St Juan Diego, Hermit – Feast Day – December 9 2023

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Today is Wednesday, February 21, 2024

St Juan Diego, Hermit was also known as Cuauhtlatoatzin. He is the one who was granted apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1531 on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico.

It is from these apparitions that the veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe started.

He was born in 1474 in Cuautitlán, Mexico, and died on December 9 1548 in Tepeyac, Mexico City, Mexico.

We celebrate his feast day on December 9 every year in the Catholic Church.

St Juan Diego Biography
St Juan Diego, Hermit - Feast Day - December 9
St Juan Diego, Hermit – Feast Day – December 9 2023
Date of Birth 1474
Country of Birth Mexico in South America
Profession Hermit
Place of Work Mexico
Date of Death December 9 1548
Place of Death Tepeyac, Mexico
Feast Day December 9
Beatification By Pope John Paul II on May 6 1990 at the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City
Canonization By Pope John Paul II on July 31 2002 at the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City
Patron Saint of Indigenous Peoples

St Juan Diego’s Life History

Little is known about Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin’s life before his conversion. However, insights into the saint’s background come from tradition, archaeological and iconographical sources, and the primary indigenous document on the Guadalupe event, “El Nican Mopohua” (authored in Náhuatl with Latin characters in 1556 by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano).

Juan Diego, originally named “Cuauhtlatoatzin” (meaning “the talking eagle”), was born in 1474 in Cuautlitlán, now part of Mexico City.

After his father’s early death, he was raised by his uncle. Notable for his religious devotion, respectful demeanor toward the Virgin Mary and Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, and unwavering care for his ailing uncle, Juan Diego belonged to the Chichimeca people – a culturally advanced group in the Anáhuac Valley.

At the age of 50, Juan Diego and his wife, María Lucía, were baptized by Fr. Peter da Gand, a Franciscan missionary.

On December 9, 1531, while on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of present-day Mexico City.

She instructed him to approach the Bishop and request the construction of a shrine at Tepeyac in her name, promising to bestow her grace upon those who invoked her.

Juan Diego revisited Tepeyac and encountered the Virgin Mary once more, confessing his inability to fulfill her request.

He explained his perceived lack of importance, but she insisted he was the chosen one. The skeptical Bishop, seeking proof, asked for a sign.

Returning to Tepeyac, Juan Diego informed the Virgin Mary of the Bishop’s request. She agreed to provide evidence the following day, December 11.

However, a family emergency arose as Juan Diego’s uncle fell seriously ill. Despite his urgency to find a priest, Juan Diego was intercepted by the Virgin Mary, who inquired about his troubles. He explained the situation and promised to return after securing a priest for his uncle.

The Virgin Mary assured him that his uncle would recover and asked, “No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?).

She instructed Juan Diego to climb the hill, gather the blooming roses in winter, and bring them to the Bishop as “proof.” Upon opening his mantle, the flowers transformed into an image of the Blessed Mother, the Tepeyac apparition.

The next day, Juan Diego found his uncle miraculously healed. His uncle, too, had encountered the Virgin Mary, who expressed her desire for a church on Tepeyac Hill and revealed her wish to be known as Guadalupe.

Word of Juan Diego’s miracle spread, making him well-known, yet he remained humble. The Bishop initially kept Juan Diego’s imprinted cloak in his private chapel but later displayed it in the church on Tepeyac Hill the following year.

During a procession to Tepeyac Hill, a celebratory arrow struck a participant in the throat. Placed in front of the miraculous image of Mary, the man was healed, marking the first miracle associated with the cloak.

With the Bishop’s approval, Juan Diego spent the remainder of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was venerated.

In this humble abode, he attended to the church and the initial pilgrims who sought to pray to the Mother of Jesus.

He continued this dedicated service until his passing on December 9, 1548, 17 years after the first apparition.

Beyond being “chosen” as Our Lady’s “messenger,” Juan Diego received a deeper grace of inner enlightenment.

This transformative experience led him to a life devoted to prayer, virtuous living, and boundless love for God and neighbor. He was laid to rest in the initial chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The miraculous image, housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, portrays a woman with indigenous features and attire, supported by an angel with wings reminiscent of a major deity in the local traditional religion.

Beneath her feet is the moon, and her blue mantle is adorned with gold stars. The black girdle around her waist signifies her pregnancy, symbolizing the imminent “birth” of Christ among the peoples of the New World—a message as relevant today as it was in Juan Diego’s time.

In the early 20th century Mexican revolutions, attempts by nonbelievers to destroy the Image with an explosion resulted in extensive damage to the altar’s marble steps, flower holders, and basilica windows. Remarkably, the glass pane protecting the Image remained unscathed.

Juan Diego’s imprinted cloak has endured in perfect preservation since 1531. The “Basilica of Guadalupe” on Tepeyac Hill has become one of the most-visited Catholic shrines worldwide.

Pope John Paul II beatified St. Juan Diego on May 6, 1990, in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City.

He was later canonized on July 31, 2002. His feast day is celebrated on December 9, and he is recognized as the patron saint of Indigenous people.

Today’s Saint Juan Diego Feast Day Quote:

“As a compassionate mother to you and yours, to my devotees, to those who should seek me for the relief of their necessities”

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About Laban Thua Gachie 10721 Articles
The founder of Catholicreadings.org is Laban Thua Gachie. I am a Commissioned Lector, a commissioned Liturgy Minister, and a Commissioned member of the Catholic Men Association. We at Catholic Daily Readings, operate the catholicreadings.org, a Catholic Church-related website and we pride ourself in providing you, on a daily basis the following; 1. Catholic Daily Mass Readings 2. Reflections on those Daily Readings 3. Daily prayers 4. Bible Verse of the Day 5. Saint of the Day