Mary of Ágreda

compiled by Carme Font Paz

Birth

April 2nd, 1602 in 42100 Ágreda, Soria, Spain

Education

Probably had received a girl’s pious education at home.

Death

May 24th, 1665 in 42100 Ágreda, Soria, Spain

Religion

Catholic
Personal Information

Name(s)

Mary de Ágreda (also known as María Coronel y Arana, or María de Jesús de Ágreda, or La Venerable, or Sor María), from the Order of the Immaculate Conception.

Date and place of birth

2 April, 1602, in Ágreda, Soria, Castile and León, Spain.

Date and place of death

 24 May, 1665, in Ágreda, Soria, Castile and León, Spain.

Family

Mother: María Coronel y Arana, originally from a Hidalgo wealthy family of Biscay. 

Father: Francisco Coronel. In his fifties, he entered the Franciscan house of San Antonio de Nalda.

 Marriage and Family Life

Both parents were very religious and conceived 11 children -only four of them survived into adulthood. Mary’s mother, Catalina, experienced revelations as she told her confessor, fray Juan de Torrecilla, to transform her household into a convent.

Both the mother and her two surviving daughters, María de Ágreda and her sister Jerónima, entered this new convent belonging to the Order of the Immaculate Conception. Her two brothers entered the Order of the Franciscans in Nalda’s convent, Soria.

María, her mother and sister were the founders of the discalced branch of the Order of the Immaculate Conception in Ágreda.

  1. María took holy orders at the age of 16. 
  2. With a papal approval, Mary of Ágreda was made Abbess. She managed the Ágreda Convent until her death in 1665. 

Education

No specific mention of education, but probably had received a girl’s pious education at home

Religion

Catholic. Order of the Immaculate Conception, Discalced branch.

Transformation(s)

She was born in a devout Catholic family, created her own Order of Immaculate Conception, Discalced branch, and became a theologian. 

 

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Significance

Works/Agency

Her writings are mystical and ascetic. She defended the immaculate conception of the virgin, along the lines of the Marian theology of the Scottish John Duns Scotus (1266-1308).

Her main work is Mística Ciudad de Dios (Mystical City of God) published in 1670 in Madrid by an anonymous press and forbidden by the Spanish Inquisition, but it was immediately accepted again.

In 1696 MCD was printed again in Antwerp by “Henrico y Cornelio Verdussen”.

1643-1665 Mary kept an epistolary relationship with Philip IV of Spain. A total of 600 letters that deal with social, political and religious matters. 

She also maintained correspondence with Pope Clement IX before he became a Pope.

Reputation

Ágreda claimed that the book had been dictated by the Virgin Mary herself and defended the Virgin’s immaculate conception (espoused as well by the Spanish Franciscan order, and most Spanish Universities such as Salamanca, Granada and Madrid). 

In 1681 the Inquisition or “Holy Office” in the Vatican censured Mystical City of God and included it on the Index of Forbidden Books. But Ágreda was not condemned on the grounds of “Blessed Innocence”.

Ágreda is a “Venerable” but she is not a “Saint”.

Legacy and Influence

The Second Vatican Council under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, 1962, until 1965 with Pope Paul VI, accepted and supported Ágreda’s Marian theology. 

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Controversies

New and unfolding information and interpretations

She expounded on Marian spirituality, defending filial devotion, imitation, and invocation to the Virgin Mary as mother and female master of the Church.

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