On the life and works of Sor Maria de Agreda of 17th century Spain, known also as Mary of Agreda, the Lady in Blue

 

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Life & Works of the Lady in Blue

Sor Maria's original manuscript, atop an orginal letter between her and King Philip IV of SpainThe facts of Sor Maria's life are often too extraordinary to fabricate. They encompass the quiet depths of cloistered mysticism as well as the political and personal excesses of church and state in post-Reformation Inquisition era Spain.

From an early age, Sor Maria enjoyed highly refined spiritual perceptions and mystical ecstasies.  After seeing a play about Christopher Columbus when she was seven years old, she longed to go the New World as a missionary.  This was not a likely event, however, for women of her era. Eventually her mother transformed their family home into a cloistered convent and she took vows as a Franciscan nun. Still, her indomitable missionary zeal was often unleashed in ecstasy after receiving Communion. As a result, she had many experiences of personally preaching to the North American Jumano Indians who -- in turn -- dubbed her for all time as their beloved Lady in Blue.  Accounts of these mystical "bilocations," or appearing in two separate places at the same time, are examined thoroughly in her biography.

Sor Maria was also a prolific author and correspondent, her signature work being a devotional multi-volume series on Mary of Nazareth entitled Mystical City of God. Throughout her life she maintained an unlikely cadre of friends and confidantes -- including then Hapsburg monarch and Defender of the Faith, King Felipe IV. She advised the king on spiritual and political matters for twenty-two years until her death in 1665. Their collected correspondence is comprised of over 600 confidential letters. Hailed in 1995 by Radiotelevision Espanol (RTVE) as one of the nine most influential women in Spanish history, Sor Maria has yet to be canonized a saint, though there has been increasing ground swell to do so since 2002.  After reading her biography, I hope you'll have no doubt she is a saint in the making -- please let me know what you think!

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Photo Credit:
Photo of Sor Maria's manuscript and correspondence taken and copyrighted by Marilyn H. Fedewa. All rights reserved. No use without permission.


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