Filed Under World War II

Our Lady of Guadalupe

A Symbol of Catholic Women in the Community

Gifted to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in 1945, the Our Lady of Guadalupe statue has been a cornerstone for the church community ever since. Not only has it been at the center of many of the church's events, but it also serves as a monument to the work of the women in the church community.

If you visit Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Miller Road, seek out the small chapel in the northwestern corner of the parish property. Within its walls rests Our Lady of Guadalupe, a statue of the Virgin Mary with deep connections to the church’s past, present, and future. Given to the church in 1945, the statue remained with the parish through its many growth spurts, travelling from the Old Adobe Mission to various places of honor on the Miller Road grounds, eventually settling in the small chapel.

The statue of Our Lady symbolizes many aspects of the Catholic faith: hope, devotion, and thanksgiving. Donated by local Scottsdale resident Guadalupe Dominguez at the end of World War II, the statue of the Virgin was born out of a mother’s hope for her son-in-law’s during the war and her gratitude when he returned home safely. Years later in 1953, church parishioners began a 13-year tradition of honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe with processions and an annual December pageant at Scottsdale High School. Behind the scenes, women worked on banners, costumes, props, and stage sets with Catholic pride and duty; young women performed in the pageant, one with the ultimate honor of representing Our Lady.

The gift of a mother, the statue also underlines the faith and work of women parishioners in Scottsdale’s Catholic community. Inspired by the values extolled by the Virgin Mary, women hold prominent places in Catholic culture as nuns, caregivers, teachers, and volunteers. The ladies of Our Lady of Perpetual Help are no exception: they played important roles in the leadership and fellowship activities of the parish since it began in 1933. After moving to Miller Road in the 1950s, the church operated a convent, established a women’s mission group, the Sodality of Our Lady, and founded a school with the help of the Sisters of Charity from Seton Hill, Pennsylvania.

Since February 1987, the statue in Our Lady’s chapel continues to be honored around the clock, each day of the year. From a mother’s prayer to pageants to perpetual adoration in her chapel, the statue of Our Lady is a constant reminder of women’s dedication and achievements within their Catholic faith community.

Audio

The Statue of Our Lady Written by Megan Keough; narrated by Joan Baron. Recorded at Scottsdale Channel 11; courtesy of the Papago Salado Association.

Images

Old Mission Church, 1950.
Old Mission Church, 1950. The Old Mission Church, the original site of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, was Scottsdale's first Catholic Church. This image shows the structure in 1950, a few years prior to the parish's construction of a larger building on Miller Road. Source: "SCOT-HIS-2009-0323," Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission Church - Scottsdale, Arizona, https://scottsdale.polarislibrary.com/polaris/search/title.aspx?ctx=1.1033.0.0.3&pos=1&cn=463541.
Pageant Preparations
Pageant Preparations A young woman named Margaret Medina is fitted for her costume as she prepares for her role as Our Lady in the Miracle of the Roses pageant. Young men and women rounded out the multicultural cast as Spanish soldiers and monks, Aztec leaders, Mexican townspeople, and the lead male role, Juan Diego. Source: Image courtesy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
Banner of Our Lady
Banner of Our Lady A woman puts the finishing touches on the banner of Our Lady. The banner would be the centerpiece of the December procession and pageant honoring the Virgin Mary and reenacting the Miracle of the Roses. Source: Image courtesy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
Miracle of the Roses Pageant
Miracle of the Roses Pageant The Miracle of the Roses pageant was held at Scottsdale High School each December from 1953 to 1966. This pageant honoring the Lady of Guadalupe brought together Scottsdale's Catholic community, government officials, and area businesses. Source: Image courtesy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
Miracle of the Roses Procession
Miracle of the Roses Procession In the Miracle of the Roses Procession each December, a banner of Our Lady was carried from the Old Adobe Mission to Scottsdale High School, where the pageant took place. After the play, Our Lady was returned to the mission. Source: Image courtesy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
Church and School, 1950s
Church and School, 1950s This image provides a panoramic view of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (far right) and school (center and left) shortly after its construction on Miller Road in the mid-1950s. The school opened in 1956 with 87 students. Source: Image courtesy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Location

Metadata

Stephanie McBride-Schreiner and Holly Solis, “Our Lady of Guadalupe,” Salt River Stories, accessed May 24, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/28.