Nican mopohua (“Here is recounted…”): December 9th, 1531



…..Auh in acico in inahuac tepetzintli in itocayocan Tepeyacac,

ye tlatlalchipahua…..


Concac in icpac tepetzintli cuicoa, yuhquin nepapan tlazototome cuica;

cacahuani in intozqui, iuhquin quinananquilia tepetl, huel cenca teyolquima,

tehuellamachti in incuic; quicenpanahuia in coyoltotl in tzinitzcan ihuan in

occequin tlazototome ic cuica…..


“Canin ye nica? Canin ye ninotta? Cuix ye oncan in quitotehuaque huehuetque

tachtohuan tococolhuan, in xochitlalpan in tonacatlalpan,

cuix ye oncan ilhuicatlalpan?”…..


In oyuhceuhtiquiz in cuicatl, inomocactimoman in yeequicaqui

hualnotzalo inicpac tepetzintli, quilhuia: “Juantzin, Juan Diegotzin”…..


Auh in ye acitiuh in icpac tepetzintli, in ye oquimottili ce Cihuapilli

oncanmoquetzinoticac, quihualmonochili inic onyaz in inahuactzinco…..


Auh in tetl, in texcalli in ic itech moquetza, inic quimina…..


Auh in mizquitl, in nopalli ihuan occequin nepapan xiuhtotontin

oncan mochichihuani yuhquin quetzaliztli. Yuhqui in teoxihuitl in

iatlapalio neci. Auh in icuauhyo, in ihuitzyo, in iahuayo yuhqui in

cozticteocuitlatl in pepetlaca…..


Quimolhuili:  “Tlaxiccaqui noxocoyotl Juantzin, campa in timohuica?”


Auh in yehuatl quimonanquilili: “Notecuiyoé, Cihuapillé, Nochpochtziné!

Ca ompa nonaciz mochantzinco México-Tlatilolco,

nocontepotztoca in Teyotl…..”


_____  *  _____  *  _____


…..And as he drew near the little hill called Tepeyac

it was beginning to dawn…..


He heard singing on the little hill, like the song of many precious birds;

when their voices would stop, it was as if the hill were answering them;

extremely soft and delightful; their songs exceeded the songs of the

coyoltotl and the tzinitzcan and other precious birds…..


“Where am I? Where do I find myself? Is it possible that I am in the

place our ancient ancestors, our grandparents, told about, in the

land of the flowers, in the land of corn, of our flesh, of our sustenance,

possibly in the land of heaven?”…..


And then when the singing suddenly stopped, when it could no longer

be heard, he heard someone calling him, from the top of the hill, someone

was saying to him: “Juan, Dearest Juan Diego”…..


And when he reached the top of the hill, a Maiden who was standing there,

who spoke to him, who called to him to come close to her…..


And the stone, the crag on which she stood, seemed to be giving out rays…..


And the mesquites and nopales and the other little plants that are up there

seemed like emeralds. Their leaves, like turquoise. And their trunks, their

thorns, their prickles, were shining like gold…..


She said to him, “Listen, my dearest-and-youngest son, Juan,

Where are you going?”


And he answered her: “My Lady, my Queen, my Beloved Maiden!

I am going as far as your little house in Mexico-Tlatilolco,

to follow the things of God…..”



*   *   *   *   *


On December 9th, 1531, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548)

encountered a radiant native-Mexican woman at Tepayac Hill

(site of a former temple to the Aztec Earth-Mother goddess Tonantzin).

He knew her to be Santa María Totlaconantzin – Mary, Our

Precious Mother – and she spoke to him in his own language – Náhuatl.


Tepayac is now the location of the largest shrine in Latin America –

La Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe / The Basilica of

Our Lady of Guadalupe – the name by which Juan Diego’s

Virgin Mary is known in México today…

Popularly, she is also called The Mother of All México.

Juan Diego was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.


The above text – in the original Náhuatl (language of the Aztecs)

plus English translation by D. K. Jordan – is taken from

Nican mopohua (“Here is recounted…”)

by Antonio Valeriano (1556),  and is the first chapter in the

written telling of the miraculous life of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.

Valeriano was a native-Mexican scholar in three languages

– his birth-language, Náhuatl, plus Spanish and Latin.

Nican mopohua forms part of a larger volume,

Huei tlamahuiçoltica (“The Great Happening”),

published by Luis Laso de la Vega in 1649.   The book is a

crucial Náhuatl text from the 16th and 17th centuries

– a period of immense trauma during which a new race

el Mestizo – and a new nationality – Mexican – were being forged.