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October 31 , 2008

María of Ágreda: Mystical Lady in Blue


News of María of Ágreda's exceptional attributes spread from her cloistered convent in seventeenth-century Ågreda (Spain) to the court in Madrid and beyond. Without leaving her village, the abbess impacted the kingdom, her church, and the New World; Spanish Hapsburg king Felipe IV sought her spiritual and political counsel for over twenty-two years. Based upon her transcendent visionary experiences, Sor María chronicled the life of Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, in Mystical City of God, a work the Spanish Inquisition temporarily condemned. In America, reports emerged that she had miraculously appeared to Jumano Native Americans - a feat corroborated by witnesses in Spain, Texas, and New Mexico, where she is honored today as the legendary "Lady in Blue." Lauded in Spain as one of the most influential women in its history, and in the United States as an inspiring pioneer, Sor María's story will appeal to cultural historians and to women who have struggled for equanimity against all odds.

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Marilyn Fedewa's biography of this fascinating woman integrates voluminous autobiographical, historical, and literary sources published by and about María of Ágreda. With liberal access to Sor María's papal delegate in Spain and convent archives in Ágreda, Fedewa skillfully reconstructs a historical and spiritual backdrop against which Sor María's voice may be heard.

"Marilyn Fedewa has written a stirring portrait of María of Ágreda, a brilliant . . . remarkable player in major spiritual and secular events of [her] age." - Kenneth A. Briggs, former religion editor for the New York Times

"A fascinating biography of an extraordinary woman told from the perspective of her 17th-century Spanish religious culture." - Clark A. Colahan, author of Visions of Sor María de Ágreda: Writing Knowledge and Power

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