Layman (d. 1548)
+ According to venerable tradition, Juan Diego was an Aztec Indian who had converted to Christianity as an adult.
+ It was on this day in 1531 that he received the first of a number of visions of the Mother of God on “Mount Tepeyac,” near Mexico City.
+ in the final vision, on December 12, the Lady left an image of herself on Juan Diego’s cactus-fiber cloak. Today, this image is enshrined in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
+ Recognizing the long-standing devotion to this indigenous Mexican, Pope Saint John Paul II canonized Juan Diego in 2002.
+ The original shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was constructed in Mexico City between 1695 and 1710. In order to accommodate the great numbers of pilgrims who visit the shrine to honor the tilma each year, a new basilica was dedicated in 1976.
For prayer and reflection
“In accepting the Christian message without forgoing his indigenous identity, Juan Diego discovered the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God. Thus he facilitated the fruitful meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expressed her spiritual motherhood which embraces all Mexicans.”—Pope Saint John Paul II
On this day, we also remember Saint Ethelgiva (Æthelgifu) of Shaftesbury. The daughter of the King Alfred the Great, she founded and served as first abbess of the acclaimed Shaftesbury Abbey in Dorset, England. Saint Ethelgiva died in 896.
O God, who by means of Saint Juan Diego showed
the love of the most holy Virgin Mary for your people,
grant, through his intercession,
that, by following the counsels our Mother gave at Guadalupe,
we may be ever constant in fulfilling your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.