Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

Matthew 11:28-30 

My yoke is easy and my burden light

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

Isaiah 40:25-31 

The Lord strengthens the powerless

‘To whom could you liken me

and who could be my equal?’ says the Holy One.

Lift your eyes and look.

Who made these stars

if not he who drills them like an army,

calling each one by name?

So mighty is his power, so great his strength,

that not one fails to answer.

How can you say, Jacob,

how can you insist, Israel,

‘My destiny is hidden from the Lord,

my rights are ignored by my God’?

Did you not know?

Had you not heard?

The Lord is an everlasting God,

he created the boundaries of the earth.

He does not grow tired or weary,

his understanding is beyond fathoming.

He gives strength to the wearied,

he strengthens the powerless.

Young men may grow tired and weary,

youths may stumble,

but those who hope in the Lord renew their strength,

they put out wings like eagles.

They run and do not grow weary,

walk and never tire.

Psalm 102(103):1-4,8,10 

My soul, give thanks to the Lord.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

  all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

  and never forget all his blessings.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord.

It is he who forgives all your guilt,

  who heals every one of your ills,

who redeems your life from the grave,

  who crowns you with love and compassion.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord.

The Lord is compassion and love,

  slow to anger and rich in mercy.

He does not treat us according to our sins

  nor repay us according to our faults.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Domestic Church

1655 Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. the Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers “together with all [their] household.” When they were converted, they desired that “their whole household” should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.

1656 In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica. It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.”

1657 It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way “by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.” Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.” Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous – even repeated – forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.

1658 We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live – often not of their choosing – are especially close to Jesus’ heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. the doors of homes, the “domestic churches,” and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. “No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who ‘labor and are heavy laden.’”


Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, also known as Juan Diego (Spanish pronunciation: [ˌxwanˈdjeɣo]; 1474–1548), was a Chichimec peasant and Marian visionary. He is said to have been granted apparitions of the Virgin Mary on four occasions in December 1531: three at the hill of Tepeyac and a fourth before Don Juan de Zumárraga, then bishop of Mexico. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, located at the foot of Tepeyac, houses the cloak (tilmahtli) that is traditionally said to be Juan Diego’s, and upon which the image of the Virgin is said to have been miraculously impressed as proof of the authenticity of the apparitions.

Juan Diego’s visions and the imparting of the miraculous image, as recounted in oral and written colonial sources such as the Nicān mopōhua, are together known as the Guadalupe event (Spanish: el acontecimiento Guadalupano), and are the basis of the veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This veneration is ubiquitous in Mexico, prevalent throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas, and increasingly widespread beyond.As a result, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is now one of the world’s major Catholic pilgrimage destinations, receiving 22 million visitors in 2010.

Juan Diego is the first Catholic saint indigenous to the Americas. He was beatified in 1990 and canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, who on both ocassions traveled to Mexico City to preside over the ceremonies.

Guadalupe narrative

The following account is based on that given in the Nican mopohua which was first published in Nahuatl in 1649 as part of a compendious work known as the Huei tlamahuiçoltica. No part of that work was available in Spanish until 1895 when, as part of the celebrations for the coronation of the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in that year, there was published a translation of the Nican Mopohua dating from the 18th century. This translation, however, was made from an incomplete copy of the original. Nor was any part of the Huei tlamahuiçoltica republished until 1929, when a facsimile of the original was published by Primo Feliciano Velásquez together with a full translation into Spanish (including the first full translation of the Nican Mopohua), since then the Nican Mopohua, in its various translations and redactions, has supplanted all other versions as the narrative of preference. The precise dates in December 1531 (as given below) were not recorded in the Nican Mopohua, but are taken from the chronology first established by Mateo de la Cruz in 1660.

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: at dawn on Saturday December 9, 1531, while on his usual journey, he encountered the Virgin Mary who revealed herself as the ever-virgin Mother of God and instructed him to request the bishop to erect a chapel in her honour so that she might relieve the distress of all those who call on her in their need. He delivered the request, but was told by the bishop (Fray Juan Zumárraga) to come back another day after he had had time to reflect upon what Juan Diego had told him. Second apparition, later the same day: returning to Tepeyac, Juan Diego encountered the Virgin again and announced the failure of his mission, suggesting that because he was “a back-frame, a tail, a wing, a man of no importance” she would do better to recruit someone of greater standing, but she insisted that he was whom she wanted for the task. Juan Diego agreed to return to the bishop to repeat his request. This he did on the morning of Sunday, December 10, when he 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 and, encountering the Virgin Mary reported the bishop’s request for a sign; she condescended to provide one on the following day (December 11).

By Monday, December 11, however, Juan Diego’s uncle Juan Bernardino had fallen sick and Juan Diego was obliged to attend to him. In the very early hours of Tuesday, December 12, Juan Bernardino’s condition having deteriorated overnight, Juan Diego set out to Tlatelolco to get a priest to hear Juan Bernardino’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 Diego chose another route around the hill, but the Virgin intercepted him and asked where he was going; Juan Diego explained what had happened and the Virgin 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, she asked: “No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?” (“Am I not here, I who am your mother?”). She assured him that Juan Bernardino had now recovered and she told him to climb the hill and collect flowers growing there. 

Obeying her, Juan Diego 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; she re-arranged 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, and the bishop saw they had left on the mantle an imprint of the Virgin’s image which he immediately venerated.

Fifth apparition: the next day Juan Diego found his uncle fully recovered, as the Virgin had assured him, and Juan Bernardino recounted that he too had seen her, at his bed-side; that she had instructed him to inform the bishop of this apparition and of his miraculous cure; and that she had told him she desired to be known under the title of Guadalupe. The bishop kept Juan Diego’s 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. In the course of this procession, the first miracle was allegedly performed when an Indian 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 Indians 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.

Source: Wikipedia