for a Queen

For the last four years, ANF has organized this massive tribute to Our Lady. After ANF donors have signed up online to present the roses, we order the roses from long-time, local florist Dona Ara. Just as thousands of donations and prayer intentions came from all around the United States, Dona Ara sourced 14,520 roses from all around Mexico. This is no small feat, not just because of the sheer number of roses, but because she has to obtain them one week after Valentine’s Day!

First, Dona Ara gets 121 terracotta vessels and fills them with floral oasis. Then her team of about twenty relatives gathers palm branches and arranges them in each vessel as a background for the roses. Over a period of three days, the team painstakingly inspects each rose and arranges approximately ten dozen roses in each vessel. They remove all the thorns from the stems, pick off any imperfect petals and cut the base of each stem at a precise angle so that they last as long as possible.

Preparing roses for arrangements - 2024 Mexico City

The extraordinary attention and care of Dona Ara’s arrangements demonstrates the quality of her and her family’s devotion to “La Virgen.” The entire preparation is meticulously scheduled so that by the time the roses are presented to Our Lady, the buds have opened, representing our opening up to Our Lady, the Mystical Rose, so that the fragrance of our tribute fully blossoms before her.

Making rose arrangements - 2024 Mexico City

Once all 121 arrangements are ready, Dona Ara’s team of family and friends carries them and stages them in front of the shrine within sight of Our Lady's image. As the thousands of multi-colored roses arrived, pilgrims from all over Mexico and the world gathered around to admire them. Many pilgrims came to ask who was presenting such a tribute to the Virgin. ANF supporter Felipe Barandiaran, overheard several children asking their mother, “What is all this? What is going on?” Without missing a beat, the mother replied, “They are roses, roses for the Virgin to console her because roses symbolize life. Now, hurry up, we have to go.” It was as if the mother did not even have to think about it, she just knew what we were doing and understood its importance. One lady was so moved by what we were doing that she came up and kissed us on both cheeks!

After taking photos to record the tribute, Dona Ara’s little army of florists then carried each of the approximately 35-40 pound rose arrangements the last one hundred yards into the Basilica. The men in her family carried an arrangement on each shoulder, carefully placed there by the ladies. Until the boys get stronger, they carried just one arrangement at a time. Back and forth, the men bore the roses with great efficiency, never complaining nor showing any discomfort, happy to be the bearers of ANF’s tribute to the Virgin. With the help of the shrine personnel, they arranged the roses along the tall walls on each side of the miraculous tilma. Then the whole team gathered under one of the walls for a group photo. Like little children who have given their mother something special, joy and a sense of accomplishment radiated from their faces.

After the presentation of the roses, we lit 50 candles in supplication for the continued battle against the culture of death and in reparation for the sin of abortion. The 50 candles also represent a continuous prayer soaring heavenward beseeching the Protectress of the Unborn for the urgent abolition of this modern day human sacrifice.

Candles at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe 2024

Throughout the day, the intentions of all ANF supporters were entrusted into the maternal heart of our Blessed Mother. Masses were arranged and Rosaries were prayed for these same intentions.

First-Time Impressions

This year, Anne and Lora met up with a group of other American pilgrims at the Shrine. It was wonderful to hear their first-time impressions of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the rose delivery.

Megan and Jeff, a young couple from Kansas had this to say:

Megan: “I think it was so beautiful to see all the people who stopped to take photos and to admire the roses from American devotees. It just really showed how much people in America love Our Lady and wanted to present beautiful flowers to her. We know that Our Lady’s appearance here in 1531 helped change the whole mindset of the Indians in regard to human sacrifice. Surely, Our Lady can impact America today to help stop the sacrifice of the unborn.

“My personal experience of the miraculous image was that it was so vibrant in color considering how old it is. No one would ever guess that it is from the 1500’s!

“Climbing up the Hill of Tepeyac and praying in silence at the Apparition Chapel at the top, knowing this was the way Saint Juan Diego walked and where Our Lady actually appeared, was my most intense spiritual experience.”

Jeff and Megan Morris - OLG Roses 2024

Jeff: “I was so profoundly impressed with the locals and pilgrims at the shrine. To see that many people, on any given day, who express their love and devotion to the Mother of God, was so intense. I was moved visiting the Apparition Chapel because it was the place where Our Lady actually appeared.

“The presentation of the roses, the devotion from ANF supporters, the florist and workers all amazed me. There is no place in America where people handcraft such a beautiful gift to give Our Lady. Although Dona Ara and her team were hired to do a job, the amount of time and care they spent putting all the bouquets together showed their own love for Our Lady. The love they showed in their work was the way they reciprocated Our Lady’s love for them.

“The amount of other pilgrims who also offered flowers along with the many flowers ANF gave to her astounded me. I felt that she absorbed all our prayers for our intentions and opened her Immaculate Heart to us. I felt this place was just so raw and real. Nowhere in the United States have I experienced this level of love and devotion.”

Theresa from California had this to say:
Theresa Sturkie - OLG Roses 2024

“The miraculous tilma was larger than I thought. I know Our Lady sees us all the time, but at the Shrine, I felt like she was looking directly at me in the eye. I felt her presence in a more tangible way because we can see her face the way she wants us to see it.

She is calling all of her children, faithful or not. Their souls recognize her call, even if the person is not so devout, and she can help all of us and work spiritual and even physical miracles.

“The rose delivery was a joyful occasion and enlivened the entire square. People were so happy to see the roses. True joy is so rare today in our troubled world, and the presentation of the roses in the plaza that day brought true joy to the people - and Our Lady!”

Felipe Barandiaran - OLG Roses 2024
Felipe from Madrid, Spain:

"My impressions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, are the impressions I have of the people that were there, bestowing their love and showing their devotion to Our Lady.

"Our Lady introduced a unique piety at this Shrine. In other places where she has appeared, there is more formality, more of her queenship, perhaps more of her role as Mother of God, more of her role as Patroness and Protector of the Church, but here in Mexico City she exercises more of her role as MOTHER, personal and individual, always ready to help in any situation and at any moment.

"The people were treating her like their own family, on their knees, showing affection, just having a chat like they would to their earthly mother, crying and/or pleading for her help and intercession."

These personal impressions reflect the tender intimacy with which Our Lady herself addressed Saint Juan Diego when she said:

"Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing: do not let it disturb you. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you."

We felt that this was the same motherly concern and love with which she received the many thousands of petitions laden with the cares, worries, concerns, sorrows, supplications and needs of our America Needs Fatima members, supporters and friends.

Thank You

With hearts full of gratitude, we would like to thank you for making us, in a sense, the ambassadors of your personal intentions and prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe. To be part of your own exchange of love with your Heavenly Mother, enriched each and everyone of us and highlighted once again how much we are a part of one family under the mantle and loving care of La Virgen de Guadalupe. Without your help, support and prayers, none of this would have been possible.

Dona Ara's family of florists will forever be remembered in our grateful prayers for all their dedication and hard work in preparing another magnificent floral tribute to La Virgen de Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn.

To send roses and your personal intentions to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, click here!

Group Photo - OLG Roses 2024