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Maarten Janssen, 2014-

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[1700-1709]. Carta de Manuela Ramos, beata de Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo, para fray Francisco Fernández y Villegas, religioso de Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo.

Autor(es) Manuela Ramos      
Destinatário(s) Francisco Fernández y Villegas      
In English

Letter from Manuela Ramos, blessed of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to Fray Francisco Fernández y Villegas, religious of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The author asks to fray Francisco Fernández y Villegas to accept a transfer to Toledo if the opportunity presents itself.

Following an accusation of alumbrados, dishonesty and having been imbued in the errors of Molinos, a process occurred between 1708 and 1711 against Manuela Ramos, alias Manuela Sánchez or Manuela de Santa Leocadia. Manuela Ramos was born in Novés (Toledo) in 1679 and had a Catholic upbringing. She declared herself Old Christian and a descendant of Old Christians. She lost her mother at age eleven and she moved to Illescas (Toledo) where she began to serve in a convent of the Concepción Francisca. After five years her father died and her brother had her transferred to Santa Isabel convent in Toledo where she learned to read and write. She was devoted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and had as a confessor Fray Manuel de Santa Leocadia from 1700 to 1704, a Discalced Carmelite who also lived at the convent. In November 1704 Manuela moved to Madrid for three months in order to flee the harassment and threats of a carpenter named Francisco who wanted to marry her. During her time in Madrid, she stayed in Diego de las Cuevas´ house and had as her confessor Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas, a Discalced Carmelite and Prior of Valdemoro. She married Blas Martín Pingarrón in Toledo in 1707.

During the Holy Office´s process against her, she was tried for heresy, alumbradismo and dishonesty. Specifically, she was accused of: faking visions and divine revelations; premarital relations; and an unlawful carnal knowledge with her confessor, Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas. 48 letters (PS6143-PS6191) were provided to the process and used as incriminating evidences for the aforementioned crimes. The letters are sewn together in a notebook attached to the documentation of the process. Inside this notebook two epistolary collections can be distinguished: 18 letters written by Blas Martín Pingarrón and addressed to Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas, and 28 letters written by Manuela Ramos and addressed to Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas. There is also a letter signed by Diego del Amor, alias Diego de las Cuevas, and another one from Cristobal de Alfaro (PS6164) to Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas. There is also a copy of a letter from Pedro Pablo Díez, an apothecary from Yepes, to Manuela Ramos (PS6178). Within the process, two other letters which do not appear in the notebook and addressed to Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas are mentioned: one of them written by Fray Francisco Salazar, a Carmelite from Valdemoro convent, and another one written by Manuela Ramos.

Regarding Blas Martín Pingarrón’s letters, he admitted they were his and in his confession to the Holy Office he explained the reason why he had written them. Villegas frequently visited Manuela Ramos in Toledo because of her visions and hallucinations and asked to be informed about her in his absence. Therefore, the letters from Blas Martín Pingarrón were "basically to tell Villegas of how Manuela Ramos was being tormented by the devil and of her visions" (f. 188r). The correspondence between Blas Martín Pingarrón and Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas took place approximately from 1706 to 1707 and its content was used as incriminating evidence to prove that either Manuela Ramos or Villegas were "deluded, deceiver, hypocrite and feigner of supernatural favours" (f. 231r). In the letters, Blas Martín Pingarrón used to sign as "Baptista" and refer to Manuela Ramos as "M" or as "Rosa".

Regarding Manuela Ramos’ letters, she did not admit to being their author in her confession to the Holy Office. Instead, she argued they were written by a María Basagutia, with whom the defendant had lived for a while in Toledo. During the process, this statement was proved to be false and it was also proved that the letters belonged to Manuela Ramos. She was accused of trying to deceive the Court by changing her handwriting: "[...] neither is less worthy of reflection the changing variety of handwriting which the defendant tries to deceive us with (although unsuccessfully) since she has proved many times this handwriting is hers. She may have thought that she could scape blame for being the author of the letters by deceiving this tribunal into thinking it was not her handwriting. Nevertheless, before she was arrested she recognised that the signatures on the documents and denouncements were hers. On these documents the capital letters found in the signatures indicate she writes with great agility. After she was imprisoned and being suspicious over the use of the letters as exhibits, she began to simulate different handwritings in the signatures of the hearings. She was trying to demonstrate clumsiness and difficulty either in the sluggishness she was signing on or the hesitation about whether or not would be able to begin with capital letters" (f. 557r-v)." These suspicions, together with the opinion of four handwriting experts, show that Manuela Ramos is the author. The correspondence between Manuela Ramos and Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas was exchanged approximately from 1704 to 1706 and it was used as incriminating evidence to prove their relationship was not just spiritual. Some of the reasons to believe so were the following ones: there were crosses and zeros representing kisses and hugs in many of the letters; the cautious way they were writing, withholding their names and; lastly, some of the treatment formulas they employed (for instance: my soul´s husband). Manuela Ramos used to sign her letters as "Manuela de Santa Leocadia" or "Manuela Bautista".

Ultimately, the content of the letters filed in the process documentation were used as exhibit not only to prove that the relationship between Manuela Ramos and Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas did not reflect "a spiritual love, on the contrary [...] it was human love, sensitive and very close to the sensuality, which probably was, and at least very dangerous and leading to spiritual ruin against honesty" (f. 231r); but also to accuse Manuela Ramos and Fray Francisco Fernández de Villegas of eluded and alumbrados.

In the trial sentence against Manuela Ramos the judgment was: the defendant should lose half of her properties; she should walk to the scaffold as a penitent, candle in hand, to publicly abjure of the errors and heresies she was accused of; she should be exiled for four years from the court of Madrid and eight leagues from the villages of Novés and Illescas; she should pass the first of those four years in prison, wearing the sanbenito, the garment of public humiliation, on her clothes.

If there is no translation for the letter itself, you may copy the text (while using the view 'Standardization') and paste it to an automatic translator of your choice.

Texto: -

Padre de toda mi alma
acabo de recibir la de uste i con gran gusto respondo primero a lo q diego le dice a uste de renunciar si a uste le acen prior de toledo
pero padre de mi alma no lo aga uste por ningun caso ni pretender ni renunciar
y si diego esta con las ansias de q su muger sea monga desengañese padre de mi alma q no lo a de ser
i por amor de dios padre mio q con los confesados silencio
siga uste lo q dios le ditase q llegemos a uste como el q llega a la fuente por agua i en llenandose el el cantaro se rebosa
i esto no aprovecha
no le suceda a uste padre mio lo q al padre santa leocadia pues estando determinado para ir a ber a sus ijas pedro pablo lo inpidiendolo diciendo q no era gusto de dios y asi padre mio diego lo inpidira por su conbeniencia
i no digo esto padre mio porq uste se benga por mi
q yo donde quiera q uste este e de estar pasando el capitulo
padre mio me dice uste q le de quenta de mi interior
bien cierto es que tengo deseo de acerlo siempre sea berda u sea mentira como uste me dice
lo que puedo decir en berda q tengo gran quietu interiormente i con unos deseos grandes de q mi alma este empleada solo en dios
i son tan dulces estos deseos q no deseo tratar de otra cosa conq paso d esta manera i unas ganas de confesar por recibir al sacramento q no lo puedo esplicar
i en recibiendole me estoi con gran su aiuda i quietu con este señor oiendo algunas palabras q me dicen bien interiormente las oigo que me dicen unas beces de amor i de lo fino q anda el señor con nosotros
y parece segun entiendo q el señor se quega de q no ai quien le ame
i pues las criaturas me desnudan d esto pues no ai quien se quiera bestir de lo mismo q estoi bestido q es amor pidole al señor q aiga muchos q le sigan
y asi padre de mi alma bistamonos d estas reales bistiduras q el señor tiene para nosotros
padre de mi alma con la de uste e recibido una q me escribio pedro pablo por mano del padre santa leocadia
i no quiriendo su merced q yo sepa quien me la escribia a llamado a su celda quien la trasladase discuro q la letra es de frai geronimo i sin firma i la echo su merce por el coreo para q no cociese yo de quien me ablaria estas claridades para confusion mia
pero por la misericordia de dios no me a tribulado nada porq se mui claramente q es boluntad de dios el q uste sea mi padre
y asi padre mio remitole a uste un traslado y le pido a uste lo q en esto debo acer pero quisiera q uste me enbiara un traslado de lo q debo responder
y tanbien uste lo puede acer pues el tiene escritas muchas cartas en q dice si yo boi bien u mal
agalo uste amedrantandole siquiera por carida
i le pido a uste padre de mi alma q no lo sienta uste por yo no lo e sentido nada
y d esto llego a conocer q el padre es confesado de sus yjos i no confesor de sus yjos
padre mio como albertirme q busco teologias i q por eso estare desbanecida
y el abito i capa la remitire con el hermano de blas para q uste se lo ponga
padre de mi alma al padre santa leocadia no ai q despegar el pico en nada q si fuese menester yo le abisare uste
de mariquita memorias
i de todos
yja de uste q mucho le ama manuela

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