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Apparitions on Tepeyac Hill

Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Talking Eagle), to whom Our Blessed Mother appeared on Mount Tepeyac in December of 1531, was beatified in 1990 and canonized in 2002

by John Paul II in Guadalupe.

He was born in 1474 in Cuauhtitlan to the Texcoco tribe. At age fifty, he was baptized together with his wife, Maria Lucia, and fervently embraced the Catholic faith. Three years later Maria Lucia died during an epidemic. At dawn of December 9, 1531, the fifty-seven-year-old Aztec native was making his way to the church at Tlatelolco on the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. Upon reaching the brow of Tepeyac Hill, he heard what sounded like choirs of heavenly birds bursting into song, and then saw a beautiful young girl, who called out to him. Although Juan Diego was thunderstruck by the extraordinary beauty and kindness of this mysterious Woman, yet he felt no fear, only great happiness. Kneeling before her, he listened with rapt attention to her words. The girl introduced herself as “the Holy Virgin, the Mother of the True God.” “Am I not standing beside you — I, your Mother?” she said. “Do I not surround you with my care?” She bade him ask the bishop to have a church built on the site of her apparition. The Bishop, not believing Juan Diego, asked that the Mother of God give him a clear sign.

On December 12, Mary appeared to Juan again. She told him to climb to the hilltop and pick the beautiful Castilian roses that had mysteriously sprouted there — in the dead of winter. When he brought the flowers to her, she took them in her hands and arranged them inside Juan’s folded cloak (tilma). She then told him to take the roses to the bishop as a sign of her good faith. When the Aztec native unfurled his cloak before the bishop, Our Lady’s image miraculously appeared on its surface. The Bishop and those gathered with him fell on their knees in wonder. Later the prelate took Juan’s cloak with its marvelous image to his residential chapel. The church was subsequently built on the site of the apparition, and the Image was displayed there so that all might pray before it and seek the graces they needed. A new basilica was built in 1976. Each year over twenty million pilgrims visit Our Lady’s shrine in Guadalupe, where countless conversions and healings continue to take place.

Miracle leading
to the canonization
of St. Juan Diego

In May of 1990, while the Holy Father John Paul II was visiting Guadalupe for Juan Diego’s beatification, a young man named Jose Silva attempted suicide on the outskirts of the city. He leapt from a balcony ledge, but his desperate mother caught him by the leg of his trousers and held him, all the while calling on Blessed Juan Diego to come to her assistance. Unfortunately, she was unable to hold on, and Jose plummeted headfirst to the concrete floor thirty feet below, sustaining severe injuries to the skull. In view of the ensuing strokes and brain hemorrhages, the doctors described his state as critical.

Meanwhile, Jose’s mother continued to pray, calling on Blessed Juan Diego’s intercession. And then suddenly, despite the doctors’ grim prognoses, the mortally injured Jose was restored to full health. All traces of damage and injury to his head and brain had vanished. This sudden miraculous healing was attributed to the intercession of Blessed Juan Diego.

The doctors were genuinely shocked, for from a medical perspective this incident was unexplainable. In 1998, a commission of medical experts convened by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints concluded that Jose Silva’s healing was extraordinary, instantaneous, and enduring. In 2002, John Paul II solemnly declared that, “the extraordinary and enduring healing of Jose Silva, who, having fallen headfirst from a height of thirty feet onto a concrete floor and struck it with an estimated force of two tons, thus sustaining grave injuries to the skull and suffering numerous hematomas and intracranial hemorrhaging, constitutes a miracle wrought by God.”

Let us pray to St. Juan Diego, that he may help us daily in entrusting ourselves with great confidence and simplicity to Jesus through Mary.

Fr. M. Piotrowski SChr

Act of Consecration
to the Immaculate Heart
of Mary

Immaculate Mother of Jesus and my own Mother — Mary! Taking Servant of God John Paul II as my example, I say to you today, “Totus Tuus/Tota tua!” — I am all yours! To your Immaculate Heart I entrust my whole self, all that I am: my mind, my heart, my will, my body, my senses, my emotions, my memory, my hurts, my weaknesses, my past from the moment of conception, my present, and my future along with my bodily death, every step I take, my every thought, word, and deed. To your Immaculate Heart I also entrust my family and all that I own. To you I offer all my prayers, works, and sufferings. O Best of Mothers! Protect me and my loved ones from the Evil One. Entreat for us all the graces necessary for our transformation and healing. Guide us along the path of life and make use of us for the building up of the Kingdom of your Son Jesus Christ — the one Savior of the world, from whom all good things, truth, and life come. Amen.

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in August 2016.

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