The Holy Infant of Good Health Story
The devotion to the Holy Infant began in 1939, but many years earlier, there was a poor, young Mexican girl named Rosa Maria Guadalupe Calderon (Lupita) from Morelia, Mexico. Around the time of Lupita’s First Communion, she told her First Communion godmother, Maria de Jesús Magaña that she would like to have a beautiful statue of Jesus as an infant. Her godmother never forgot the desire of Lupita, and she searched and looked for this special image for many years.
Lupita was a young lady living and working in Mexico City in the late 1930’s. Her godmother, Maria, had a small store attached to her home in Morelia. One day, while working, two ladies dressed in black came into her store carrying a beautiful statue of Jesus. Her godmother knew that she had finally found that special statue of Jesus for Lupita.
Maria’s friend, who was also in the store that day, did not consider this image of Jesus so special. She talked Maria out of purchasing it. After the ladies in black left the store, Maria regretted that she did not purchase the statue for Lupita. She had no idea who these ladies were or where they came from.
The next day, the two ladies in black returned to Maria’s store carrying with them the same beautiful statue of Jesus. With much delight, she purchased it from the ladies and then stepped into the next room to place the statue on her dresser. When Maria returned, the two ladies were gone. She ran quickly out the door looking for them, but they were nowhere to be found.
She asked a gentleman standing outside the door of her store for the direction in which the two ladies had gone. She wanted to speak with them to find out more about where the statue came from. The man looked at her with a puzzled look and said, “Madam, I have been standing outside your door for quite some time and no one ever went into your store or came out of your store.” So who were these two ladies God had sent to deliver this special statue of Jesus?
Maria had a dream one night of a beautiful temple (Church). In this temple were many small children. (Her dream will unfold as the story is told.) While she had this beautiful image of Jesus in her home, Maria knew in her heart that she was not to give the statue to Lupita until she returned to Morelia to live. Maria told her, “Love Him and take care of Him because one day He will have His own Temple.”
On November 12, 1939, her godmother gave her the beautiful statue of the Infant Jesus. Lupita was so delighted to receive this special image of Jesus she had always wanted. On this day, upon returning to her home with the image of Jesus, Lupita’s sister, who had a tumor on her cheek, asked Lupita to pray with her. While praying, Lupita’s sister touched the image to the tumor on her cheek and they asked God if it would be His will, would He please heal her through His Son. It was the night before she was to have surgery. The next morning when they woke up, Lupita’s sister had been completely cured. They went to the doctor and the doctor confirmed the healing. This was the first miracle that occurred when praying before the image of Jesus. It was at this time God was showing Lupita the beginning of a special mission.
Lupita placed the statue in her bedroom and each day when she would return from work, the statue was mysteriously sitting by the window. Lupita asked her family who was moving the statue of Jesus by the window, but each time they all denied ever doing so.
Lupita realized that Jesus wanted to be by the window, because He wanted to be where everyone could come and pay homage to Him. But most of all, He wanted to be closer to them and cure their illness. To this day, in the same house, the window is opened daily and there is another statue of the same image of Jesus for all who walk by to stop, to pay homage, and to ask for their necessities. This room is also part of a Chapel that is in the home that was Lupita’s. This home is now used as a formation house for religious sisters.
From that day on, many prayers for healing physical and spiritual began to be answered. Lupita started to refer to the image as the “Holy Infant of Good Health” (Santo Niño de la Salud).
Lupita’s parish priest, Raymundo Pardo, was very much aware of the happenings and came to Lupita and asked her how did she know that Jesus wanted to be called the Holy Infant of Good Health? She said that she had given this name because of all the healings.
To confirm that this is what Jesus wanted to be called, Lupita and her parish priest placed before the image of the Holy Infant seven names of people who were seriously to terminally ill. They asked Jesus to heal all by a specific date. All of these people were completely healed before the date they had given.
On April 21, 1942, the image of the Holy Infant was temporarily placed in St. Augustine Church in Morelia and officially blessed and given the title of the “Santo Niño de la Salud” (Holy Infant of Good Health). From that day on, for many years, Lupita privately spread the devotion throughout Mexico. Many came to know the Holy Infant under this title and many healings and prayers were answered. During this time, people from Laredo, Texas, and other parts of the United States became aware of this devotion.
There was a lady named Estela Barreda from Laredo, Texas, who became very close to Lupita and helped her with the devotion in Mexico and the United States. Another woman, Margot James, who was from California and moved to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in the early 1950’s, also brought with her the devotion to the Holy Infant of Good Health.
As the devotion continued to spread throughout Mexico and the United States, the bishop of Morelia, Bishop Luis Maria Altamirano, went to Lupita and said that it was time for her image of the Holy Infant of Good Health to be placed in a church to become a public devotion. This would allow many to come throughout Mexico and from other countries to pay homage.
On December 15, 1957, a grand procession was made from Lupita’s home to the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Bishop, many priests, and religious orders, along with the people of Morelia, came to participate in this procession. It was truly a happy day for Lupita, but also one of great sadness in her heart. She now had to give back to God the beautiful image He had given her. Lupita, with her humble and childlike faith, never gave in to her sorrow of loss and continued to persevere and do what God was calling her to do.
The godmother’s dream of the temple being built would also become a reality. It was a miracle of its own. On August 17, 1958, in this poor area of Mexico, ground was broken for a temple to be built in honor of the Holy Infant of Good Health. Within four short years, the church was completed. This was another miracle truly unfolding.
In 1956, while Margot James was working at the Divine Word Seminary in Bay St. Louis, MS, Fr. Ralph Tyken, SVD, became ill with cancer. By praying to the Holy Infant, he was cured of cancer. In thanksgiving for his healing, Fr. Ralph helped find some benefactors from the United States who helped the community in Morelia with construction of the church in honor of the Holy Infant of Good Health
On January 5, 1959, Mother Mildred, OSB, a Benedictine nun from Mexico City went to Rome to present Pope John XXIII personally with a Sacred Image. The devotion was granted a plenary indulgence for those who go on pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Holy Infant of Good Health.
On April 15, 1961, the statue of the Holy Infant was placed in the Cathedral in Morelia and a 7-day novena was prayed. On April 22, 1961, the statue was carried in a grand procession of about three miles with bishops, priests, religious, and lay people, walking and praying along the way to the Holy Infant’s newly built temple (Church). The sacred image was enthroned in the Shrine high above the main altar in a gold round circular glass enclosure. The miraculous image of the Holy Infant has never been taken out of the Shrine since April 22, 1961. It is a simple, but beautiful, very large church made of stone. Many come from all over the world to pay homage to the Holy Infant. Countless miracles have occurred.
By the early 60’s, Lupita felt a need to help poor children by providing housing, clothing, and food for them in her own home. It was at this time, she established the first orphanage with 10 children. This was foreseen in her godmother, Maria’s dream.
In 1966, she received an inspiration from God to establish a religious order. Lupita and Estela Barreda founded the religious order of the Missionaries of the Holy Infant Jesus of Good Health. On November 12, 1970, Lupita, along with seven other women who helped her with the orphanage received their final vows as religious sisters. Through Lupita’s obedience and love for Jesus’ infancy, this devotion continues to spread and draw many closer to Jesus bearing much fruit.
Lupita always believed if there is a will, nothing is impossible with God.
**We invite you to visit the Shrines tab and learn more about the Shrines to the Holy Infant of Good Health, the Traveling Pilgrim Image, the Missionaries, and Prayers.