On Jan. 5, 1973, Our Lord said to Rev. Albert Drexel: “I bless you, My Son, in the night of My special graces and for the work for which you have been destined by the providence of the Heavenly Father. … Has it not been the providence of the Heavenly Father who has given you the chance to make accessible to the world and to men the most sublime, greatest, and most beautiful work of redemption that has been inspired by heaven and written down by human hands?” [The Mystical City of God, Life of the Virgin Mother of God, by Mary of Agreda]
Life of Mary of Agreda
DOCTOR Carlos E. Castañeda, illustrious Catholic historian, records that over a period of 11 years, from 1620 to 1631, Mary of Agreda made over 500 visits to America.
Mary of Agreda, also known as Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda, was born in Agreda, Spain, in 1602 and died there in 1665. She was one of eleven children of Francisco Coronel and Catalina de Arana. She had a desire for the religious life from early youth. In 1619 she became a Poor Clare Conceptionist at Agreda. Her mother and one sister entered with her. Her father, although 60 years of age, took the Franciscan habit, and thus made her mother's admission possible.
Mary was made abbess at the age of 25 by papal dispensation. Shortly before her election she had experienced many ecstasies.
During one of these ecstasies, Sister Mary was shown on one occasion the whole earth, the different nations thereof, and the small number of souls who knew God, and the vast number who did not belong to the Catholic Church. God revealed to her that of all those living in darkness, the people of New Mexico and surrounding countries were the most disposed to seek His mercy. This caused Sister Mary to beg God for the conversion of these people. God answered that in His eternal decrees, the time was near at hand "when these American peoples would be instructed in the faith."
One day while wrapped in ecstasy, Mary was transported to America, and God commanded her to go among the Indians and teach the faith of Jesus Christ. She spoke in Spanish, yet they understood her as distinctly as if she spoke their native tongue. She understood them, and performed many miracles in proof of the doctrine she taught. When she came out of her ecstasy, she found herself in the same place and position in the convent in Agreda.
The Indians did not know who she was nor whence she came. They did not know her name, but because of the color of the mantle she wore, they called her "Lady in Blue."
Father Pandolphi transcribes from Bishop Samaniego's Biografía de Su Autora de la Mística Ciudad de Dios, that Sister Mary related these wonderful events to her spiritual director with humble sincerity. "In consideration of the many proofs of her holiness which he had received, and the unlimited power of Divine Omnipotence, her confessor did not hesitate to believe that she had been miraculously transported to America, and this opinion was maintained by many other learned persons."
Let us now examine the testimonies of this unique event as recorded in the earliest chronologies of the history of the United States.
Fray Alonzo Benavides is Ordered To Find the Lady in Blue
FRAY Alonzo de Benavides of the order of St. Francis, Custodia of the missionaries of New Spain, of the territory of New Mexico (from Texas to the Pacific) and later auxiliary bishop of Goa, India, while superior of New Mexico from 1622 to 1630—was ordered by his Excellency, Don Francisco Manzo y Zúñiga, Archbishop elect of Mexico, to find this "Lady in Blue."
Dr. Castañeda reports that the action of the Archbishop stemmed from two reliable reports: one was that of Agreda's confessor, Fray Sebastián Marcilla, who asked his Excellency to investigate the conversion of the Indians of New Mexico by a white woman. This was prompted by Agreda's own confession. The second report was from the missionaries themselves whose apostolate was in New Mexico. They related how the Indians sought them out, under the direction of the "Lady in Blue."
One day in the year 1629, while sitting in the cool shade of the old Isleta Mission, listening to a group of missionaries who had just arrived from Spain, he (Benavides) saw about 50 Indians approaching across the plains. He was soon aware that they were of the strange tribe that had been coming every year for many years, begging him for missionaries to come among them. This time his heart was not heavy, because he would not have to turn them away.
Father Benavides records in his two memorials: 1. To Pope Urban VIII and the other to King Philip IV of Spain—that he asked them whence they came and who had sent them. They replied that they had come a long journey from the southeast from a kingdom called Titlas or Texas which had not yet been visited by the white man. He invited them into the mission house and asked them how they knew where to find the friars. They answered: "A Lady in Blue taught us the religion of Jesus Christ, and told us to come here and ask you for missionaries to come among us." He showed them a picture of a Franciscan nun, Madre Luis de Carrion, who had done marvelous work among the Indians. They declared that her dress was the same, but not her face, "for she was young and beautiful."
In Father Peter Forrestal's translation of Father Benavides' Memorial to King Philip IV, we read that Father Benavides sent Fra Juan de Salas and Fra Diego López back with the Indians. After the long and perilous journey, they were met by the whole tribe of Jumano Indians, carrying two large crosses. Fra Salas reported that he found they did not need catechizing, so well were they instructed in the truths of the faith by their "Lady in Blue." When Fra Salas asked them if they desired baptism, all of them from the chief down to the children raised their hands—the mothers held up the hands of their infants. Then he told how they brought their sick to be cured, and how he and Fra López labored from three o'clock that afternoon all through the night until ten the next day. They cured some 200 of their sick.
Benavides Finds the Lady in Blue in Spain
"She convinced me absolutely"—Benavides
AFTER searching in vain for eight years, Fra Benavides found the "Lady in Blue" not in America, but in his native land of Spain. This was in the year 1630. When he arrived in Madrid he told the motive for his journey to the Superior General of the Order, Father Bernardine of Sienna. Fra Benavides learned that his superior knew that the "Lady in Blue" was Sister María de Jesus of the convent in Agreda. As Superior General he had already examined her cause some eight years ago, and had come to the conclusion that she was the chosen instrument of God in this amazing mission of mercy in America.
Father Bernardine desired to go with Father Benavides to question Sister Mary, but because of urgent official duties, he delegated him to command her "in virtue of holy obedience" to reveal her secret to him, knowing that the humble nun would otherwise wish to conceal it. Taking with him Fra Samaniego, who was then Provincial of Burgos, they went to the convent in the town of Agreda. There in the presence of her confessor, the reluctant Mary was constrained by obedience to tell all.
Like St. Paul, when he was taken up to the third heaven, Mary did not know whether she was taken to New Mexico "in the body or out of the body" to instruct the inhabitants of America. But after questioning her in regard to the various peculiarities of that province, the customs of the different tribes of Indians; the nature of the climate, "she convinced me absolutely by describing to me all the things in New Mexico, as I have seen them myself, as well as by other details which I shall keep within my soul."
In a letter to the missionaries in America, Father Benavides said:
"I give infinite thanks to the Divine Majesty for having placed me, unworthy as I am, among the number enjoying the happy good fortune of your paternities, since you are so deserving of heavenly favor that the angels and our father, Saint Francis aid you. They personally, truly, and actually carry the blessed and blissful Mother María de Jesus, Discalced Franciscan of the Order of Conception, from the town of Agreda, which is in the limits of Castile, to help us with her presence and teaching, in all these provinces and barbarous nations.
"The first time she went to America was in 1620, making more than five hundred journeys (flights) until the year 1631, sometimes making as many as four visits in one day. I should indeed like to tell your paternities in this letter everything, that the venerable mother told me, but it is impossible. Nevertheless, I have written down a great deal of it in a book which I shall bring with me for your consideration.
"Once she took from here a chalice for consecration, and the friars used it for saying Mass and for carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession. All of this will be found here, as well as many crosses and rosaries that she distributed. She was martyred, receiving many wounds, and her heavenly angels crowned her, wherefore she attained martyrdom from our Lord." (Sic)
Father Benavides asked Sister María to write a letter to the missionaries in America. In praise of this letter Father Benavides says: "I decided to commit it to the eternity of printing." This letter had great influence upon the conversions of the southwest of the United States. Fra Junípero Serra wrote to his biographer, Father Francisco Palóu: "Agreda's prophecy is about to be fulfilled in California."
One line in this famous letter impresses itself upon the mind: "I can assure your paternities that I know with all exactness and light that the blessed ones envy you... If they could forsake their eternal bliss to accompany you in those conversions, they would do it."
Father Benavides continues: "My dear fathers and brothers, all that she told me is more to be retained in the heart than to be recorded. I call God to witness that my esteem for her holiness has been increased more by the noble qualities which I discern in her, than by all the miracles which she has wrought in America. I have also the very habit that she wore when she went there. The veil radiates such a fragrance that it is a comfort to the spirit."
That Agreda really and truly visited America many times is attes-ted to in the logs of the Spanish Conquistadors, the French explorers, and the identical accounts of many Indian tribes. Every authentic history of the Southwest of the United States records this mystic phenomenon, unparalleled in the entire history of the world. As Father Benavides aptly put it: "We should consider ourselves fortunate in being protected by the blessed soul of Mary of Jesus."
The demon had exercised his tyranny over these Indian tribes since the flood of Noah's time. His power over them was so fantastic for so many centuries, that they sacrificed children of their own flesh and blood to him. Is it not logical to assume that the crushing of his head among these heathen nations be even more fantastic? Otherwise God's first prophecy to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15) would be in vain. Therefore, through the instrument of a woman who was given the greatest knowledge of The Woman, the serpent was crushed by her heel. Venerable Mary's conversions in America were no less spectacular than the conversion of Saul and the miracles of the apostles in the conversion of other nations.
Agreda is Released from Ecstasies
IN 1631 Sister Mary of Agreda asked God to release her of the ecstasies which were causing her so much embarrassing publicity. God answered her prayer.
Of the two great landings in America in 1620—the Pilgrims in the north at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Agreda in the south—the mystical one has, and will yet have, far greater influence upon the history of the world.
Mary of Agreda writes the Mystical City of God, the Life of the Mother of God
IN 1627 Sister Mary of Jesus was chosen Abbess of the convent in Agreda. She was not yet 25 years old, therefore her superiors had to seek dispensation from Rome. She held the office of Abbess for the space of 35 years until her death, with the exception of one term of three years from 1632 to 1635.
She dreaded the responsibility of this office, and appealed to the Queen of Heaven and earth to have compassion on her and assist her. The Virgin Mary appeared to her and consoled her with these words:
"My most amiable daughter, be of good cheer. I myself, will be the Mother and Superior of your convent, whom you and your subjects will obey. In all your temptations and tribulations, call upon me; ask my advice, and it shall be granted to you immediately."
Madre Sor María placed a statue of the Blessed Mother in the stall of the Abbess in the choir and at her feet the rule and seal of the monastery. The community prospered under the protection of this queen, and the direction of her favorite daughter. In her deep humility Agreda reserved for herself the lowest and most menial duties of the convent. Her charity shone pre-eminent at the bedside of the sick. At times she insisted, against the judgment of the physician, that the patient be prepared for death, which really happened. The fame of her holiness spread far and wide, and many were attracted to the cloister, even from the nobility of Spain and as far away as the Indies.
When the old Coronel castle became too small for the many new candidates, Madre María undertook the task of building a new monastery. So great was her confidence in the Mystical Superior of the community, that with the small sum of four and a half dollars she began the construction. It was built to accommodate 30 sisters with a very beautiful church attached. This feat is all the more remarkable because before she was elected Abbess, the income of the community scarcely supported 12 nuns.
Madre María is Commanded by God
to Write the Life of the Mother of God
"Whoever explains me, shall have life everlasting." --Ecclesiasticus 24:31
In the same year that Sister María de Jesus was elected Abbess, God commanded her to write the life of his most holy Mother. Unable to overcome her sense of unworthiness to undertake so sublime a task, Madre María resisted this command for the space of ten years, even though the Blessed Virgin herself repeated this command many times. She explains her resistance in the introduction to the Mystical City. Learned men of renowned sanctity believe this Introduction to be the key to the City and the convincing argument of the authenticity, veracity, humility, and absolute sincerity of Madre María. She states therein: "She (Mary) added the command that I write this history of her life, according as her majesty herself should dictate and inspire me."
During these ten years, God prepared Madre María for this stupendous task, by purifying her in the fires of tribulation, followed by revelations of the highest mysteries of the Trinity, of God made man, and of His Virgin Mother. He permitted Satan to torment her in every way. Afterward He told her that over fifty times Lucifer gathered all his legions in council to devise new stratagems for her defeat, and that if she had been aware of her danger, she would have died. As it was, she became so seriously ill that she lost all her strength. Then, in spirit, she was taken to hell, where she remained for three days. She saw the torments and the horrors, and heard the blasphemies of the damned.
When she was returned, God restored her mind to its former state of tranquility. Then he endowed her intellect with knowledge of rational creation in the triple order of nature, grace and glory. He instructed her in scripture, and gave her so perfect a knowledge of Latin and Spanish, that she could translate the most difficult terms of theology. Then He made her His especial spouse by celebrating the mystical nuptials with her.
After thus being prepared by intimate communication with her Lord and Spouse; by instructions from the Queen of heaven; by frequent raptures; by the help of the angels; by familiar conversations with the two holy virgins, Sts. Agnes and Ursula (whom God appointed to be her companions), and finally, by her zeal for the conversion of America, she was again commanded to write the life of Mary. This time she was unable to resist any longer.
Knowing the meaning of this command, Madre María immediately informed her confessor, Fra Francis Andrea dalla Torre, who had been her wise and prudent director for ten years. Aware of what divine grace had operated in her soul, he commanded her, in virtue of holy obedience, to begin the work at once.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to her and encouraged her with these words: "Remember that the truths which are to be revealed in this history do not proceed from the instrument used to relate them, but from the Author of truth, from whom all truth proceeds. Even though an angel were to write my biography, there would be men who would find some way to calumniate him. Nor need you be wise and learned, otherwise these same men would say that it was the result of human wisdom. God chose a woman, just as He chose me for his greatest work (ad extra) to be His medium for His greater glory. I am especially glad that that woman is you."
In the year 1637 Madre María began writing the Mystical City of God. The first fruit of this writing of the Tree of Life, as theologians call Mary, was wrought in the soul of Agreda. Because of the vast knowledge of the interior and exterior life of the Virgin, she was able to copy in her own life the virtues of the Perfect Imitator of Christ.
King Philip IV, Guardian of María's Manuscript
When Philip IV, King of Spain, heard that Mother Mary of Jesus had written a life of the Virgin Mary, he requested a copy from her. At first she was unwilling, but finally yielded to his entreaty. He was astonished at the depth of doctrine it contained, and submitted it to eminent theologians for examination. One of them said that "he would wager upon a whole room full of theologians, that this woman possessed the divine science."
Another examiner was Fra John de Palma, Commissary General of Spain, who wrote:
"I firmly believe that this book is a supernatural production, for its excellence is such that I doubt if there is a theologian, however eminent he may be, who could translate it into our language. It is indeed wonderful that a creature, who by birth and education is comparatively ignorant, could explain the divine mysteries in terms so clear and precise. Theology has scarcely found sufficient terms in the entire Latin language to explain the things which she knew how to explain in our common language, the things which of their nature are superior to human reasoning, and with such precision that they can be easily comprehended. And many articles of faith, which do not permit reasoning, are explained by her in such a manner that there can be no doubt of their truth."
Two apostolic legates of the Holy See for the Court of Spain, Julius Rospigliose (later Pope Clement IX) and Cardinal Caesar Monti, Archbishop of Milan, examined and wholeheartedly endorsed the Mystical City of God.
Philip IV asked Madre María to advise him in both matters of his soul and of state. For 22 years they corresponded almost daily.
Madre María is Ordered to Burn the Life of Mary
"My thoughts are not your thoughts." --Sacred Scripture
ALL the saints from the Saint of saints down to the least, have experienced opposition, and very often from men of prestige and (humanly speaking) apparently good judgment. God seems to allow false judgments to be made against his chosen ones. In the absence of Father Francis Andrea, her regular confessor, who was called away to Toledo to attend a general chapter, a substitute confessor of imprudent judgment ordered Madre Maria to burn the history of the Life of the Virgin Mary. He declared that women should not presume to write on matters so sublime.
When Father Andrea returned and learned of it, he reprimanded Agreda severely, and commanded her to rewrite it. He knew that Phillip IV had a copy, but judged it prudent to keep this fact a secret.
However, Sor María became seriously ill. Shortly afterwards Father Andrea, who had been her spiritual director for 20 years, died, and the same father who had ordered the burning of her manuscript, the Mystical City, was appointed to be her regular confessor. When he learned that she had other writings, he ordered them burned also, including the daily diary of her visits to America. Three years later he died.
In the year 1650 God provided her with a prudent and learned confessor, Father Andrew de Fuenmayor, who directed Agreda until her glorious death. He not only renewed the precept to rewrite the life of Mary, but commanded sister María to write the history of her own life also. However, in the latter undertaking, very embarrassing and painful to her, she did not get beyond the years of her youth.
In preparation for the second writing of the life of the Queen of heaven, the Virgin Mary taught Sor Maria the three stages or triangle of perfection, as she herself states in the Mystical City, Vol. 3, p. 24.
"By first being my disciple thou shouldst prepare thyself for becoming the disciple of my Son, and both these states should lead thee to the perfect union with the Immutable Being of God. These three stages are favors of peerless value, which place thee in a position to become more perfect than the exalted seraphim."
After permitting her to go through the state which theologians term "mystical death," God revealed to her that as a reward for the first writing of the life of His Most holy Mother, He would raise her to a more sublime state of perfection, by making her an imitator of his Mother. This is the first stage or "novitiate" in the triangle of perfection. Sor María entered upon this period of probation in the year 1652, on the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and made a vow to obey Mary in all her instructions. She made this vow in the hands of the Most Holy Virgin, while absorbed in one of those sublime visions —thus excluding rashness or imprudence, because it was prompted by the Divine Will. From this vow and from the reading of the Virgin Mary's instructions to her after each chapter of her life, we can judge to what heights of holiness Agreda reached. These instructions contain the highest perfection — the words of wisdom from the Personification of Wisdom -- after Her Divine Son.
From this stage her Divine Spouse raised her to the imitation of Christ. The law of the Gospels was written in her heart, and Christ Himself offered to be her Teacher.
In the same year, 1652, on the Feast of the Assumption, María de Agreda was introduced to the final stage or apex of the triangle — union with God, in which God dwells in the soul and becomes its life. The exercise of this state consists in an almost continual application to the essence, knowledge, love, worship, and adoration of God, and the intimate communication with Him. Our Lady told her that the teachings of all three stages must be practiced at one and the same time, even after the last has been reached.
In the year 1654 she was taken up before the throne of the Trinity where, in the presence of the Queen of heaven, she solemnly promised to imitate the virtues of her celestial Sovereign. This vision she relates in her autobiography.
Sor María Writes the Life of Mary a Second Time
"But the plenitude of light has been given to thee, and this has been done, because of the necessities and unhappy state of the world." -- Our Lady to Agreda in The Mystical City of God
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, in the year of Our Lord 1655, Sor María de Jesus de Agreda began to rewrite the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Satan invoked all hell against her, for according to her own confession, she could not write a single sentence without experiencing the fury of his attacks. She finished its writing on the sixth of May, 1660, as stated in her biography.
The Lord God Himself praised this work in the following words: "Happy they who find it, and blessed they who shall appreciate its value, rich they who shall come upon this treasure, and blessed and very wise those who shall search into and shall understand its marvels and hidden mysteries."
Pope Benedict XIV considered the re-writing of the Mystical City of God as miraculous:
"We read in history of the life of Sister Mary of Jesus that after she had written the work of The Mystical City of God, a certain confessor commanded her to burn the work. She did so immediately, as she was ordered. Then another confessor who was more experienced in spiritual matters commanded her to re-write the work anew. It happened, not without a miracle, that the same work was re-written by the servant of God, without any discrepancy from the one which was burned previously, except for certain unimportant additions."
The eulogies and declarations of many Popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns, and laymen regarding The Mystical City would fill many volumes. The heart of them all lies in this dual statement made by Rev. Andrew Mendo, S.J., Professor of the University of Salamanca: "Whoever shall read this work with good will shall become learned; and whosoever shall 'pray' and meditate on it, will desire sanctity."
The Last Illness of Mary of Agreda
"The days of thy life in this world are coming to a close." --Coronation, p. 639
FOR many years Sor María had been preparing for death by prayer, penance, and meditation upon the meaning of death. She would make her confession as though it were her last, and receive Communion as though it were the Viaticum. Often she would retire to a secluded place and open the coffin containing the bones of her father, looking upon it as her own sepulchre. Then in agonizing attitude she would invoke Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and her Guardian Angel to help her in that dreadful hour. She chose Jesus and Mary as the Executors of her last will, entreating them as sovereigns of her soul to dispose of it as they willed, and to grant her a happy death. God sent an angel to prepare her for death, which, it is believed, He foretold to her.
After Easter in the year 1665, María asked her confessor's permission to practice some special exercises in preparation for death. She told her sisters that her death would soon occur. She assembled them in Chapter on a Monday, an act which for 35 years had been held on Friday. After she had given advice to each sister, she told them that this would be the last Chapter she would hold, for soon she would depart from this world. On Wednesday she was stricken with a mortal illness.
When the news of her illness was spread abroad, public prayer and penances were ordered, in the hope that God would prolong her life. Many miraculous images were carried to the convent. All the clergy from surrounding towns marched in solemn procession to the convent. It was a most pathetic spectacle to see that immense gathering, each person weeping as though he were losing his own mother.
At that time, Father Samaniego, her biographer, was Provincial of Burgos, and it seemed that God willed that all of Sor María's superiors should be present at her death, because they were on their way to the Provincial Chapter to be held in Tudela. Father Alonso Salizanes, Superior General of the Order of St. Francis, was inspired to go to Agreda instead of the Chapter. He delayed the Chapter that he might be present at her death, spending many hours daily at her bedside, edified by her piety.
Death and Transition of the Soul of Sor María
"It can be truly said that Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda
surpasses them all." --Andrew Mendo, S. J.
The last and perhaps the greatest trial of Sor María was similar to the Virgin Mary's own trial after her presentation in the temple at the age of three. The Lord seemed to abandon Sor María during the course of her illness, which lasted from the eve of the Ascension until Pentecost. It is believed that she never lost her baptismal innocence. Yet to hear her accuse herself with such lively compunction, one would think she was the greatest sinner in the world. She confessed several times daily and received Holy Communion every day. When her sisters wept over her, she would tell them that such a vile worm of the earth was not worthy of tears. She was deeply grieved at the demonstrations of esteem for her which were made in Agreda. The seeming abandonment of God made her often repeat: "My soul is sorrowful unto death." Her confessor told the sisters she seemed to have no strength except for fervent acts of contrition.
When she was given Extreme Unction, the serenity of her spirit shone on her countenance, which became beautiful and smiling. She gave her last advice and blessing to each sister saying: "I recommend to you, virtue, virtue, virtue."
On the Feast of Pentecost at the very moment of the day (nine o'clock) when, according to tradition, the Holy Ghost descended upon the Virgin Mary and the Apostles, she, who had enjoyed so many visions, was called to the eternal Beatific Vision. At the moment she died, she was seen radiant with heavenly light in a church in Agreda by John Carrillo, a teacher who frequently communicated with the Venerable María and to whom she had foretold her death. He had just received Communion in the Church of St. Julian of the Franciscan Fathers, when he saw the servant of God surrounded by a globe of light ascending toward heaven.
María died at the age of 63 years on the 24th of May, 1665, having been a nun 46 years, 35 of which she was Abbess. Her sisters testify that in her last moments they heard a most sweet voice repeat: "Come, come, come."
At the last call, Sor María de Jesus de Agreda breathed forth her soul.
Most Rev. Joseph Zimenez Samaniego relates that at the precise hour of her death, Sor María was seen ascending into heaven by persons of eminent perfection in several places far distant from Agreda—thus fulfilling in a pre-eminent degree the promise of the Holy Spirit regarding His Spouse, the Virgin Mary: "Qui elucidant me, vitam aeternam habebunt." --Ecclus. 24:31
"So shall the last be first, and the first, last." Matt. 24:16
"They who work in me, shall not sin." --Ecclus. 24:31
When the news of the death of Sor María de Jesus was heard throughout Spain, people of all walks of life began to flock to the convent. The sisters were obliged to place her dear remains in the church to satisfy the universal devotion. The crowds became so great that it was necessary to have a guard of soldiers to maintain order. Those who could reach the grate presented rosaries, medals, etc., requesting the sisters to touch them to her precious remains. The veneration paid to her was so great that the Superior General of the Order of St. Francis judged it prudent not to deliver an oration in her honor, for fear the people might be excited to some public demonstration of worship forbidden by the Church.
The Most Rev. Samaniego wrote that "every day the fame of her holiness increases, and it seems that every moment the devotion towards her becomes more fervent. She is called the saintly nun, Sor María de Jesus, by the faithful, from the noblest to the lowest and from the most learned and renowned to the most simple and most ignorant. It is evident that this is an inspiration from the Lord, the Master of hearts."
The principal reason for this veneration was owing to the many miracles attributed to her while she lived, and their stupendous multiplication through the nearly three centuries after her death.
Among the many miracles may be mentioned these few:
The daughter of Nicolosa Franco was afflicted with epilepsy. Her mother took a thread from a piece of cloth which had belonged to Sister Mary, placed it in a glass of water and gave it to her child to drink. She was instantly cured.
While Sor María was still living, a young man named Jerome Abarea, a native of Tudela in Navarra, a professional musician, stopped in Agreda. When he heard about Mother María he cast aspersions upon her virtue of purity. He was immediately afflicted with a paralysis similar to St. Vitus Dance. After repenting of his rash thought he was restored to his former health. From that day forward he never ceased to relate in public the praises of Sister María.
A great number of the cures were effected through the use of rosaries or even a part thereof which had belonged to Sister María. It would disproportion this epilogue to give a full account of each one of these cures.
The devotion of the faithful for Sister Mary of Jesus de Agreda has not diminished in the least degree during the two centuries which have elapsed since her death. She is yet invoked with confidence especially in Spain, France, and Belgium. Every day graces and favors are obtained through her intercession. The truth of this last statement is confirmed by a letter written by Msgr. Cosimus Marrodan J. Rubio, Bishop of Tarrazona, from which the following is taken:
"The nuns of the convent of Agreda, among whom religious discipline flourishes in its primitive rigor, have preserved the sworn testimonies to many of the above mentioned miracles. Among these is the testimony of a poor woman who was afflicted with heart disease. The physicians, after having employed every known remedy but without effect, declared the case hopeless. The woman had recourse to God and with lively confidence implored the intercession of Sister Mary of Jesus. She drank a few drops of water out of the cup which is known as the "cup of the mother," because it was presented to Venerable Mary by King Philip IV. The patient intended to make a nine-day novena, but her favor was granted before the novena was finished. The moment she put the cup to her lips she was restored to perfect health. The doctors testified on oath that her cure could be attributed to nothing but a miracle."
Without doubt Venerable Mary of Agreda's miracle par excellence is the writing of the Life of the Most Holy Mother of God, and the wonders it performs in inspiring to sanctity the souls who read and meditate upon it. Yes, the biography itself is an endless chain of miracles! This statement is entirely consistent with the logical deduction drawn from the study of the voluminous eulogies of the great Popes, cardinals, prelates, eminent theologians and Mariologists, priests, sisters, noblemen, kings, and common people. All the great universities of Europe and all the religious orders of the Church gave the writing enthusiastic praise. During the 17th century it was one of the most popular books in all Europe. To give an account of these eulogies in this brief work is impossible. P.D. Diegus de Silva, Abbot of the order of St. Benedict and Bishop of Guardia, delegated by King Philip IV to examine the first edition of the Mystical City of God, seems to us to sum up the total of all these praises in this sentence:
"With the exception of Sacred Scripture, the heavenly wisdom which it contains has never before been revealed to mortals."
In 1667 when her precious remains were exhumed and found to be incorrupt, permeating the surrounding air with a most sweet fragrance, there was among the many celebrities present Don John of Austria, savior of Christianity from the Turks, whose success in great measure was due to the prayers of Venerable María de Jesus.
Even during her lifetime Venerable María exerted powerful influence upon both Church and State. Father John Gilmary Shea states in his "History of the Catholic Church in the United States:"
"Through her life, Ven. Mary of Agreda petitioned the Holy See to define clearly two points, made de Fide in our times—the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, and the infallibility of the Sovereign Pontiff."
Her famous letter to Pope Alexander VII caused the cessation of hostilities between the two most powerful monarchies in Europe, France and Spain.
Father Samaniego wrote the following regarding her influence upon the government of the only kingdom (Spain) of Europe where the poison of heresy had not spread. In our own day, Spain is the only nation that has defeated Communism. Says Fr. Samaniego:
"God decreed that a poor nun of St. Clare, who was educated in the mountains and secluded in a convent situated in the most remote part of Castille, should be the intimate and immediate adviser of the King of Spain."
6 minute video about Venerable Mary of Agreda
City of God Online
Mary of Agreda Describes Her Travels
• Maria de Agreda - article in Wikipedia, with links to other sites.
Divine Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary
Divine Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary. Taken verbatim from the Mystical City of God, by Mary of Agreda.
Inspiring and beautiful help, for all those who wish to understand the depth and meaning of the Rosary. 600 pgs. Softcover. – $5.00 + 4.00 shipping.
J.M.J. Book Company, P.O. Box 15, Necedah, WI 54646 ----- Tel. (608) 565-2516
The Mystical City of God, by Mary of Agreda, is available in PDF format from: St. Joseph Publications --
Mystical City of God, by Agreda. Part 1. -- Download PDF
Mystical City of God, by Agreda. Part 2. -- Download PDF
Mystical City of God, by Agreda. Part 3. -- Download PDF
- - Mystical City of God (1/4) on Gloria.tv
- - Instruction from the Blessed Virgin Mary to Ven. Mary of Agreda. 4 min.
12-page booklet: Rosary Meditations from the Mystical City of God by Agreda. • Rosary Meditations at Gloria.tv
Faith is Greater than Obedience is available in PDF format from: albertdrexel.20m.com
Abridged and 4-Volume Works of Mary of Agreda in archive.org
Mystical City of God Organization
Venerable Mother Mary of Jesus of Agreda (1602—1665)
The Mystical City of God is a monumental four-volume, 2,676-page history of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as revealed by Our Lady to this 17th century Spanish nun.
Venerable Mary saw in ecstasy all the events recorded within the book. Later, Our Lady told her to write them down—the result is The Mystical City of God, acclaimed by Popes, cardinals and theologians, a book which has inspired the laity and the clergy for over 300 years and which has gone into sixty editions in various languages.
Arguably, the most important book — second only to the Bible — ever to have been written. The Mystical City of God, revealed to Mother Mary of Jesus by Heaven itself, complements and completes the story of the life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but, in addition, provides the rich history of the entire life of His Most Blessed Mother.
Through the study of Our Lady, we come to know Her, Her Son and the Blessed Trinity in ways never before imagined.
"How much my intercession and the power I have in heaven is worth has never been hidden in the Church, for I have demonstrated my ability to save all by so many thousands of miracles, prodigies and favors operated in behalf of those devoted to me. With those who have called upon me in their needs I have always shown myself liberal, and the Lord has shown himself liberal to them on my account. The Most High still wishes to give liberally of his infinite treasures and resolves to favor those who know how to gain my intercession before God. This is the secure way and the powerful means of advancing the Church, of improving the Catholic reigns, of spreading the faith, of furthering the welfare of families and of states, of bringing the souls to grace and to the friendship of God.”
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