Known for simple faith, humility, and devotion to doctrinal exposition, St. Juan Diego was beatified and canonized by Pope John Paul II. His feast day is Dec. 9. He was born in 1474 about 15 miles north of modern Mexico City. Farm hand, mat maker, and field worker, he was born poor in a society devoted to class distinctions.
Mystical and spiritual, he grew up pagan converting to Christianity around 1525 while assuming the name of Juan Diego. He was said to walk 15 miles to attend Mass. He lost his wife in 1529 and had a profound vision of the Virgin Mary on Dec. 9, 1531 known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Virgin Mary led Juan Diego to a site on top of a hill. A church was consecrated at that site with Our Lady of Guadalupe proclaimed the patroness of the Americas. He died May 30, 1548.