All waited with bated breath as the screen slowly lowered, revealing the smiling, serene face of Blessed Guadalupe. The subsequent explosion of joy was a fitting climax to the months of eager preparation for the beatification of Guadalupe. Ululations and screams of joy rent the air as the various translations of the formula for beatification were completed. An almost tangible excitement imbued the arena as some hugged one another while others stared transfixed at the picture of Blessed Guadalupe, tears giving vent to unbridled emotions.
Those of us who had travelled from East Africa were moved at seeing the incredible variety of people around us. The array of races and walks of life gave an eloquent testimony to the tremendous impact of the life of the new Blessed all over the world. Our Kenyan, Ugandan, Tanzanian and Rwandan flags soon found their places in the sea of waving colours as we joined the jubilant celebration.
It was a truly unforgettable event. The week we had spent in Madrid had helped make Blessed Guadalupe more familiar to all of us. We were able to spend time in prayer close to her mortal remains and visit the centre where she had lived. Those who had lived with her were only too happy to share their memories and every anecdote seemed to reach across time and make the figure of Blessed Guadalupe each time more real and accessible.
On the evening of the Beatification, we were lucky to take part in an exceptional family gathering with the Prelate of Opus Dei. The next day, our time in Madrid came to a memorable end, when after the Mass of Thanksgiving we were able to greet the Prelate and transmit to him the gratitude of all his East African children. His affectionate words and fatherly blessing engraved in each of us the awareness of how fortunate we had been to participate in the beatification of Blessed Guadalupe and spurred us to carry home with us great desires of imitating her holy life.