Little is known of the life of Juan Bernardino. He lived in Tolpetlac, some nine miles north of Tenochtitlán and brought up his nephew, Saint Juan Diego, after the latter's parents died. After the 1529 death of Juan Diego's wife, Maria Lucia, Juan Diego moved to be near his then-aged uncle in Tolpet.
Vision of Our Lady
At the time of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Juan Diego in December 1531, Juan Bernardino fell ill. According to most sources, he contracted cocolixtle, a dreaded fever that normally led to death. On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego returned from his first two apparitions to find his uncle very ill. All that night and next day, Juan Diego tended to his uncle. Towards sunset, it became clear that Juan Bernardino was dying. Juan Diego set out at four the following morning, to bring back a priest to hear his uncle's confession and administer the last rites.
While he was gone, Juan Bernardino became too weak to drink the medicine that had been left by his bedside, and he felt he was about to die. Suddenly the room was filled with light and a beautiful radiant lady appeared to him. Our Lady appeared to Juan Bernardino and cured him. He immediately felt that his body had recovered from the fever, and getting up, fell to his knees before the apparition. She told him that she had met Juan Diego and sent him to the bishop with her sacred image imprinted on his tilma. It was at this apparition that she identified herself as 'The Ever Virgin, Holy Mary of Guadalupe' Some analysts believe that she actually said not de Guadalupe but te coatlaxopeuh which many scholars translate differently; "the one that originates from the cliffs", who crushes the stone serpent, "the one that has dominion of the serpent", etc.
Apparition to Juan Bernardino
No sooner said Juan Diego where he had sent the Lady of Heaven to her temple built, he begged to be excused. Now he wanted to go home to see his uncle Juan Bernardino; which he was very serious when he left and came to Tlatilolco to call a priest, to go to confession and absolve, and said the Lady of Heaven had already healed. But they would not let him go alone, but accompanied him to his home. They arriving saw his uncle who was very happy and nothing hurt. He was astonished arrived accompanied and honored his nephew; who asked the reason why they did so and honors conferred upon him. His nephew answered that when he went to call the priest to confess him and prepare him, appeared in the Tepeyacac the Lady of Heaven; which, telling him not to worry that his uncle was good, with much consoled, he sent to Mexico, to see Mr. Bishop to build her a house in the Tepeyac. He said his uncle be true then healed him and he saw the same way that his nephew he appeared; She knew by who had sent him to Mexico to see the Bishop. Also then told the lady when he went to see the Bishop, he revealed what he saw and that he had miraculously healed him; and he appoints him well and was well appointed his blessed image, the ever Virgin Holy Mary of Guadalupe.
then they brought Juan Bernardino into the presence of the bishop; to come to inform and testify before him. In both him and his nephew, Bishop lodged them in his house a few days, until the temple of Queen was built in Tepeyac, where Juan Diego saw. Mr. Bishop moved to the main church the holy image of the beloved Lady of Heaven: he took the oratory of his palace where he was, for all people to see and admire his image.
- María Jesús Castro Dopacio (28 November 2011). Emperatriz de las Américas: La Virgen de Guadalupe en la literatura chicana (in Spanish). Universitat de València. p. 27. ISBN 978-84-370-7758-1. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Origins and Sources of a Mexican National Symbol, by Stafford Poole
- Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego: The Historical Evidence, by Eduardo Chávez
- Mexican Spirituality: Its Sources and Mission in the Earliest Guadalupan Sermons, by Francisco Schulte
- Encyclopedia of Sacred Places, by Norbert C. Brockman
- Hispanic/Latino Theology: Challenge and Promise, edited by Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz and Fernando Segovia