December 9: Blessed Juan Diego
Juan Diego is well-known because the Mother of God appeared to him. It was to Juan Diego that Mary first introduced herself to the world as Our Lady of Guadalupe. He lived in the sixteenth century when Mexico City was known as the Valley of Anahuac. Juan was a member of the Chichimeca people. They called him the talking eagle. His Christian name was Juan Diego.
After Juan's particular mission was completed, it is said that he became a hermit. He spent the rest of his life in prayer and penance. His little hut was near the first chapel that was built on Tepeyac Hill. He was greatly esteemed. Parents considered it their fondest wish to have their children grow up to be like Juan Diego.
Juan took care of the little church and met the pilgrims who began to come there to honor their Mother of Guadalupe. He would show them the miraculous tilma or cloak that preserves Mary's beautiful image.
Pope John Paul II declared Juan Diego "blessed" on May 14, 1990. The pope personally visited the magnificent church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He prayed there for all of the people of Mexico. He prayed especially for those who were killed during the terrible persecution of the Church in the early part of this century. He prayed for all the pilgrims who come to this beautiful church with such faith in the Mother of God.
Juan's encounter with Mary changed his life in a profound way. How can I allow the example of the Blessed Mother to affect the way that I live?