St Juan Diego
Celebrated on December 9th
Visionary and one of the first indigenous saints of the New World. Born in around 1474, Juan Diego was an Indian peasant who experienced a vision of Our Lady on Tepeyac hill on December 9, 1531. The bishop at the time did not believe his story until he returned with his cloak or tilma filled with roses. As he spread the roses onto the ground before the bishop - an image of Our Lady miraculously formed on the fabric. The tilma is now at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the feast is celebrated on 12 December.
Thousands of people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe July 31, 2002, for his canonization ceremony.
The Holy Father called the new saint "a simple, humble Indian" who accepted Christianity without giving up his identity as an Indian. "In praising the Indian Juan Diego, I want to express to all of you the closeness of the church and the pope, embracing you with love and encouraging you to overcome with hope the difficult times you are going through," John Paul said. Among the thousands present for the event were members of Mexico's 64 indigenous groups.