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Saint of the Day - Saint Juan Diego

You may recognize Saint Juan Diego as the seer of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and he was. But he was so much more. Read on ...

Juan Diego was a natural-born Mexican, meaning he was born in what we call Mexico today. At birth, his name was Cuauhtlatoatzin. He was born in 1474.

Juan was very young when his fatherr died and, like so many other saints, was sent to live with an uncle after the death of his father. With his uncle, Juan was given the classical upbringing in the Aztec pagan religion of the region. Even as a young child, Juan showed some signs of being a mystic.

In 1524, a group of 12 Franciscans arrived in the area. Juan was among the first to convert to the Catholic Faith and be baptized in the region. He was well known for his love of the Blessed Virgin Mary and respect to his local ordinary, Bishop Juan de Zumarraga. Juan was also known to travel long distances in order to receive religious instruction in his deeply-held Catholic Faith.

Juan's life was about to change radically when, on December 9, 1531, Juan was on his way to church to participate in Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. He was running late, so he was in a hurry. On his way, he was stopped by a beautiful and radiant woman who introdced herself to Juan in his native tongue, saying that she was "ever-perfect holy Mary, who has the honor to be the mother of the true God." Our Lady told Juan that she wanted a chapel built in her honor on Tepeyac Hill, the site of a former pagan shrine. Juan was to tell his Bishop about this.

When he approached Bishop de Zumarraga, he was told to give him time to reflect on all of this, which was clearly very shocking.

On the same day, Juan again encountered the beautiful and radiant lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He told her of his failure of the assigned mission and told her that he was not an important man and that someone else would have to do it. She insisted that he was the man for the job. On the next day, Juan again went to Bishop de Zumarraga and repeated his request from the previous day. This time, the bishop asked for proof that the lady was the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After leaving the bishop, Juan went straight to see the lady on Tepeyac Hill asnd told her what the bishop had said. She told him that she would provide the proof the next day. She instructed Juan to return then for the proof to take to the bishop.

However, on the next day, Juan's uncle was sick. Juan was very devoted to his uncle who had raised him. Juan loved him as a son loves a father. Juan stayed home to take care of his uncle. This was December 11, 1531.

The next day, Juan took a different route to town to find a priest for his uncle because he did not want to encounter the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was embarassed for having failed to come to her the day before. However, even on this different route, Juan encountered the beautiful and radiant lady. She asked him what was wrong, and he explained that his uncle was sick and he needed to get a priest for his uncle. He promised to return after he found a priest. Then Our Lady said, "No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?" (Am I not here, I who am your mother?). At this point, she told Juan that his uncle would recover (and he did).

Then Our Lady asked Juan to walk up the hill and collect the flowers at the top of the hill and put them in his tilma (similar to a cloak) and returned to Mary. Despite the arid and near desert conditions there, flowers were growing atop of the hill on rocky land. These roses happened to be Castillian roses which grow only in Spain and were the favorite flower of Bishop de Zumarraga. Juan returned to Our Lady, and she arranged them and sent Juan to Bishop de Zumarraga with the proof of who she was.

Juan returned to tjhe bishop and opened his tilma, where the roses fell out. Bishop de Zumarraga was faced with an image of Ourt Lady on the tilma of Juan Diego.

When Juan returned home, he found his uncle cured and discovered that he, too, had had a vision of Our Lady and she told him that she wanted the name Guadalupe to be part of her name.

For a time, Bishop de Zumarraga kept the tilma in a private chapel. However, when the church on Tepeyac Hill opened the next yerar, he put it on permanernt display.

Juan moved to a small hermitage on Tepeyac Hill and lived out his life of work and prayer there. He died on December 9, 1548, which was seventeen years to the day after the first apparitiion.

He was beatified on May 6, 1990 by Pope Saint John Paul II and canonized on July 31, 2002 also by Pope Saint John Paul II.

The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear our prayers and grant our desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

(Prayer copied from EWTN).

Join me at 3:30 p.m. Eastern fore the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to learn about San Juan Diego and to pray the St. Andrew Christmas Novena at:

If you want to listen top some great interviews, John Benko and I interviewed the original modern-day Catholic Defender, Steve Ray and we interviewed acclaimed Catholic musical artist Donna Cori Gibson. You can find those interviews at: 


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