What Is a Good Profile on Juan Diego?


Quick Answer

Juan Diego, formally known as Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and one of the most significant of the early indigenous saints of Latin America, particularly in Mexico. He is most frequently known for his claimed encounter with the Virgin Mary and the building of the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City.

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Legend says that in December 1531, Diego, a simple laborer, was walking to mass when he passed Tepeyac Hill where he heard strange music and a female voice calling out. Although dressed as an Aztec princess, she identified herself as the Virgin Mary and instructed Diego to tell his local bishop to build a church in that location. Unsurprisingly, the skeptical bishop asked for more proof of the encounter, but Diego, now worried about his dying uncle, missed another meeting with the Virgin's apparition. However, the Virgin appeared to Diego nonetheless to announce the healing of his uncle.

The Virgin then led Diego to some flowers growing upon frozen soil and told him to place them carefully inside his cloak. When Diego returned to the bishop, the flowers fell to the floor revealing the image of the Virgin's face glowing inside his cloak. The bishop soon built the church as instructed, a project that subsequently led to extensive conversions in the area. The basilica and the cloak remain objects of pilgrimage in the 21st century.

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