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Saint of December- St Juan Diego

Saint Juan Diego was born in 1474 in Cuauhtitlan, Mexico. He was one of the first to be baptised after the arrival of the first Franciscan missionaries in Mexico in 1524. In 1531 Our Lady appeared to St Juan Diego on three occasions at Tepeyac Hill. On Our Lady’s instructions, Juan Diego found and gathered roses from the summit of the hill, which was normally barren. Our Lady arranged the flowers in Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak). When he later opened the cloak in front of the initially sceptical local Bishop, the flowers fell to the floor revealing a miraculous image of Our Lady.

The image depicts Our Lady with Mexican mestizo features. The tilma is now displayed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a suburb of Mexico City. It is the most visited Catholic shrine in the world. Juan Diego was beatified in 1990 and canonised in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, who travelled on both occasions to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He was the first indigenous saint of the Americas. Saint Juan Diego’s feast day is celebrated on 9th December.

Written by Paul Cavadino

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