Monday, September 18, 2017


As we pray for the people of Texas and Florida and other places ripped apart by hurricanes and other calamities, I am reminded of a story which has recently come to mind of a nun from many years ago.

In the 1620s, the Jumano tribe in Texas (before it was Texas) were allegedly having mysterious encounters with what they called the “Lady in Blue”, a young lady, dressed in a habit with a blue cape who spoke to them in their native language and instructing them in the Christian faith.

At the same time, thousands of miles away, in a cloistered convent in Spain, VENERABLE MARIA de AGREDA was reporting mystical visits that would occur during prayer of visits to a tribe of native people in what was then called New Spain. When she came, she encouraged the natives to go to the missions where the Franciscan priests would baptize them.

According to records kept by the missionaries in the area, Sr. Maria’s promptings led as many as 2,000 Jumano natives to be baptized. Most of their ancestors in the San Angelo area are still Catholic, and still have a strong devotion to the “Lady in Blue” who brought them the Catholic faith.

From her cloister, having never traveled to the New World, Sister Maria was able to describe the new plants and animals there, as well as the way the people dressed and painted themselves. She described the landscape as a place where two rivers meet.

Especially remarkable, is her description of meeting a leader with one eye, while the Franciscan missionaries in the area at the time also reported meeting a Jumano leader with one good eye and one bad eye.

According to the Texas Almanac, Friar Alonso de Benavides of the Franciscans in New Mexico was the first to confirm the story of the “Lady in Blue.” He reported the incidents of her appearances to the Spanish court in 1630, and shortly thereafter was able to interview Sr. Maria de Agreda at her convent, where he was able to cross-reference the details of the apparitions from both Sr. Maria and the Jumano natives’ perspective.

Reportedly, the bi-locations of Sister Maria ceased the Jumano native people were able to receive the sacraments.

Two years after her death in 1665 severe damp was discovered in the crypt of the convent in which she was buried. When her coffin was opened her body was found to be completely incorrupt. In the 322 years to 1989 her body was examined 14 times and reported to be intact on each occasion. In 1989 her body was reported to have remained completely unchanged since 1909
Prado, Madrid, Spain

. Many people have visited her including kings, queens, cardinals, bishops, princes, dukes and ambassadors and many of the faithful. She sleeps in the church of the convent to the right of the altar. Her face is now covered by a thin wax mask but her hands are not and are reported to look quite normal.

Venerable Maria de Agreda, who besides her mystical experiences and apparitions was a prolific writer, particularly on the topic of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her best-known work is “The Mystical City of God: Life of the Virgin Mother of God,” in which she writes about details of Mary’s life that she said came to her in prayer. 

For a woman so little known by most of us today, she certainly had an impact in her lifetime as well as the years that followed. There were so many paintings of her, it was hard to choose.  We pray she has the same impact today!

Convent in Agreda, Spain

With St. John the Evangelist

No comments:

Post a Comment