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The Venerable Mother Mary of Jesus of Agreda

Franciscan- Conceptionist

Publication to promote her Beatification

December 8, 2008

375 years of Contemplative Life

They are fulfilled 375 years of the foundation of the Convent of The Conception by Sister Maria de Jesus of Ágreda.
It would be unthinkable to write Ágreda's history without the presence of this Monastery. It is a physical reality that forms a part of the Historical artistic Patrimony of the Village, but especially it is a spiritual reality that has served, and serves today as engine to Ágreda's Christian Community.
We might recreate in these lines the memories of so many people who have approached throughout the centuries up to the Convent of The Conception to pray or to ask for prayers, to have a meeting with God or to discover his existence; to have a gesture of gratefulness for all the nuns, who dedicated between their walls to the contemplative life, have moved our faith and our hope; to give honoring to the real guardians of the legacy of the Mother Ágreda.
Three hundred seventy five years is a wide period of time for these and other many things, but what really is clear is that today, just in 21st century, in the today’s Church, the nuns of The Conception’s monastery are an example for Ágreda's Christian community of that it is possible to live through the life with the real freedom of the children of God, that it is possible to have the experience that God is A Father, the universal brotherhood, the balance between the silence and the prayer, the joy, the peace and to give testimony of the Hope. The Conception monastery continues giving response to the deep questions that the today’s man asks himself about the sense of the life and of the death, the hope and the love, the suffering and the happiness, the time and the eternity. The life of the religious ones is a privileged way of announcing to the men the arrival of the God's Kingdom. Dedicated to listen the God's Word and to the prayer, they have the freedom of assuming as own the problems of the persons and raise them to God by means of the prayer.

Throughout this year, and until July 10, 2009, we will celebrate that the Convent of The Conception in these 375 years has been source of light, spiritual refuge and living place of meeting with God.

To listen of the Word

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P. GASPAR CALVO MORALEJO, OFM

The Synod of the Bishops that, in the second millennium of the birth of the Apostle S. Paul, is celebrated this year of the Lord in Rome, it has as topic of reflection and study, precisely, “The God's Word in the life and in the mission of the Church." Life and mission they constitute two terms that complement each other and that manage to be identified, in fact, when the life like occupation conforms to the aim and purpose of its existence, its mission, and it gets accommodated to the divine plans, with which the Providence of the Lord relies on the personal collaboration of each one of us. If personally each one we are the persons in charge of our destiny, it is not in an arbitrary way, without bearing the plans of the Lord in mind, that in a soft and mysterious way, He is guiding our steps, rebels in occasions, relying on our collaboration for his major glory. It is this goal to which it is orientated ours human being existence. In to pass for the way of our life, like in a sports competition, following the S. Paul's similar one, we all equally are called to the victory.
 The word of the Lord will be, precisely, a light in our path and life of our life, M. Maria de Jesus of Ágreda is for all of us significant example and always current lesson and valuable, for the scout and acceptance of this Word and for our generous response to His call. That permanent Word that the Lord directs us is the Holy Writ as the living Tradition of the Church, Mother and Teacher, transmits us. The New Testament is Its suitable synthesis. And Christ Jesus, the Only-begotten Son of God Father and of Maria, with his human word communicates it to us in his Gospel. For the mystery of his Incarnation in the virginal bosom of Santa Maria, his Mother, he will be the Enmanuel, the God with us, to speaks us with his words of God-Man, and to indicate us the way of his truth to come to the goal.
This God's Verb became Man and his blessed Mother, Maria, in feeling of the Venerable one, they both constitute the unique reference of all the Writings, which pages to them refer, since "all the mysteries of Christ and of his Mother are revealed in the divine writings, but not all of them are manifested equally at the same time", it is written. They are like both tables of the new Law of Grace, in whose hearts it is written, sign of the New Alliance between the God's compassionate love and us his children, the men. This Verb of God, became man like us, and his blessed Mother, in feeling of the Venerable Ágreda, they constitute the unique reference of the whole Holy Writing, since all his pages about them speak to us and to them they refer. And, expressly or by means of a symbolic language, in facts, in words or in figures, to Jesus and to Maria they recount. Therefore for the perfect knowledge, of the Word of the Lord, with the meditated reading of his written Word, of the Gospel, it would be enough to us to be able to manage to affirm with S. Francisco of Asis: " I Know Christ, poorly and crucified "
 
Sister Maria de Jesus was Knowledgeable of Christ and of Maria, his Mother, of whom she declared herself humbly servant. Because of it she finds the reference to them in all the pages of the Holy Writ. And of such a form, which on having written her great work the " God's Mystical City " will invoke in it in proof of her affirmations, the impressive quantity of 3.199 citations of her texts, taken of the Writing, and she will find in her exegesis or spiritual interpretation the Christological sense and Marian, reason of her affirmations about all that she knows in the light of the Holy Spirit.
Our Ágreda's Franciscan conceptionist had taken as singular Teacher and Mother to Maria, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, the Virgin of the Word. Of Maria she had learned to be also a “listener virgin", and to putting into practice the educations that she receives as faithful executor; and living like real Christian through the requirements of her contemplative life. Because if it, the observance of the evangelical doctrine with the major possible perfection, was her supreme aspiration. She takes as example and model before her eyes to her Mother and Teacher, Maria, the first disciple of Christ Jesus and the first one christian.
Venerable M. Ágreda, following her example, today she repeats us with the Our Lady the Virgin: “Do what Jesus, my Son, says to you". The Word, carrier of real life, produces always abundant fruits of joyful hope in ours to walk along the life towards the meeting with the Lord.

 

Maria of Agreda, Mystical Lady in Blue

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A biography by Marilyn H. Fedewa

About the Book
María of Ágreda, Mystical Lady in Blue chronicles the inspirational life of 17th century abbess Sor María de Jesús of Ágreda, Spain.  While this biography offers careful research and thorough annotations, it is written in a modern-day popular style, in order to make Sor María’s inspiring story come alive in English to as wide of an audience as possible.  The book is scheduled for release early in 2009 through the University of New Mexico Press (UNMP).  UNM Press is a highly-regarded academic publisher, and one with a deep commitment to the colonial history of the American Southwest, in which Sor María plays such an important role.

In composing the biography of the Venerable Sor María de Jesús, the author consulted a wide range of materials in English and Spanish.  These include noted American colonial historians and present-day scholars, as well as experts in Spain who have distinguished themselves in their exposition of the Ágreda mystic and her Mariology—such as Enrique Llamas, Gaspar Calvo, Antonio Artola, Ricardo Fernández Garcia, and others. Additionally, with the generous assistance of the present day nuns of Ágreda, author Marilyn Fedewa’s biography has already been described as one of the most thorough representations of material by and about Sor María.

Early comments on the book have been very positive, from both religious and scholarly reviewers.

“Marilyn Fedewa makes this seventeenth century Spanish mystic come to life in her very readable style. You begin to admire Sor María’s spirituality, humility, obedience and intense faith. Sor María becomes very real to the reader.  You will not soon forget this incredible woman of God.”Monsignor Michael D. Murphy
Moderator of the Curia
Diocese of Lansing (Michigan, USA)

“I am very impressed with the author’s scholarship. María of Ágreda’s legacy is very meaningful in the American Southwest, and this book performs a great service for people there and beyond, in presenting such a comprehensible treatment of this mystic’s unusual experiences.”Fr. Thomas J. Steele, S.J.
Compiler and author of The Regis Santos,
 the largest teaching collection of Spanish Colonial
and contemporary devotional art in the United States 

“In the time-honored tradition of hagiography, Fedewa introduces a remarkable seventeenth century mystic to a broader modern audience.  Her presentation of the life of Sor María, drawn almost entirely from the nun’s own writings, should give encouragement to the advocates who have persisted in seeking her canonization for several centuries.”Jo Ann McNamara, Author
Sisters in Arms: Catholic Nuns Through Two Millennia
(Harvard University Press, 1998)


About the Author 
Marilyn Fedewa first learned about María of Ágreda indirectly, through a saintly bearded monk who read the mystic’s books on his knees for fifty years and who gave copies of them to Fedewa’s family in 1952.  The author found the four dusty volumes in 1997—each encased in worn green leathery binding with faded gold lettering that read Mystical City of God.  After immersing herself in the volumes each night after work for six months, Fedewa became captivated with Sor María’s unabashed spirituality amidst all the historical and political intrigues of the 17th century. She began researching María of Ágreda’s life in earnest in 1998. Within a year, she visited Sor María’s convent in Spain to interview the present-day nuns about their foundress. 

Soon Fedewa’s expertise on the mystic grew, and she published over fifteen articles about her in the U.S., and two in Spain.  During that time, she remained in regular contact with the nuns of Sor María’s convent, and the vice postulator for Sor María’s cause for sainthood. She also became a member from afar, of the Work Group for Sor María’s cause, to which the vice postulator named her the “American correspondent.” During the same time, Fedewa worked with a rosary company in America to develop special rosaries in honor of Sor María. At the request of Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer of the diocese of San Angelo, Texas, she developed prayer cards for Sor María’s sainthood which were distributed to over 5,000 people in Bishop Pfeifer’s diocese. She is currently acting as historical consultant to the consortium in San Angelo that is working to produce a musical pageant in honor of Sor María, their beloved “Lady in Blue.”

When Marilyn Fedewa developed her website in 2002, she dedicated a great majority of its pages to building awareness about Sor María de Jesús. As a result, she received many requests for additional information on the mystic.  When her readers inquired about a biography of the Venerable in English, she was all too aware of the only two that had been written, long ago. While each book was commendable in its own way, each had been out of print for many years, and lacked information on important aspects of Sor María’s spiritual and historical experiences.

“That was my pivotal turning point,” Fedewa said. “I had been so inspired by the spiritual experiences and writing of Sor María, that I became determined to share the story of her life with as many people as possible. At the same time, I felt that her mystical experiences and her writing had often been misunderstood over the centuries, and that a great deal of erroneous material had been printed about her. To write and publish this book is my way of saying ‘thank you’ to her, and I have endeavored to do so with as much accuracy and lucidity as possible.”

Fedewa holds a Bachelors degree in English Literature and Political Science from Nazareth College (Rochester, New York), and graduate credits from the University of Rochester and St. John Fisher College.  She began her career as a high school English teacher, rose to administration at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, and served Michigan State University in high-level fund-raising for ten years.  After serving for four years as Vice President for Advancement at Olivet College in Michigan, Fedewa became a full-time writer and consultant in 1998.  In 2003 she co-authored the biography of a prominent political leader and Senator of Michigan, which is distributed by Michigan State University Press. She has published over fifteen articles on Sor María, most recently in U. S. Catholic magazine. She is an associate member of the Mariological Society of America, and resides with her husband in Lansing, Michigan.

                                                                                     By Marilyn H. Fedewa April 25,2008.

Page of Sister Mary

Sentences to govern perfectly and prudently the actions

  • Any sin is an action; any action is voluntary, honest or awkward; then any sin is voluntary; do not apologize nobody sins unintentionally. 
     
  • The intention does not matter, if what is done is vicious; do conquer the facts and not the chest. The pain is conquered with patient. 
     
  • Do wait for that one, with which it never weighs on you.  
     
  • Which are the major enemies of the man? The man and his passions and appetites. 
     
  • Do not take care how many you will please, but to whom. 
     
  •  In this put all your efforts, in that you please more of listening that of speaking. 
     
  • Do not admit, if you can, sadness; at least do not make it evident. 
     
  • Do re-light the friends secretly, praise them in public. 
     
  • The words should be pondered for what they contain, not for whom says them.
     
  • Judge you orator, if to you persuade and conquer yourself first to what is convenient for you.
     
  • You have to order as to licentious slaves, to have dominion and keep a tight rein on the spirit, the language, and the gluttony, and the fury.  
     
  • What you wish to be silent, do not say it: How do you wan to get of other one what you could not get from yourself?


Extracted from the: “Laws of the Wife”. Sister Mary of Jesús.

Testimonies and favors


I am be very grateful to sister Maria de Jesus who cured me of a varicose sore after two months without improvement, in spite of the medical treatment, for suffering chronic lack of blood circulation. And by other hand, also to be able to go out of Ukraine (where I am as missionary) without paying a lot of money for that they were asking me in the airport as fine for not having registered every three months, procedure that I did not know, since in ten years that I have been there they never asked for it me.
I asked for it with a lot of faith to Sister Maria de Jesus and I could go out without paying anything. I want that this favor be published …
                                                                                                                      Josefina Quintana

 

One year ago approximately I asked for prayers to the nun in the monastery for a surgery intervention that I was going to be submitted at the University Clinic hospital in Valladolid, because of a tumor in the right lung.
It happened on March 15, 2007. The surgery was carried out successfully. I am very well, thanks to God, and I am doing normal life, being present at my work …
                                                                                                       R.M.S.  ARANDA DE DUERO

 

I want to be grateful with my entire hearth for the intercession of the Venerable Mother, Sister Maria de Jesus, in a problem very difficult to resolve.
I have a 27-year-old daughter without work since the past Christmas. We looked for work for all the factories of our population and nearby towns without any result … I entrusted this to the Mother with devotion and being sure that she would help me.
Within a few days of beginning the three days prayer to Mother Agreda, they call my daughter from a factory, to offer her a working place …
You can figure the immense happiness and gratitude to Sister Maria. I am sure that was the intercession of her …
                                                                                                             J. G.  ALCABÓN (Toledo)

 

It produces a special happiness to me to write to this Monastery where there lived such an extraordinary life, the Venerable Mother Maria de Jesus of whom I am a disciple and devout. I bought myself the book MCD and every day I read something, much or little, according to the time that I have, in such a way that it has turned into a vital need for my soul. I believe that besides being raised to the honor of the altars, Rome there had to name her mystical Marian Doctor for the wisdom, theology, and knowledge with which she develops Maria's life …
                                                                                                       M.R.P.  COSLADA (Madrid)

 

My name is Santiago García, I am from Zaragoza. I am 41 Years old. Three years ago I had a Cerebral Spillage of which I have not recovered completely yet (I still have a great handicap). I beg you to keep me present in your prayers, especially those made by intercession of The Venerable Maria Jesus de Ágreda. Two years ago you sent me the Mystical City of God. It is precious and has helped me very much. Thank you for sending it and thank you for your prayers. I apologize because of my presumption sending this mail to you, and knowing that you are contemplative, but it is that, I need so much of your) prayers.... That God bless you. Hopefully I was good and could be going to see the Convent and the coffin of The Venerable one, which some people have told me, is very nice.
                                                                                                       Santiago Garcia (Zaragoza)

 

Alms for the cause, being grateful and asking for favors

1.-ÁGREDA: 1.- Mª Carmen. Alberto. Familia Ruiz Sevillano. JJ. J.L.C. Milagros. Lourdes. XX. Rosa. Milagros S. 2.-BARCELONA: Nuria Estruch. 3.- BILBAO: XX. D.L. 4.-CORDOBA: Teresa García. Paqui Granados. 5.- LA CORUÑA: S. T. 6.-GUIPÚZCOA : (Lasarte): Rosa de Blanco, Celia Belda. 7.- MADRID: Antonia Gutiérrez (varios). LL. G. G.  8.- SEVILLA : (Morón de la Frontera) Provida. 9.- SORIA: Piedad Largo. Silvia (Fuentestrun).- 10.-TARRAGONA: (Torredembarra) Rosario Torres. 11.-ZARAGOZA: Jesús Núñez.  Hermenegildo Omeñaca. Monasterios Concepcionistas: MIEDES.  Continuará).

Sending of the Mystical City of God

From April to September, 2008. Cities and N. º of booksÁlava 1. Alicante 6. Asturias 1. Badajoz 1. Baleares 1. Barcelona 8. Cáceres 1. Cádiz 3. Cantabria 7. Ciudad Real 1. La Coruña 1.  Córdoba 2. Cuenca 1.Granada 3. Guipúzcoa 6. León 1. Madrid 146. Málaga 3. Murcia 13. Navarra 3. Orense 1. Pontevedra 3. Sevilla 2. Soria 5. Tarragona 1. Tenerife 8. Valencia 5. Vizcaya 23. Argentina 1. Costa Rica 1. Jerusalén 3. México 2. Paraguay 2. Roma 1. Torno del monasterio 16. Total 283.

LECTURES: Duns Scotus and the Venerable Sister Mary of Agreda

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On 7th October 2008, Tuesday, a series of lectures, organized by Sister Mary of Agreda work group, finished. It was designed to commemorate the 700 anniversary of John Duns Scotus´s death, a well-known Franciscan theologian and philosopher. The main objective of this series was to bring nearer, to those who are interested in the cause of Mother Agreda, the so-called “the Subtle Doctor” as one of the greatest defenders of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
 Throughout three lectures, the most important characteristics of this distinguished Blessed person were analysed; as well as his influence in the Venerable from Agreda and her masterpiece: Mystical City of God. The inaugural lecture was given by Doctor Pedro Ignacio Utrilla and its title was: “Duns Scotus´ thought in the culture of his time”. The second one was given by the vice postulator of Sister Mary´s sanctification’s cause: Father Gaspar Calvo and it was about “The Mariology of Duns Scotus and Mother Agreda”. The last lecture was given by Father Antonio Maria Artola, who talked about: “Christ Redeemer in Duns Scotus and Mother Agreda”. The audience showed great interest about the different topics stated in every lecture, in spite of the fact that in the first two ones, which took place in August: 5th and 12th, gathered a larger group of people.



Monsignor Angelo Amato visits Aagreda

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On 4th August 2008, Sunday, the community of the Concepcionist Franciscan Mothers from Agreda lived a historical day. The prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, Monsignor Angelo Amato, visited the tomb of Sister Mary of Jesus from Agreda. Even though his visit had a private nature, a large number of the Venerable Sister Mary´s devotees gathered expectantly. Monsignor Amato knows very closely the situation of the cause of beatification of the religious woman from Agreda, due to his former responsibility, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Catholic Faith.
 At about 11:300 in the morning, Monsignor Amato arrived at the convent of Agreda, accompanied by: the bishop of our dioceses, Father Gerardo Melgar, his predecessor – Father Vicente Jimenez, present bishop from Santander-; as well as the bishop from Tarazona – Father Demetrio Fernandez. There were also present: Father Gaspar Calvo – vice postulator of her cause of sanctity-, Father David Gonzalo – general vicarious of the dioceses, Father Saturio Lapeña - Agreda Parish Priest, as well as other priests from the dioceses.
 The prefect talked to the religious community for a while before the beginning of the Eucharist. At this moment, he communicated them the latest news in relation with Mother Agreda´s beatification. At noon, the holy mass, which was presided by the Vatican authority, started. Throughout the homily, the bishop Vicente Jimenez commented on Sister Mary´s life and her masterpiece, Mystical City of God. He also explained the results of the latest investigations which have been done to clarify the obstacles that slow down the beatification of the Venerable. The religious event finished with a short speech given by Monsignor Amato who talked to the devout audience who had attended the mass. The prelate emphasized the missionary character of Mother Agreda, her fame of sanctity and her relevance as a mystic nun.
 After the Eucharist, some members of Sister Mary of Agreda work group gave him some books which included the latest researches; they also gave him a folder with news from the press to show the prefect all the work done in favour of Sister Mary´s beatification. The gathered faithful people also talked to the Vatican authority, some of them expressed their wishes of a quick beatification of the Venerable, and some of them also communicated the gifts awarded by Sister Mary in their lives.
 After that, the various ecclesiastic authorities enjoyed the meal prepared by the Conceptionist Mothers. To finish with his visit, Monsignor Amato and his companions paid a visit to different churches of Agreda.
 According to the interview given by Monsignor Angelo Amato to one county newspaper, he said that to obtain the beatification of Sister Mary: “Some theological difficulties should be overcome. Specially, the harmony between the Mariology stated by the Venerable in her book Mystical City of God and the Mariology of the Vatican II and the Catholic one”. (Diario de Soria, 5th August 2008, page 12)



The county government publishes another book about the venerable sister Mary of Agreda

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“Sister Mary of Jesus from Agreda and the conventual literature in the Spanish Golden Century” belongs to the collection “University Monographs” from Alphonse VIII International University. It consists of a compilation of nine essays; they are the result of a summer course which took place in Agreda, August 2006. The book is divided in two parts: the first one is focused in the figure of Mother Agreda, and the second one deals with the nuns who wrote behind the walls of the contemplative monasteries; this fact was a path of freedom for the women at that age, because, in ordinary conditions, the cultural world was of not easy access for the feminine world in the Baroque society.  The authors of the lectures were: Consolación Baranda, Francois Bonfils, Beatriz Ferrús y María Gabriela Torres, for the first part of the book, and Ignacio Arellana, Celsa Carmen García, Sara Poot and Miguel Zugasti for the second part of the book.