Saint Juan Diego

Born: Tenochtitlan, 1474

Died: Mexico City, 1548

Feast Day: December 9

St Juan Diego Part 1 (WM).jpg

St. Juan Diego was a member of the Chichimeca people, born in the region that is today Mexico City in 1474, prior to the arrival of European Christians in the Americas. He accepted baptism at the age of 50 from a Franciscan missionary.

 

While the Spanish colonial powers violently overthrew various ancient Indigenous societies, many Spanish missionaries and writers—such as St. Junípero Serra and Bartolomé de las Casas—worked to uplift and protect Indigenous peoples from the atrocities of the colonial powers. In the case of Juan Diego, this uplifting of the Indigenous experience came more directly from the source: the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan with the features of an Indigenous woman, supported by an angel bearing features of traditional Indigenous religion in the area.

 

Mary asked for a shrine to be built to her at the site of the appearance, Tepeyac Hill. To give demonstrable proof of his vision to his skeptical bishop, Mary collected roses in Juan’s mantle, which, when unfurled, bore Mary’s image: Our Lady of Guadalupe. He spent the rest of his life as a hermit near the site, serving the pilgrims who came to express their devotion to Mary of the Americas.

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Suggested Books

  • Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe by Josephine Nobisso (Amazon)

  • Juan Diego: Mary's Humble Messenger by Barbara Yoffie (Amazon)

  • Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love by Carl Anderson & Eduardo Chávez (Amazon)

  • For Children: Talking Eagle and the Lady of Roses: The Story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe by Amy Córdova (Amazon)

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