She was born of wealthy parents, in a castle at Agreda, Spain on April 2, 1602. Her parents were Catherine and Francis Coronel who also had another daughter and two sons. By the Will of God, the wealth and castle were given to the Franciscan Order and the castle became The Convent of The Immaculate Conception. Her father and brothers became Franciscan monks and Maria, her mother, and her sister became nuns, and in 1627, Sister Maria was elected Abbess of the convent and remained so until her death in 1665.
As the head of the Holy Family, and the author of life, His Majesty dreamed it proper to write the "Foreword to the sacred text.:
"When I sent my only Begotten Son into the World, with few exceptions of souls that served me, the world was in a worse condition than it had ever been: human nature is so imperfect that if it does not subject itself to the interior guidance of my light and to the fulfilment of the precepts of my ministers by sacrificing its own judgment and following me, who am the way, the truth, and the life, and by carefully observing My commandments in order to lose my friendship, it will presently fall into the abyss of darkness and innumerable miseries, until it arrives at obstinacy in sin.
From the creation and sin of the first man until I gave the law to Moses, men governed themselves more and more from the truth and light and have now arrived at a state of complete forgetfulness. In Fatherly love I sent them eternal salvation and a remedy for the incurably infirmities of human nature, thus justifying My cause, and just as I then chose the opportune time for the greater manifestation of My mercy, I now select this time for showing them another great favour. For now the hour has come and the opportune time, to let me know the just cause of My anger, and they are now justly charged and convinced of their guilt, now I will make manifest My justice and equity; I will show them how well justified My cause is.
In order that this may come to pass more speedily, and because it is now time that My mercy show itself more openly and because My love must not be idle, I will offer to them an opportune remedy, if they will but make use of it for returning My favour.
Now at this hour, when the world has arrived at so unfortunate a pass, and when thought the World has become incarnate, mortals are more careless of their souls than ever before, the days of their transitory life is passing swiftly at the setting of the sun of time, and the night of eternity is approaching closer and closer for the wicked, and the day without a night is being born for the just, when the majority of all mortals are sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness of their ignorance and guilt, oppressing the just and mocking the children of God. When My holy and Divine law is despised in the management of the iniquitous affairs of the state, wicked least deserve My mercy; in these predestined times, I wish to open a portal for the just over through which they can find access to my mercy; I wish to give them a light by which they can dispel the gloom that envelops in their minds, I wish to furnish them a suitably remedy for restoring them to My grace.
Happy they who find it, and the blessed they who shall appreciate its value, rich they who shall come upon this treasure, and blessed and very wise those who shall search into and shall understand its marvels and hidden mysteries.
I desire to make known to mortals how much intercession of Her is worth, who brought human existence to the immortal God. As recompense I desire that they look upon the wonders wrought by My mighty arm in that pure creature, as a mirror by which they can estimate their own ingratitude.
I have not revealed these mysteries in the primitive church because they are so great, that the faithful would have been lost in the contemplation and admiration of the m at a time when it was more necessary to establish firmly the law of grace and Gospel. Although all mysteries in the life of the Virgin Mary are in perfect harmony with the Gospels of the evangelist, human ignorance might have suffered recoil and doubt at their magnitude when faith in the Incarnation and Redemption and the precepts of the new law of the Gospels were yet in their beginnings. On this same account Jesus said at the last supper to His apostles: "Many things have I to say to you, but you are not yet disposed to receive them." These words He addressed to all the world, for it was not yet capable of giving full obedience to the law of grace and full ascent to the faith in the Son, much less was it prepared to be introduced into the mysteries concerning His mother.
"But now mankind has much greater need for this manifestation, and this necessarily urges Me to disregard their evil nature. If men would now seek to please Me by reverencing, believing, and studying the Wonders, which are intimately connected with this Mother of Piety, and if they would all begin to solicit Her intercession from their whole heart, the world would find some relief."
"I will no longer withhold from men this mystical city of refuge, and I do not intend that the descriptions and declarations of the life of the Blessed Virgin shall be mere opinions of contemplations, but reliable truth! They that have ears to hear, let them hear, let those who thirst come to the living waters and leave the dried out cisterns, let those that are seeking the light follow it to the end. thus speaks The Lord God Almighty?"
I should not be astonished to hear myself condemned as audacious, foolhardy, and presumptuous by any person who will begin to realise, if realised it can be, that I, a simple woman, who is of herself but sheer weakness and ignorance and who is, on account of her sins, most unworthy, has resolved and attempted to write of Divine and supernatural things. This condemnation will be more the justified in these, our present times in which the Holy Church, our mother, is so abundantly supplied with teachers and holy men, so rich in doctrines of the Holy Fathers, and doctors, in this our most opportune age, when even prudent and wise persons, full of holy zeal in the spiritual life, are disturbed and troubled at the least mention of a higher life, looking upon visions and revelations as most suspicious and dangerous paths for the pursuit of Christian perfection. If no excuse can be found for such an enterprise in itself, or even for attempting things that are so far above and superior to what man can hope to compass, and so far beyond all human capacities, then we can only conclude that to undertake them is either a sign of perverse judgment or the result of an activity far surpassing all human power. It is beyond the prudent surmise of any man that without this influence and power of the Most High, the thought of such work should enter into a human heart, or that such an enterprise should take shape in my mind. For I acknowledge and confess myself to be a weak woman, want of all virtue; therefore, it should be far from my thoughts to approach such a work, but equally as far from me to refuse it on my own accounts.
The Virgin Mary appeared to Mother Maria in her cell at the convent and spoke to her as a loving mother to Her daughter, "My daughter, the world stands much in need of this doctrine, for it does not know, nor does it practice, the reverence due to the Lord omnipotent. On account of this ignorance, His justice is provoked to afflict and humiliate men. They are sunken in their carelessness and are filled with darkness, not knowing how to seek relief or attain to the light. This, however, is justly their lot, since they fail in the reverence and fear in which they ought to have."
Our Lady revealed Herself to Mother Maria, the veil covering the hidden and magnificent mysteries was withdrawn, "My daughter console thyself and do not be disturbed in the heart, prepare thyself, fill thy soul with the light and the knowledge of the eternal life. I have many hidden blessings and sacraments to reveal from the days of my pilgrimages with Jesus, Our Lord. Our Father has appointed thee Angels to help thee in this task, do not resist for any reason, as this is God's Will."
Great fear overcame Mother Maria from what was happening and from what she was being instructed to be, the biographer of the Blessed Virgin Mary! The Angels consoled her, "With good reason thou fearest and hesitate, we too consider ourselves unworthy to record the life of Our Queen. Do not fear, if thou should begin to write wrongly, the Most High will command us to withhold thy pen as we withheld the knife of Abraham as he was about to sacrifice his son. His Majesty has not commanded us to withhold thy pen, but has ordered us to speed it on."
The powers of darkness immediately saw this new weapon as a great threat to their evil empire and resolved to launch a vicious campaign against Mother Maria to prevent her from assembling this army of holy words against them.
Even with the Divine assistance, Mother Maria became disturbed and fearful of this mission, which was so far beyond her natural powers. She felt her flesh rise up against her spirit, which caused even a greater feeling of being unworthy to begin the task.
The demons are even more cruel to persons of a weak and disheartened state of soul: seeing Mother Maria so vulnerable, they took advantage by unleashing their malice with such incredible fury that she was easily overcome by the siege and capitulated by ceasing to write, both from her wounds and the terms of the cease fire dictated by the Victors to the Vanquished.
To reaffirm her fears and trepidation's, a demon disguised as an angel of light appeared to her and told her the time to reveal the life of the Virgin Mary was not right and it could do much more harm than good, casting a dark shadow of doubt from the clouds of unknowing, obscuring the north star of God's guiding light. The demons also caused her health to fail, adding great aches and pains to the confusion caused by the conflicting thoughts, rendering her unable to seek her pen, let alone write of things Divine. Her spirit was empty, her will was broken, she had heard the groans of death and the cries of hell murmur from within her being; a failure as a human soul, a coward in the face of the enemy, physically and mentally unable to execute the: commands of God. "Woe is me, that I have come to such a state, woe to my soul which finds itself therein, where shall I turn, since the portals of my salvation are closed?" Instantly the strong sweet voice of God answered, "Where does thou wish to go outside of God Himself?" Presently a new dawn broke within her soul and she raised herself up the depths. Her peace returned and she gave thanks to God, that she had saw who He is and who she is, and that the creature by itself can do nothing without the mighty arm of the Creator.
"Just two ends await us all, eternal glory or eternal misery, it seemed such a small thing to suffer all the pains in this world to attain Eternal Heaven, and Divine help is assured to those who seek it." Seeking and finding Divine Love, and under the protection of the wings of Angels, Mother Maria gained strength, took up her weapon, and proceeded to write the biography with a tranquil and pure soul required for her pen to be guided correctly.
The writing never the less caused her great grief and tribulation of her soul. The battle was won, but the war was not over and ground retaken could be relost along with her peace, but it is better to lose one's peace than to defy the will of the Lord.
God had allowed the demons to persecute Mother Maria and her suffering was like the pains of childbirth bonding her to this Divine Labor of love that was to pass through her in the writing of the life of the Virgin Mary. Through the grace of God, Mother Maria was able to complete the first part of the life of Mary, which reveals Her childhood to Her marriage to Saint Joseph. She presented this to the Lord and He told her, "Thou hast written well and according to our pleasure, to proceed with thy Labor, thou must die to all that is visible and imperfect, you must become as pure in spirit as an angel. You must begin to write the rest of the History of the Queen more in your heart than on paper."
The Queen of Heaven spoke to Mother Maria saying, "My daughter, console thyself and do not be disturbed in thy heart on account of this Labor, prepare thyself for it and I will be thy Mother and Superior, whom thou shall obey. I will supplement thy deficiencies and thou shalt be my agent, through whom the will of my Son and God shall be fulfilled. In all thy temptations and troubles thou shall take refuge with me, confer about them with me, and take my advice in all things. Obey me, and I will favour thee."
From that day on the Mother of Mercy became more intimate with her biographer, teaching her the order of the universe and preparing her for spiritual welfare. She taught the perfection of the seven virtues as both defensive and offensive weapons against the formidable seven deadly sins. Her lessons were included in the biography for the benefit of man kind. The Virgin Mary counselled the Abbess, filling her with the light of Divine Knowledge of the eternal life and revealing ineffable mysteries previously unknown in the marvels of Her Holy life. The Queen of Heaven then appointed one of Her thousand guardian Angels that had been present with the Holy Family during their pilgrimages on earth. He gave Mother Maria his eyewitness accounts of the events, assisting greatly in the writing of the life of the Queen.
So purified by the infused Divine light had Mother Maria become that the Angels conversed with her as if she was already free of mortal flesh.
The further Mother Maria sailed into the immense ocean of the excellence and magnificent life of the Virgin Mary, the more dangerous the seas of wonder became. Her cares vastly increased, not knowing where or when the pirates would attack.
The Holy Angels, being the prelates and ministers of the Lord's will, reiterated the Divine command to continue the voyage to the end. With their help and that of the Queen, the hindrances which opposed the flow of light and grace were removed and her sails caught the winds of Divine Love, which took her through the birth of Jesus until His passion, death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven.
The writing of the Divine History of the Virgin Mary was both the Treasure and the map to the Treasure. Every lesson learned in virtue guided and strengthened her, hastening the winds taking her safely through the treacherous currents, avoiding the hidden reefs and shoals. Dead to sin, dead to vice, she became invulnerable to the attacks of pirates and remained diligent to the helm, cast about by violent contrary seas or becalmed by empty sails.
Onward they sailed with eyes fixed not into the dark sea, but onto the Holy stars of Mary and the Lord to guide her through the third and final leagues of the Voyage covering from the Ascension of Jesus to the Assumption of Mary into Heaven and crowned "The Queen of Heaven and Earth."
Without leaving her cell at the convent, "Mary of Agreda" had circumnavigated her soul, traversed the sea of doubt and withstood the attacks of pirates and the battering tempest. She had become a vessel of the Lord and had safely delivered the precious cargo to which she had been assigned.
The ten year voyage was accompanied by occasional visits by priests and bishops that had learned of her adventures and explorations into the unknown life of the Virgin Mary. Some were encouraging, but some were insisting the Abbess abandon the work. Her priest and confessor, Father de la Torre, would admonish her for listening to the ignorant, and she would continue to write. Mother Maria's international reputation as the saintly "Flying Nun" from Spain made it very difficult for her to have been charged with witchcraft or heresy. They couldn't bum Mother Maria without the condemnation of the whole Christian world, but they could burn the books!
Her priest and confessor, Father Andres de la Torre was summoned to the Vatican and a substitute priest was sent to the convent and presently ordered Mother Maria to burn the books for the good of her soul. Ten years of writing, nearly three thousand pages that had inflamed her soul and consumed her life, were now in flames and consumed to ashes in a few minutes. When Father de la Torre returned, he said the only thing he could: he ordered her to rewrite them!
The second Voyage into the vastness of the life of the Queen contained all the fears and dangers of the first, only this time Mother Maria had been fortified with Divine Light and knowledge acquired in the first voyage. Whereas she had begun the first voyage as a novice seaman on an insecure boat, she was now an experienced Captain, on a ship of war, built by God, with a crew of Holy Angels.
As the ship embarked on its second voyage into the mystical seas of Mary's Holy life, the Angels stood at the bow shouting to the dark sea, "Who is like unto God, Who is like unto God!"
It took ten more years of sailing through the storms and seas of confusion before they would once again enter the safe port at The Mystical City of God. King Phillip IV and Father de la Torre were waiting at the harbour for the twenty year voyage to deliver its precious cargo. After many years of evaluation and intense scrutiny by the Vatican officials, the Spanish Inquisition and all the great Catholic Universities, The Mystical City of God was found to "contain nothing objectionable" and was unanimously approved to be read by the faithful. King Phillip IV was the first to publish and promote the biography of the Virgin Mary in Spanish in 1665, followed by the printing in over sixty editions in French, Latin, Greek, Polish, Arabic, German, Portuguese, Dutch, German, and only recently in English in 1949.
Pope Innocent XI was the first Holy Father to give his official approval to The Mystical City of Cod in 1686. On April 29, ]929, Pope Plus XI granted a private audience to the publisher of the Corcoran Publishing Co. of Albuquerque, N.M. His Holiness wrote, "You have done a great work in honor of the Mother of God She will never permit Herself to be outdone in generosity and will know how to reward a thousand fold. We grant you the apostolic benediction to all readers and promoters of The Mystical City of God."
In 1949, the Archbishop of Santa Fe gave his Imprimatur to the first English edition and promoted them; however, due to the lack of national attention they fell out of print, but were rescued by an international society of nuns called the "Blue Army" which have reprinted the four volumes and an abridged version and even a smaller paperback thus ensuring their ever gaining popularity among the English speaking people's of the world.
Shortly after Mother Maria's death in 1665, the nuns at the convent began the process for Sainthood for Mother Maria, and have thus far obtained the title of "Venerable" which begins the process. It is indeed a rare cause for Sainthood whereas the people of the nation in which the miracles occurred in are ignorant of the events and are consequently not involved in the promotion of the cause themselves.
Work of God Apostolate
Venerable Sor Maria de Agreda