The Lady in Blue
Sister Maria de Jesus, had a great zeal for “saving souls for the Lord”; from her more tender age, God granted her to have a vision of the soul in sanctifying grace and of the soul in mortal sin that marked totally her life, from this moment Maria Coronel Arana already would not be the same. From there, her spirit would be elevated to searching only to satisfying her Dear one, to belong completely only for Him.
The Lord favored her with exterior phenomena, but all these mystical extraordinary phenomena stopped, to yield to a concentration of her inner supernatural, which was manifested with the phenomenon of the bilocation that it was making her operate distantly of thousands of kilometers in the American lands of New Mexico. It was the year 1622. Sister Maria had only 20 years old.
La bilocación que trasladó a Sor María desde su retiro de Ágreda sobre el Atlántico hasta América fue en su tiempo algo que causó el más grande estupor, no sólo en España sino en las mismas Indias, donde ha perdurado hasta nuestros días la fama de la dama de azul del Oeste que evangelizara vasta zonas de Nuevo México.
The obstacles to the action of the missionaries were hard. Some of these were the hostility of the indigenous tribes, then the difficulty of the autochthonous languages – different and strange in their structure-, the big distances, etc. It is when there begin the inexplicable actions of the legendary “ lady in blue” who prepares the Indians to the receipt of the baptism.
Of these events she self left a story: “ Look like To Me that one day, after having received our Lord, His Majesty showed me the whole world, and I knew the variety of bred things; how admirable is the Lord in the university of the land; He showed me with great clarity the multitude of creatures and souls that existed, and among them how few ones who were practicing the pure of the faith, and that were entering across the door of the baptism to be children of the holy Church. The heart was dividing of seeing that the copious redemption was not falling down but on so few ones. I knew the Gospel Compliment, which they are so many who are called but so few the select ones…
Between that much variety of those who were not practicing and confessing the faith, He declared me that the part of creatures that had better disposition to convert, and that his mercy was inclining more, were those of the New Mexico and other remote kingdoms of towards that part. The fact that The Most High demonstrated me his will in this, moved my spirit with new affections of love of God and of the neighbor, and to cry out of the profound of my soul for those souls. ” It was the missionary ardor of Sister Maria de Jesus, who only wanted to save souls for his dear Lord and that they all were praising the The Most High…
From the year 1622 to 1625 at least 500 times she became present, as evangelizer, – she says in the first declarations – in the provinces of Quiviras, Jumanas and other zones of New Mexico (nowadays these zones are located in the states of New Mexico, Texas and Arizona of the United States of North America) until the reputation that such facts were suggesting her to ask God to stop these gifts, what she obtained. The natives were calling her “the in blue lady”, because of the blue sky mantle of the Conceptionist Order that she was wearing. She preached to many people the Gospel and even she suffered a kind of martyrdom. For then already there were Franciscan missionaries in those regions. And she suggested to the Indians going to the missionaries in order that, once evangelized, the whole region could receive the baptism. The missionaries astonished of to see so many prepared people and they began to investigate where there might live that “in blue lady ” that the native ones were saying.
On the year 1630 Alonso Benavides came to Spain, went to the minister general of the minor Friars, Bernardino of Sena, and he recounted him that history of the evangelization in New Mexico. And since already he knew it for other references, he sent him to the convent of the Purest Conception of Ágreda in order that he was verifying the veracity of such revelations. Benavides testified that the “in blue lady” was not other different that Maria de Ágreda and in this way he recorded in his memories.
Of these bilocations there were two inquisition processes on 1631 and 1650.
Sister Maria de Jesus de Ágreda was not only missionary she, but she was a sower of missionaries restlessness and inspiring of vocations of big and saint missionaries. We know about the Beato Fr. Junipero Serra (1713-1784), the great evangelist and settler of California (USA), who was taking always with him the God’s Mystical City and who would continue in California, the work begun by Mother Ágreda in New Mexico. Equally, the Venerable Carabantes, (Fr. Jose Velázquez Fresnada, 1628-1694, whose cause of beatification was submitted in 1910), owes his missionary vocation to Maria de Ágreda, who orientated him and inculcated him this great service to God, when he went to consult her about the will of the Lord in his life; his mission was carried on in Cumaná (Venezuela). Friar Antonio Margil de Jesús (1657-1726), evangelist in México, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Texas, used to read every night a chapter of the Mystical City of God.
Nowadays Maria de Agreda continues inspiring the missionary labor in the Catholic Church. Fifty years ago Fr. James Flanagan a priest from the Archidiocese of Boston, read the English translation of the Mystical City of God, influenced by the Gospels and the book he founded together with Fr John McHugh, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) officially on July 16, 1958 at the Archidiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico. Since the beginning there were many followers, and currently this apostolic society spread its missionary labor in part of America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, Monsignor Ángelo Amato, during a non official visit to the Sister Maria de Jesus’ Monastery, stressed this missionary facet of the Mother Ágreda and exhorted the parishioners to be missionaries in the status or vocation in which each one has been called by God.
The Blue in Lady is still alive in the heart of the Americans, and people around the world, who practice a great devotion, not for “extraordinary or supernatural” of her bilocations, but for the love with which she announced and continues announcing the Gospel, “the marvels that God does with the men” (Psalm 106).