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Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda

Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda, also known as Sor Maria de Jesus de Agreda, was a 17th-century Spanish mystic, nun, and writer. Born on April 2, 1602, in Agreda, Spain, as Maria Fernandez Coronel, she would become renowned for her profound mystical experiences, her leadership within her religious community, and her extensive literary contributions, particularly her work titled "The Mystical City of God."

Maria entered the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Agreda at the age of 17, where she took the name Maria of Jesus. Her early years in the convent were marked by a commitment to a life of prayer, penance, and obedience. Known for her humility and devotion, Maria quickly earned the respect of her fellow sisters and superiors.

Maria's mystical experiences began in her youth and continued throughout her life. She reported receiving numerous visions and locutions, often centered on the life of the Virgin Mary and other aspects of the Christian faith. According to Maria of Agreda, the Virgin Mary provided spiritual guidance and instruction during their encounters. The Blessed Mother reportedly shared insights into the mysteries of the Christian faith, offering explanations and teachings that enriched Maria's understanding of divine truths. 


One of the most notable aspects of her mystical encounters was her perceived bilocation, the ability to be physically present in one location while simultaneously appearing in another. According to her own accounts in "The Mystical City of God," Venerable Mary of Agreda claimed that the Virgin Mary sent her in spirit to the New World, specifically to what is now Texas and New Mexico. The purpose of these mystical journeys was to teach and evangelize the indigenous populations and to prepare them for the arrival of Spanish missionaries.

Venerable Mary of Agreda described how, in her bilocations in the early 17th century, she would appear dressed in a blue cloak, leading the indigenous people to refer to her as the "Lady in Blue." She claimed the Virgin Mary instructed her to teach the native inhabitants about Christianity, the life of Christ, and the doctrines of the Catholic faith. Her role was that of a spiritual guide and teacher, preparing the way for the formal evangelization efforts that would follow decades later.

The "Lady in Blue" became a revered figure among these communities. There are accounts from Spanish missionaries and explorers who noted instances of indigenous people expressing knowledge of Christian teachings before formal missionary contact. However, the exact nature of these interactions remains a subject of historical and theological discussion. The Church has not officially endorsed or rejected these specific aspects of her mystical encounters.

Maria's spiritual insights and mystical experiences gained recognition, leading to her appointment as the abbess of the convent. Despite her initial reluctance to accept such a responsibility, Maria embraced her role as a leader with humility and dedication. Under her guidance, the convent flourished both spiritually and materially.

Undoubtedly, the most significant contribution of Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda is her work, "The Mystical City of God" (La Ciudad de Dios). According to her accounts, the Virgin Mary instructed Maria to write this comprehensive work that would detail the life of the Blessed Mother and provide insights into the mysteries of the faith. This four-volume work covers the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mary's childhood, her marriage to St. Joseph, the Annunciation, the Nativity, and other key events in Mary's life.

While "The Mystical City of God" has been widely praised for its rich spiritual content, it has also faced scrutiny and controversy. In 1681, the Spanish Inquisition investigated the work. However, after a thorough examination, it was declared orthodox and free from doctrinal errors in 1688. The decree of approbation acknowledged Maria's piety and mystical experiences but did not officially endorse the supernatural origin of her visions.

Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda's mystical experiences were not limited to visions of the Virgin Mary; she also reported mystical unions with the Holy Trinity and experiences of the suffering of Christ. 

Her spiritual teachings emphasized the importance of prayer, humility, and obedience. Maria advocated for a life of virtue and encouraged others to seek union with God through contemplation and meditation on the mysteries of the faith. Her writings reflected a deep love for the Virgin Mary, whom she referred to as the "Queen of Heaven" and the "Mystical Rose."

Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda passed away on May 24, 1665, at the age of 63. Her cause for beatification and canonization was introduced in the 18th century, and she was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XIV in 1759. While her cause has not progressed further, her spiritual legacy endures through her writings and the impact of her mystical experiences on the Christian faithful.


Famous Quotes

Here are some quotes attributed to Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda:

"God in His wisdom provides for all things, and His infinite love is shown in His arranging all things sweetly for us."

"The angels often asked each other what a creature so favored and honored could be like and what secrets the most High might conceal in this most perfect work of His hands."

"Obedience to the commands of the superiors brings the greatest joy and happiness to the soul."

"Prayer is nothing but a mutual communication of love between the soul and God, the soul speaking to God and God to the soul."

"Humility is the foundation of all the virtues, and without it, no other virtue can be firmly established."

"Let us conform our will to that of the Almighty, who can perform all things in us, though we can do nothing of ourselves."

"Let your continual occupation be to render thanks to the Almighty for the wonders of the Holy Eucharist."

"Patience is the virtue that conquers all things and defeats all enemies."

"The enemy attacks in this warfare with incomparable fury, and nothing but the help of the Creator will suffice to resist him."

"The more our souls taste and see the sweetness of the love of God, the more they desire to know and love Him."

"Charity is the virtue by which most surely and directly we attain to God, who is charity itself."

"In the divine mysteries, it is not right to apply human measures or standards. The greatness of divine works must not be judged by earthly measures."

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