St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

St. Juan Diego was a native American peasant who is known for telling the world about Our Lady of Guadalupe. He was born in 1474 and lived in Cuautitlán, which is near Mexico City.

Every day he would walk to Mass some distance away. One of these days, he was going to church and came to a hill called Tepeyac. A beautiful woman appeared to him and identified herself as the Virgin Mary. She told Juan to go to the bishop and have him build a shrine to her.

Juan bravely went to see the bishop, but he was uncertain of his story and asked for a sign. In an apparition several days later, Our Lady told him to collect some flowers and take them to the bishop. Juan Diego took some flowers and put them in his tilma, or cloak. When he went to the bishop, the flowers spilled out and on his tilma was a beautiful image of Our Lady.

For more information about the significance of various parts of the image, see the article on Our Lady of Guadalupe.

He died in 1548. He was canonized in 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II. He was the first saint who was indigenous to the Americas.

Patron Saint of …

He is the patron saint of the indigenous people of the Americas.

Mass Readings for the Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

  • First Reading1 Corinthians 1:26-31: “Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”
  • Responsorial Psalm Psalm 131: “In you, Lord, I have found my peace.”
  • GospelMatthew 11:25: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”


St. Juan Diego Activity Patch

This patch encourages youth to learn about St. Juan Diego and to do activities related to him. Activities include making Castilian roses, drawing a picture, praying the rosary, and telling someone about Our Lady of Guadalupe. The patch is sponsored by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, but can be earned by any youth, whether in Scouts or not.

Another Juan Diego Patch

This patch is sponsored by the National Catholic Committee for Girl Scouts and Camp Fire, but can also be earned by any youth. To earn the patch, youth walk to a weekday Mass and attend Mass in a different language than their own. They also learn about evangelization and about multicultural ministries.

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