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Saint Juan Diego

Updated on February 9, 2010

About Saint Juan Diego

Ever wonder who the first indigenous American to be canonized into sainthood was? Well it was St. Juan Diego and his birth took place in July of 1747. His place of birth is Calpulli, Mexico. Since he is the first indigenous born American to be named a saint, he is remembered as their patron saint.

Saint Juan was expected to do as his parents told him when he was growing up. He was told to tend to the fields his parents had and to cultivate the crops there to be sold at a local market. Juan saw a vision one morning while on his way to daily Mass. A voice came down to him from above and started telling him to follow it. Saint Juan listened to the voice and obeyed it's wishes until it led him to the top of a hill that was fairly close by. There he saw an Aztec princess, dressed in typical attire of the Aztec royalty.

Juan was informed that he was to start the production of a church on the hill that they stood on. The vision claimed to be the Virgin Mary, and told him to consult his local bishop about getting the work on the church started.

Juan Diego took this very seriously, as he should have, and ended up going straight to his bishop to talk. His bishop gave him a hard time though. He would not believe Juan without concrete evidence that he was not lying. Juan had nothing of that sort, just his good word, so he headed back to the hill to see if the Virgin Mary was still there.

A man stopped Juan on his journey and brought some bad news to him. He told Juan his uncle was about to pass away. Juan was grief stricken and did not know what to do. He chose to go be with his uncle, but on his way to the house Mary appeared to him once again. She said that his uncle would be watched over and would survive. Juan trusted Mary and headed back to the hill.

Mary had told Juan to get to the highest possible location the mountain held. When he reached the location Juan found a large number of flowers growing on the frozen tip of the mountain. He brought these flowers to the bishop to show proof something strange was going on at that hill.

Saint Juan succeeded in showing the bishop something was really up because when he dropped the flowers onto the desk in the bishop's office, an picture in the likeness of Mary showed up on his chest. This was all the bishop needed to see to believe Juan.

The bishop and Juan organized the construction of the church, and it was started relatively soon after the incident of the Virgin Mary on Saint Juan's chest. That church went on to be famous for the number of indigenous people it sucessfully converted to Christianity. Sadly, Juan Diego died on May 30, 1548. Saint Juan Diego wasn't canonized until 2002 when he was canonized by Pope Juan Paul II.


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