This Week in History

A Miracle at Tepeyac:

December 12, 1531

The following comes from our fifth-grade text, From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of AmericaView sample chapters from this and our other books.  For ordering information on Lands of Hope and Promise and our other texts, please click here. 

File:Juan de Zumarraga.jpg

Juan de Zumárraga

Though, by 1531, Cortés and the new Audience were in power, all was not well in New Spain. The conquest and three years of cruelty had made many Indians think that the God the Spanish priests told them about did not love them. To many Indians, Jesus was the white man’s god; they thought he did not care about the brown-skinned natives. Bishop Zumárraga loved his Indian flock. How could he convince them that God loved them as well as he loved the Spaniards? Many evils, many cruelties were still part of life in New Spain. What could he as bishop do to stop them?

One cold day in December of 1531, Bishop Zumárraga, busy at work, received a visitor. Before him knelt an Aztec man, clad only in a loincloth and a cloak called a tilma, made from cactus fibers. The bishop received many visitors, so this man was not unusual. Perhaps Fray Juan was only half listening as the man, named Juan Diego, told his story.

Juan Diego said that he had set out from his village at break of day to hear Mass in the city. Passing by the hill called Tepeyac, a hill he had passed many times before, Juan Diego heard the singing of birds. He was most surprised, for at that time of the year one did not hear songbirds. He stopped, and looked east toward the hill. Suddenly the singing ceased and, instead, he heard a voice calling his name: “Juanito, Juan Diegito,” it said. (more…)