She was both a lady and a nun and the indigenous people of that time knew her by the color she wore - blue. Today she is known as Maria de Agreda and is referred to as the Blue Nun or The Lady in Blue.
This painting of her can be found at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store and was painted by Samantha Baumgartner.
I talked with Eva Pereira, President of St. Vincent de Paul in Mountainair, about Maria de Agreda and she had a lot to share. In the last year there has been a great deal of interest in her story, not just locally, but internationally.
Mountainair has been host to pilgrims from Spain who wanted to be close to where part of her story took place. What Maria de Agreda is known for in New Mexico was her visitation to many of the local indigenous people.
The miracle and mystery is she never left the convent that was her home. It is called bilocation and means that she was seen here, but her body never left Spain.
The details of her story are more than can be covered here and there are links below to learn about her actual life.
Marc LeFrancois with the National Park Service and who works out of the Mountainair Visitor Center offered this as a way of explanation "saints beget saints." Meaning, the gift of the saint is how they influence those around them. Maria de Agreda is yet to move beyond the first stage of being declared Venerable to Cannonization, but there is no disputing her gifts to those she interacted with.
The third group I met with to learn more who were witness to this fact included several of the artists from the Manzano Mountain Arts Council who worked together to create a mural that represented her life.
Each person I talked to gave me the same basic quote. They talked of her intelligence, strength, influence, and goodness.
In a world today where fame equals excesses in superficiality - here was a woman who gave her life to serve others. To uplift and to persevere in the mission she believed in - despite a disappointed family, a time where being mystical was dangerous and an inquisition that is a dark spot in history.
What I saw and heard as I talked with everyone was how her life was even now bringing people together in a positive way.
She is still a bridge between cultures, religions, countries, and seekers connecting us all in the power of her story.
It is not to walk quickly through the Salinas Pueblo Missions of Quairai or Gran Quivira she is said to have visited. Rather it is an opportunity to see what she saw and then allow your self to connect with her values - love, charity, hope, kindness, grace, and dedication to something other than the latest trinket or fad.
That is the true miracle and mystery we seek. The bonus is of course visiting our very awesome one street town!
Below you will see more of the art and also links to where you can go and learn more about her life. The mural below hangs on the west side of The Abo Trading Post at Hwy 60 and Hwy 55.
To see the tapestry and also visit the garden at St. Vincent de Paul, you'll need to go Monday - Thursdays 10am - 3pm-ish. Let them know why you are there and if you are lucky, someone will be volunteering that day who can chat with you while you drink a cup of coffee out in the garden in back.