St. Juan Diego is a Mexican saint who converted to Catholicism and experienced an incredible vision of Our Lady. His story is also incredible.
Visions of Our Lady
Juan Diego and his wife were some of the first converts to Catholicism from the Aztec religion of Mexico in his region after Franciscan missionaries came in the early 16th century (woo for converts!). He was a very fervent man and received instruction from the missionaries.
On his way to Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, he encountered Our Lady, who spoke in his native tongue and was radiant. She told him she was mother of God and all of those who lived in his land. She asked him to make a request of the bishop to build a chapel on Tepeyac Hill. Juan Diego went to the bishop, but he didn’t believe him (why is this always the case?!). Our Lady appeared to him a second time, and he told her that he had failed and that he was obviously not the man for the job. However, she assured him that she had chosen him. Juan Diego visited the bishop again, but the Bishop asked for proof that the vision was true (I guess that’s fair).
Flowers from the Hill
Our Lady told Juan Diego that she would provide the needed proof the next day. However, Juan Diego’s uncle was ill and he missed this meeting with Our Lady. After caring for his uncle, he rushed to meet Our Lady, but she met him as he was coming to see her. He told her about his uncle and that he needed to find him a priest. She reassured him that she was his mother, and that his uncle would be cured. She instructed him to climb the hill and collect flowers.
He climbed the hill and found many flowers blooming on the hill (in December too!). He filled his tilma (cloak) with flowers and she told him to go see the bishop. Upon seeing the bishop, he opened his tilma, revealing all of the flowers and an imprinted image of Our Lady (there’s your proof bishop! Bam!). Juan Diego’s uncle was healed around this time, after also experiencing a vision of Our lady in which she told him to build a church on Tepeyac Hill and call her Guadalupe.
Juan Diego’s tilma was put on display in the chapel on Tepeyac Hill and he became well known. Many miracles have been attributed to the image, and it has survived several attempts to destroy it (rock on!). St. Juan Diego’s feast day is December 9.
Why a tilma?
Juan Diego and his wife converted to Catholicism in Mexico in the 16th century and a few years later, he experienced a vision of Our Lady on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. She asked him to build a church on Tepeyac Hill, but he was unable to convince the bishop, so he asked Our Lady for help. She told him to go to the top of the hill and fill his tilma (cloak) with flowers. When he returned to the bishop, he opened his flower-filled tilma, revealing the imprinted image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Who would be friends with St. Juan Diego?
- Indigenous people
- Those who struggle with self-confidence
- Those with sick relatives
- Gardeners (the flowers bloomed in December – that is miraculous!)
- Inhabitants of the Americas
Keep St. Juan Diego’s incredible story and faith a part of your life by purchasing his medal in our shop here.