Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
ST Juan Diego
ST. JUAN DIEGO
Although we do not have many details about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, we know that he was born in the year 1474 in part of what is today Mexico City. The Catholic faith was brought to Mexico in 1519 when Cortez landed on the coast of Mexico, and there were Catholic priests with him. Juan Diego was among the first of his people to hear the Gospel, and in 1524, when he was 50 years old, Juan Diego was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr. Peter da Gand.
Juan Diego took his faith very seriously and attended daily Mass, walking many miles every morning. On December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request that he build a shrine at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out grace upon those who asked for her prayers.
Understandably, the Bishop at first did not believe Juan Diego, and he asked for some sign to prove that the apparition was true. On December 12th Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. The Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and even though it was winter time, he found roses blooming. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady, who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop. When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.
With the Bishop’s permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to ask for Mary’s intercession.
O God, who by means of Saint Juan Diego didst show the love of the most holy Virgin Mary for thy people: grant, through his intercession; that, by following the counsels our Mother gave at Guadalupe, we may be ever constant in fulfilling thy will; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
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