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The Feast of Juan Diego

Juan Diego

Juan Diego (b 1474)  was an Aztec Indian originally named Cuahtlatoatzin, which means, "The one who speaks like an eagle." 

It is said that even before the apparitions, Juan Diego was a pious and holy Christian, as was his wife.  They converted to the faith around 1525 and were baptized by one of the first Franciscan missionary priests, Father Peter deGrand.  Juan Diego was 50.  Although his wife, Maria Lucia died two years before the apparitions, the story goes that she wove the tilma that her husband wore during his visits with the Blessed Mother.  So in a way, Maria Lucia was part of the miracle as well.

Juan Diego was a poor Indian, of the lowest class in the Aztec Empire.  He referred to himself as a ""I am a nobody, I am a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end, a leaf" when talking to Our Lady and to the Bishop.

When they church proceeded with a formal investigation into the events surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe, it came out that Juan Diego was a very devoted and religious man. He would walk 14 miles from his village to receive his religious instruction in bare feet and thin clothing.

What I find particularly heartening is that this wonder occurred to him when he was 57 years old. Juan Diego moved into a room of the chapel where his tilma was displayed and lived to the age of 74. He is an inspiration to those of us of limited means and at the other end of life that we are still called to do great love and a life of holiness.

Juan Diego was canonized on July 31, 2002.  He is the patron saint of indigeneous people.


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