St. Juan Macias

September 18: The feast day of St. Juan Macias

Juan de Arcas y Sanchez was born in Spain in 1585. His family was poor. By the time Juan was four, both of his parents had died. He and his sister Maria were adopted by their uncle and took the last name Macias.

Juan worked as a shepherd which gave him much time for prayer and reflection. He was frequently visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Apostle. When he was 25, he began working for a merchant who wanted him to travel to South America. He traveled through many places such as Colombia, Granada and Ecuador. When he arrived in Peru, he asked permission to enter the Dominican Priory of St Mary Magdalene in Lima as a lay brother. He became the doorkeeper and was known for his devotion to the Rosary and to the poor. Every day he and his little donkey fed 200 poor people. Juan sent the donkey around the city wearing a sign asking for donations. The donkey knew his route perfectly and would even bray loudly outside of certain houses. He always returned with many provisions. Juan died in 1645 but he is still remembered in Peru. Every third Sunday of November, a procession is held honoring St. Juan and his fellow Dominican and contemporary St. Martin de Porres.