Juan Navarrete y Guerrero earned his doctorate of theology in 1909 from the Pontificia Universidad Gregoriana. That same year he returned to Aguascalientes, Mexico an ordained priest. In 1916 he founded various Catholic organizations and was ordained bishop of Sonora at only 32 years of age, becoming the world's youngest bishop. In 1926 Navarrete y Guerrero was exiled to Arizona as a result of the anti-Catholic persecution implemented by President Plutarco Calles. During this time he became involved in the Cristero Movement which was a rebellion against the anti-Catholic stance of the Mexican government. In 1937 he returned to Sonora after the new governor granted him amnesty.
Upon his return to the Sonoran Diocese, he began to help rebuild the Catholic community that had suffered during the Cristero Movement. Throughout the 1940s to the 1960s he was instrumental in founding hospitals, orphanages, and over fifty Catholic schools. In 1959 the Diocese of Sonora was divided in two: the Diocese of Hermosillo and the Diocese of Cuidad Obregón and in 1964, Navarrete y Guerrero was appointed the first archbishop of Hermosillo. He retired four years later and was soon after appointed Titular Archbishop of Vulturaria. He died in February of 1982, at the age of ninety-five.
Papers, 1912-2000 (bulk 1948-2000). This collection contains materials relating to Bishop Juan Navarrete y Guerrero of the diocese of Hermosillo, Sonora. Materials include; Navarrete y Guerrero biographies, community histories of the Sonoran Diocese, a nearly complete set of the El Católico newsletter (1948-2000), over thirty of Navarrete y Guerrero's recorded sermons, recordings of religious songs, as well as recorded sermons and lectures by others, photographs of Navarrete y Guerrero and members of the Sonoran Diocese including the El Católico staff, and slide sets of La Tierra Santa (The Holy Land) and the Vatican. All materials are in Spanish.