St. Juan Macias: An Immigrant Seeking a Better Life

St. Juan Macias

St. Juan Macias was born in Ribera de Fresno (Badajoz - España) in 1585. He lost his parents at a very early age. He was a shepherd since he was a child and this allowed him to spend time in contemplation.

In the year 1610 Juan Macias immigrated to the Americas with the desire to find a better life. As an immigrant his greatest desire was to share his faith with the peoples of the New World. For this reason, he entered the Dominican Order in 1622 at the Convento de Santa Maria Magadalena in Lima, Peru when he was 37 years old. As a cooperator brother, he lived a life of poverty, humility and charity.

St. Juan Macias was a very prayerful person. He spent most of his life as the portero del convento (door keeper of the convent) where he offered help to all who knocked on the door. St. Juan Macias died in Lima on September 15, 1645. He was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1813 and was canonized by Pope Paul VI on September 28, 1975.

St. Juan Macias reflects the life of the many immigrants that have come to the United States (and everywhere) seeking better living conditions. His life helps us to realize that as immigrants we have a greater mission: to share the richness of our faith with other people in simple ways.

According to his biographers, St. Juan Macias constantly meditated on the verse from the Book of Revelation: "I saw a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev 21:1). Faith is a journey on this earth in which all of us are immigrants who seek the new heaven and the new earth.

The life of St. Juan Macias teaches us to walk this journey of faith in simple ways: being generous at all times, especially with the poor, the sick, and the elderly; being humble, embracing the reality that we are on this earth only for a while; and doing the works of charity, the surest way to salvation.

The life of St. Juan Macias teaches that immigrants go to new worlds to find a better life through giving themselves for the greater mission of sharing the Gospel. Indeed, this is a very effective way in which our life conditions will really become better!

By: Fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.


(18 September 2016)