María de Ágreda

María de Ágreda
María de Ágreda



One of the more remarkable stories that relate to Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is the story of María de Jesus de Ágreda. Born in 1602, Sor María de Ágreda is reported to have experienced a period of bilocations beginning in 1620. Sor María revealed that while in a trance in her convent in Ágreda, Spain, she was also mystically present in New Mexico and other places in the present day American southwest and Mexico. While in New Mexico, Sor María reported that she had visited the Jumano Indians encouraging them to visit the Spanish missions to ask that a missionary return with them to their pueblos and villages. By 1626, reports from New Mexico were relaying stories of Native Americans arriving at missions because a "Lady in Blue" had told them to go and speak to the priests at those missions. One location said to have been visited by this "Lady in Blue" was the pueblo of Las Humanas, now known as Gran Quivira. She was also reported to have repeatedly "visited" a group of refugee Jumanos near the mission of Cuarac (Quarai). With the arrival of additional missionaries in 1629, Gran Quivira became a visita (satellite mission without a resident Father) of the Abó Mission. Meanwhile, Fray Alonso de Benavides, Custodian of New Mexico, returned to Spain bringing his report (or memorial) of the Blue Nun in New Mexico. While in Spain Benavides met with King Felipe IV, and with his report on the Blue Nun was able to secure additional funds for New Mexico. Benavides then met with Sor María in Ágreda for three weeks, confirming that she was indeed the "Lady in Blue." An expanded report was presented to Pope Urban VIII in 1634. The following year the Spanish Inquisition visited Sor María and found nothing to discredit her story and writings. In 1643 Sor María is visited by King Felipe IV and they begin a 22 year correspondence. Following her death in 1665, the beatification process began in 1673 by Pope Clemente X, who declared Sor María a "Venerable," but the process for her canonization has yet to be completed.

A resurgence in interest in the story of María de Ágreda following her 400th birthday in 2002 has recently brought added interest in Gran Quivira, Quarai, and Abó, and the town of Mountainair, New Mexico. Plans by the Manzano Mountain Arts Council for a public mural in Mountainair featuring Sor María are now in the works.

Last updated: December 21, 2020

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Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
PO Box 517
105 South Ripley Avenue

Mountainair, NM 87036-0517


505 847-2585 x220
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