Maria of Agreda

  • by Marilyn H. Fedewa
  • Narrated by Kelley Hazen
  • 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Stories of Maria of Agreda's exceptional attributes spread from her cloistered convent in seventeenth-century Agreda, Spain, to the court in Madrid, and beyond. Without leaving her village, the abbess impacted the kingdom, her church, and the New World. Based upon her transcendent visionary experiences, Sor Maria chronicled the life of Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, in the Mystical City of God. This work was temporarily condemned during the Spanish Inquisition.
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 known as the legendary "Lady in Blue."
Today, Sor Maria is lauded in Spain as one of the most influential women in its history, and in the United States as an inspiring pioneer. Fedewa's biography of this spirited abbess integrates voluminous autobiographical, historical, and literary sources published by and about Maria of Agreda.

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What the Critics Say

"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)
"Beyond any doubt, this book by Dr. Fedewa is an outstanding contribution to the researching of the Catholic heritage of the American Southwest, especially that of Texas and New Mexico. This work is one that should bring the author many accolades." (Southwestern Historical Quarterly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fantastic bio of a significant religious figure

"Maria of Agreda" totally took me by surprise. I have never before read, nor frankly been interested in, biographies about historical religious figures. But something about the description tugged at me and so I tried something different. Am I ever so glad that I did!

My initial fears of the text being some scholarly tome full of abstract concepts and references were swiftly allayed. This is a fully accessible, well-structured history that was crafted for the public at large. We discover early on how the author, Marilyn Fedewa, became acquainted with Maria of Agreda's writings, from whence a quest for knowledge was born that would lead Fedewa to Maria's homeland in northeastern Spain. There she interviewed modern-day members of Maria's convent, toured the region of Maria's home in the 1600's, and uncovered documents not yet translated into English that would ultimately help to write this book.

Maria seems to have led a fairly simple and religion-focused early life. Then Maria's mother experienced a vision and swayed the family to convert their ancestral home into a convent. Maria joined this convent as a teen and would never occasion to leave her village throughout the entirety of her life, except via a multitude of prayer and meditation-induced "journeys" that transported her psychic/spiritual self into the Southwest colonial U.S. where she was purported to have successfully converted its native peoples. The indelible mark she bestowed upon the natives would become the subject of gossip and scrutiny throughout Maria's life and after her death, as also would her writings about Mary, Mother of God, and the immaculate conception. As an adult who was by now abbess of her convent, Maria underwent 11 days of interrogation by an officer of the Spanish Inquisition who tried but failed to diminish Maria's spiritual travels and her writings with questions and accusations stemming from false rumors and gossip spread over many years. Maria enjoyed a special sort-of mentorship with King Philip IV of Spain, with whom she carried on a years-long correspondence that lasted up to her passing. The impact and significance of Maria's writings have long been a point of much debate and contention, not only in Maria's lifetime, but in the hundreds of years since her death, and even now.

Because this my first biography on a significant historical religious figure, I don't have anything to compare with "Maria of Agreda". But I can say that I was moved, fascinated, and inspired by the story that Fedewa laid before me. This might not be a story for everyone, but even if you can only appreciate that Maria spoke her truth and stood by it during a day-in-age where such boldness could lead to imprisonment and/or execution, I believe there's an opportunity for this book to touch many hearts and minds if given the chance.

Narrator, Kelley Hazen, gives a sublime performance with a voice uniquely suited for this book's content. Overall, I highly recommend "Maria of Agreda" and hope to hear more from this author and narrator in the future!

(I was provided a free copy of this audiobook by the narrator in exchange for my unbiased review. Many thanks to Kelley Hazen for this opportunity!)
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- Ms. Christian C.

Thought provoking historical listen

Any additional comments?

I must say that I have never heard of Maria before but I am so glad that I have now. Uplifting and inspiring, this story is amazing when you consider that she lived in the 1700s. Her life story is full of true courage and is the epitome of what I would consider saintly though that has yet to be determined. The research was in depth and the narration adds to the enthralling story. A great life told by wonderful narration made this a true pleasure to listen to. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher

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- Jenniferk

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-05-2013
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks