The Basilica’s image of Our Blessed Lady of Guadalupe, installed in 1947, is a replica of the original image of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin on Tepeyac Hill, which hangs in the Basilica of Mexico City. The painting was donated by the Mexican Society of the parish. The frame, of intricately hand-carved gold leaf flowers and foliage, is from Monterrey, Mexico. The altar was donated in memory of Dorothy Needham Krebs by her father and husband. Dorothy and Edgar Krebs were married at the Basilica in 1940.
A 1947 Apostolate Magazine article describing the dedication ceremony of the Altar to the Lady of Guadalupe follows.
At long last, our Blessed Lady, under her beautiful title of Guadalupe will receive special love and homage at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in San Antonio, Texas. The hearts of her children are gladdened because La Morenita now has a Shrine in their midst. Here they will come, young and old, rich and poor, to tell their Mother all of their troubles, to ask her help in their trials and to find peace and consolation before her miraculous Image. Within the beautiful shrine dedicated to St. Thérèse, there is a little piece of the ancient mount of Tepeyac from which our Lady of Guadalupe will shower down the roses of her love upon all her children who come to visit her.
On Sunday, September 21, 1947, the Solemn Blessing of La Guadalupana’s Altar took place. Amidst a large crowd of people, she was welcomed into their midst. More than 400 people took a special part in the ceremony and added to the solemn welcome given to their Mother, our Lady of Guadalupe. Very Reverend Father Bartholomew Soler, OCD, Prior and Pastor, blessed the Altar assisted by Rev. Father Alexander, OCD, as Deacon and Very Reverend Father Helladius, OCD, as Subdeacon. Father Alexander preached a very beautiful and inspiring sermon on our Blessed Lady, exhorting the people to be very devoted to her.
The altar is constructed of American white Vermont marble. The Image of Our Blessed Lady was painted by a Mexican artist of reputation and fame, Mr. A. G. Guerra. It is a most perfect replica of the Original that is venerated in the Basilica in Mexico City.
This Altar was given to the National Shrine in memory of Mrs. Dorothy Needham Krebs, by her husband, Mr. E. M. Krebs and her father, Mr. Needham. To these people a very great debt of gratitude comes from the Parishioners of the Little Flower Parish. How many individuals will not find consolation at the feet of Guadalupe! How many graces will not flow from her Hands to the hearts and souls of her children! Yes, this altar will be a source of much spiritual joy to the Mexican people. To them, it will be a reminder of home. It will carry them back to their Patria. In spirit they will revisit the shrines of Our Lady that they knew in their native land. Here in San Antonio, she will be ever with them, reliving again the Promise which she made to Juan Diego: “I am the mother of the Mexican People. I will protect them and be their refuge.”
We pray our Lady of Guadalupe to bless her children and above all to show her maternal love and affection upon those whose charity has made this shrine a reality. May she bless all those who come to her and grant the humble prayers and petitions they place before her. May the Altar of La Morenita be a spiritual pivot for all of her children, where they will be reminded of the great privilege that the Mother of God has given to them. Yes, they are the special children of Mary–she is their Mother and Queen. This Altar dedicated to her will be a constant reminder of this beautiful love which exists between a Mother and her Children. Yes, it is a little part of Tepeyac.
This altar, matching the one of the Infant Jesus of Prague was constructed of American white Vermont marble by Rodriguez Memorials. The altar was made to match that of the Tomb Chapel by M. R. Rangel of Gateway Iron Works of San Antonio. Later a small brass plaque was added to the gate that fronts the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It reads, IN MEMORY OF FR. GABRIEL HENTRIECH OCD 16 NOV. 1915 – 10 JAN. 1992.