Feast day: December 9
Patronage: America and Natives
Saint Juan Diego was an indigenous Mexican who embraced the Catholic faith, spread by the Spanish friars, that came with Cortez. On December 9th, 1531, Our Lady appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill (Guadalupe), as he was going to Mass, asking for a church to be built on that spot. After convincing the skeptical Bishop of the authenticity of the apparition, through Mary’s miraculous image on his tilma (cloak) and Castillian roses spilling out when he opened the tilma, the Bishop had the church built. Thousands of conversions occurred, when the tilma, with our Lady’s image on it, was processed through Mexico City. St. Juan Diego spent the rest of his life as the caretaker of the tilma and telling the story of the apparition. The tilma can be seen today in the basilica in Mexico City.