Sainthood sought for ‘the Blue Nun’

Spanish pilgrims push for honors

ALBUQUERQUE – Pilgrims from Agreda, Spain, visited New Mexico this week in a quest to push sainthood for a woman known as “the Blue Nun.”

The pilgrims came to gather information on the influences of Sor Maria de Jesus de Agreda, a 17th-century Catholic icon and author of a well-known book on Mother Mary. Her image is reported to have appeared more than 500 times in 1620 to the Jumanos, a Plains Native American tribe at the Salinas Pueblo Missions Monument in New Mexico.

The visitors, from the birth town of the Blue Nun, toured Isleta Pueblo and the ruins of Gran Quivira.

Sor Maria de Agreda served as the spiritual and political adviser of King Philip IV of Spain for more than 22 years. She chronicled the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, in the book Mystical City of God, a work the Spanish Inquisition temporarily condemned.

She is lauded in Spain as one of the most influential women in its history and is also credited for helping with the establishment of early Texas missions.

But she is remembered in New Mexico because, according to the story, in her apparition she asked the Jumanos to go to the Pueblo of Isleta to ask the Franciscans for a missionary for their tribe. Those efforts helped establish peaceful settlements in the territory.

According to the New Mexico Office of the State Historian, Pope Clemente X initiated the process for beatification of Sor María in 1765. But that process has never been completed.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe helped organize the pilgrimage with representatives of the National Parks Service, Mountainair community leaders, the University of New Mexico and the Jumano-Apaches of West Texas

The pilgrims are scheduled to report their findings to Most Rev. Gerardo Melgar Viciosa, Bishop of Osma-Soria, Spain, and other high ranking Catholic officials.