The Gates of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Part 2)

By Christopher Zoukis

Not only was the image on the Tilma a miracle, but miracles continued to escort the image’s passage through time.  In 1785, nitric acid was inadvertently spilled on the Tilma.  Regarding this incident, Dr. Orozco stated, “Besides any natural explanation, the acid has not destroyed the fabric of the cloth, indeed it has not even destroyed the colored parts of the image.”

The second miracle occurred in 1921, when a bomb exploded in close proximity to the Tilma.  The force of the blast shattered the marble flooring, blew out windows 150 meters away, and warped a brass crucifix.  The Tilma and the glass pane protecting it remained unscathed.  Dr. Orozco said, “There are no explanations why the shockwave that broke windows 150 meters afar did not destroy the normal glass that protected the image.  Some people said that the Son by means of the brass crucifix protected the image of His Mother.  The real fact is that we don’t have a natural explanation for this event.”[1]

The eight gates of St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in Los Angeles are the portal to this miraculous manifestation of the power of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  But the eight gates no longer reside in St. Vibiana’s.  For the Northridge earthquake of 1994 damaged the cathedral.  Declared unsafe, St. Vibiana’s was closed up, and architects began planning Our Lady of the Angels, which would replace St. Vibiana’s.  Meanwhile, construction crews descended upon St. Vibiana’s, dismantling the interior of the cathedral.  Stained glass windows, marble fixtures, altars, along with various other artifacts were crated up, and hauled away to storage, where they would await completion of the new cathedral.

Dan Giles, former social worker and poet, was a member of the construction crew charged with taking apart St. Vibiana’s.  Giles and his crew removed the pews, which were either transported to a Korean church or placed in storage.  Once that job was accomplished, a construction supervisor instructed Giles to disassemble the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Giles was to remove the steel gates and stack them in a stairwell next to the parking lot.  The gates had been installed in 1922, in response to the 1921 bombing of the original image in Mexico, because St. Vibiana’s parishioners were determined to protect their shrine in Los Angeles from a similar attack.   

A few years later, in 1999, the cathedral business manager asked Giles how much he would charge to remove the gates, haul them away.  Giles responded that he would take them, no charge.  The manager issued Giles with a receipt for the gates, which Giles transported to his home.  A neighbor offered Giles $3000 for one of the eight gates.  Giles refused the offer.

To Giles, it seemed blasphemous that the shrine had been dismantled and the eight gates simply tossed aside like so much trash.  The gates were not only the physical embodiment of a miraculous religious narrative, they were precious sculptures, genuine examples of fine art.  Therefore, Giles dedicated himself to the task of finding an appropriate home for the gates.  Giles believed the gates transcended organized religion.  The gates were intended for all mankind.  When the Virgin Mary made her appearance in 1531, she did so in affirmation of her Son, the person of Jesus, who offered love, justice, and eternal life to everyone. 

Giles’ devotion to the message of the eight gates inspired his poem, “Realistic Happiness.”

What is the nature of being and reality within this essentially mental Universe of more than 100 billion

 Galaxies, where every atom of every-thing was once exiting an exploding nova star,

Yet science has no answer for the source of life or mentality?

Paradoxically, there is no such thing as a solid any-thing.

Every-thing is subatomic empty space:  and yet we are in it, we are of it, and we are

Self-aware.  How then can the primal-cause not be self-aware?

The measuring intellect is without question a priceless tool; however

Love is, and has no equal for healing dis-ease when we are in need of

Refreshing from the “slings and arrows” of daily logistics.

Physics has proven an intimate inter-connection of each human

Consciousness with all others as our anger, greed and love degree

Resonates one with another.  Correspondingly our neuro-patterns accumulate

Reflections in the environmental mirror.

We heard “the cynic has a lonely harbor.”  We heard that Socrates said,

“Death brings either dreamless sleep or we will be with our attitude equal.”

For the last twelve years, Dan Giles has sought an appropriate location for the eight, gold colored gates.  He has offered the gates to numerous museums and cultural centers, including the Mayor’s Commission of Olvera Street, in Los Angeles.  In each instance, discussions broke down for one reason or another.  For two years the gates were on display in Portland, Oregon, where they could be viewed at anytime of the day or night.  A documentary film was made about the eight gates and Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Entitled “Gift of Love,” in 2005, the film was honored with an award at the international film festival in Goa, India.

At the present time, Giles has settled on an eBay auction for the eight gates.  The auction will be non-Catholic, and funds from the winning bid will be used to establish a scholarship fund.  He believes a scholarship fund will satisfy the revelation of the eight gates and Our Lady of Guadalupe:  “She the gate that bore the child.”


[1] “Our Lady of Guadalupe ‘completely beyond’ scientific explanation, says researcher,” Catholic News Agency, 2009.