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December 9

St Juan Diego - December 9

Saint Juan Diego


(1474 – 1548)

“Let not your heart be disturbed.
Do not fear that sickness,
nor any other sickness or anguish.
Am I not here, who is your Mother?
Are you not under my protection?
Am I not your health?
Are you not happily within my fold?
What else do you wish?
Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”

Saint Juan Diego spoken to by Our Lady on December 9, 1531

His Early Life

Juan was born in 1474 in Cuauhtitlán, Mexico (today part of Mexico City, Mexico), to an Aztec tribe. He was given the name Cuauhtlatoatzin, or “the talking eagle.” Juan was a free man that was in the poorest class of the Aztecs, besides that of the slaves, in a strongly class-conscious society. He was a member of the Chichimeca people. He worked the land as a framworker and field laborer and wove mats for a living. Juan was a mystical and religious man even before his conversion.

Married and Baptized

Juan was married to María Lucía.  Juan and María had no children. A group of twelve Franciscan missionaries arrived in Mexico in 1524. When Juan was 50 years old, he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. He took the name Juan Diego at his baptism.

Early Devout Christian

Juan Diego, as a devout neophyte, was in the habit of regularly walking from his home to the Franciscan mission station at Tlatelolco for religious instruction and to perform his religious duties. His route passed by the hill at Tepeyac.

First Apparition

On December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. Bishop Juan Zumárraga, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true.

Second Apparition

Later the same day as Juan was returning to Tepeyac, he encountered the Virgin again. Juan announced the failure of his mission by stating “I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf.” He said this suggesting that she would do better to recruit someone of greater standing. Our Lady insisted that Juan was whom she wanted for the task. Juan agreed to return to the bishop to repeat his request. On the morning of Sunday, December 10, Juan did this and found the bishop more compliant. The bishop, however, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was truly of heaven.

Third Apparition

Juan Diego returned immediately to Tepeyac. He encountered the Virgin Mary and reported the bishop’s request for a sig. Our Lady agreed to provide one on the following day (December 11).

By Monday, December 11, however, Juan’s uncle Juan Bernardino had fallen sick. Juan was obliged to attend to him. In the very early hours of Tuesday, December 12, his uncle’s condition deteriorated overnight. So, Juan set out to Tlatelolco to get a priest to hear his uncle’s confession and minister to him on his death-bed.

Fourth Apparition

In order to avoid being delayed by the Virgin and embarrassed at having failed to meet her on the Monday as agreed, Juan chose another route around the hill. But, Our Lady intercepted him and asked where he was going. Juan explained what had happened.

Our Lady gently chided him for not having had recourse to her. In the words which have become the most famous phrase of the Guadalupe event and are inscribed over the main entrance to the Basilica of Guadalupe, the Blessed Virgin asked: “¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?” (“Am I not here, I who am your mother?”). She assured him that his uncle had now recovered. Our Lady told him to climb the hill and collect flowers growing there. Obeying her, Juan found an abundance of flowers unseasonably in bloom on the rocky outcrop where only cactus and scrub normally grew.

Using his open mantle as a sack (with the ends still tied around his neck) he returned to the Virgin. Our Lady rearranged the flowers and told him to take them to the bishop. On gaining admission to the bishop in Mexico City later that day, Juan Diego opened his mantle, the flowers poured to the floor. The bishop saw they had left on the mantle an imprint of the Virgin’s image which he immediately venerated. This image became know as the Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Fifth Apparition

The next day Juan found his uncle fully recovered, as the Virgin had assured him. His uncle recounted that he too had seen her, at his bed-side and that she had instructed Juan to inform the bishop of this apparition and of his miraculous cur. Our Lady also had told his uncle that she desired to be known under the title of Guadalupe. The Bishop kept Juan’s flowery mantle first in his private chapel and then in the church on public display where it attracted great attention. On December 26, 1531, a procession formed for taking the miraculous image back to Tepeyac where it was installed in a small, hastily erected chapel.

First Miracle

In the course of this procession, the first miracle was allegedly performed when an indigenous man was mortally wounded in the neck by an arrow shot by accident during some stylized martial displays executed in honour of the Virgin. In great distress, the indigenous carried him before the Virgin’s image and pleaded for his life. Upon the arrow being withdrawn, the victim made a full and immediate recovery.

His Death

With the Bishop’s permission, Juan lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here, Juan cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.

Juan died in May 30, 1548  in Tepeyac, Mexico City, Mexico. He was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on May 6, 1990 by Pope Saint John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City. Saint Juan Diego is depicted with a tilma with the impressed image of the Virgin Mary and roses. Saint Juan Diego is the first Catholic indigenous saint from the Americas.

Born :                    1474 in Cuautitlán, Mexico

Died:                     May 30, 1548  in Tepeyac, Mexico City, Mexico

Beatified:             May 6, 1990 by Pope Saint John Paul II

Canonized:          July 31, 2002 by Pope Saint John Paul II

Feast Day:           December 9

Patron Saint:     World Youth Day 2019



Saint Juan Diego was a humble and devout indigenous man from Mexico who had converted to Christianity. His steadfast faith and humility made him a receptive vessel for the divine message. His life exemplifies the idea that holiness is not confined to the powerful or influential but is accessible to all who approach God with sincerity and devotion.

How can you be a receptive vessel for God’s message today? No matter your status, you can approach God and request his grace so you can be a shining vessel to do His Will for all you encounter today.


Saint Juan Diego, humble servant of God,
you who received the blessed apparitions of our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Mercy,
we turn to you in prayer and supplication.
You humbly recognized the divine presence and carried out our Lady’s mission with unwavering faith.

We ask your humble intercession in heaven to assist all those who doubt the power of God, Our Lady, and all the Saints.  May your example of fidelity and service inspire us to holiness as much as your miraculous tilma.

Pray for us that we may encounter God’s presence in our everyday lives and respond with love and devotion.
Guide us to be bridges of faith, unity, and understanding in a world divided by cultural and social differences.


Saint Juan Diego, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Who was St. Juan Diego?

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Catholic Exchange – Saint Juan Diego, Model for the Lay Apostolate by Dan Lynch

Catholic Fire – St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

Catholic Ireland – Dec 9 – St Juan Diego (1474-1548) Mexican visionary

Catholic News Agency – St. Juan Diego Feast day: Dec 09

Daily Prayers – Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

Franciscan Media – Saint Juan Diego

Independent Catholic News

Loyola Press – Saint Juan Diego, 1474-1548 Feast Day December 9

My Catholic Life – Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

Newman Ministry – Saint Juan Diego

Reason2BCatholic – Saints Alive! | St Juan Diego

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Juan Diego (1474-1548)

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Juan Diego’s Story

Saints for Sinners – Saint Juan Diego

Sanctoral – Saint Juan Diego Visionary of Our Lady of Guadelupe (1474-1548)

uCatholic – Saint Juan Diego

Vatican – Canonization of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin – Homily of the Holy Father John Paul II


Video Link

Saint of the Day — Juan Diego — Dec. 9th – YouTube (Church Militant)

Saint Juan Diego – YouTube (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Juan Diego – YouTube (CatholicSaints.Info)