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Maarten Janssen, 2014-


[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.

Author(s) Manuela Ramos      
Addressee(s) Francisco Fernández y Villegas      
In English

Letter from Baptista, pseudonym of Blas Martín Pingarrón, to Fray Francisco Fernández y Villegas, religious of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The author informs Fray Francisco Fernández y Villegas of Fray Francisco de Salazar´s (Baptista) visit to his house.

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.

The defendant admitted this letter was written by her husband. Regarding the identity of "Baptista", the defendant explained that the letter referred to Fray Francisco de Salazar, who had stayed at their house because of a preaching. When asked about the "gift in the finger" Manuela Ramos explained it referred to the ring that both her and her husband used to wear.

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J M J Padre Mio y mui amado en el señor

cada una q recibo de mi padre es para mi alma de mucho contento pues no tengo en este mundo quien bien me quiera si no es mi padre de mi alma y a nuestro padre santa leocadia a quien debo tanto q solo el señor dara el premio q yo no podre darles a uste-des mas q padecer Padre mio de mi alma bien quisiera darme a entender pero la boluntad esta pront a acer lo q fuese del agrado del señor pues mi alma no desea otra cosa mas q agradarle y amarle pues beo lo bien q me esta i soi la interesada en acerlo dios quiera q no me aparte d este bien infinito i pues allo tan a la bista o por megor decir dentro de mi este señor crucificado q sin cesar me llama a q le ame i le siga i me dice podras bivir sin cruz estando en ti el q fue crucificado entendia guntamente del señor que me decia i me dice sin cesar como pueden dos amantes degar de sentir uno y otro lo padece y asi esposa mia aiudame y sigeme q mas son los retirados q los llegados uien de mi i me degan q uien del cordero y se llegan al lobo confieso padre mio q estoi bastantemente traspasada de ber la cegeda del mundo i los bivientes d el despreciando a un dios yo la primera pues mas dura q todas las criaturas -- padre mio desde el Domingo acordandome de las palabras del ebangelio con q ternura y amor las diria mi señor i dios i q berda tan desnuda deciale al señor me diese deseos d esta birtud para imitarle en algo pues tanto deseaba bivir mi alma en el camino de la cruz muchas beces padre mio a conocido mi alma a este señor entregado en ella pero nunca me parece q a sido con tanta luz como desde el domingo aca diome el señor a entender en esta ocasion q inocente estas de los q te atormentan pero aora es mi boluntad el q los beas para q me pidas por ellos mira q traca yja mia tienen de pastores megor dire q son lobos de si mismos guntamente padre mio conoci a los sugetos i les tengo lastima en berdad i estoi deseando bien lo sabe el señor el q mi padre benga pues conosco y entiendo del señor q mas de quatro les a de inportar para q salgan de las tinieblas en q el demonio les tiene metidos i salga a la luz la berda dios me lo conceda por ser quien es padre mio mucho siento el mal de uste i q si el señor quisiera q yo lo padeciera por aliviarle a uste no iciera nada i lo quisiera megor q ast aora no e cho nada por mi padre i esto fuera lo primero pero agase la boluntad del señor i de a mi padre el alivio si conviene y si viese algun medicamento q aga al caso por amor de dios q le aga uste q tanbien quiere el señor q se pongan los medios en quanto a francisco padre mio soi enemigisima de escribir quentos i porq tanbien conosco lo mucho q uste lo avia de sentir i no allo mas remedio q es padecer por dios yo no tengo de decir padre mio q es el diablo si no es el para atormentarme a mi i le pido al señor q tanto como me mortifica le sirba de gloria a dios padre de mi alma i dios le de a uste fuercas para acabar de predicar lo q falta

mil mil - yja manuela -



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