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Maarten Janssen, 2014-


1706. Carta de Manuela de Santa Leocadia, pseudónimo 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 Manuela de Santa Leocadia, pseudonym of Manuela Ramos, blessed of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to Fray Francisco Fernández y Villegas, religious of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The author tells Fray Francisco Fernández y Villegas her religious experiences and expresses her feelings.

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.

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Padre de toda mi alma no podre yo darme a entender como mi alma quisiera tanbien se q con poco q yo diga me entiende usted porq dios se lo a dado i como el dador de todo confieso a mi padre q me a dado a mi por el presente bastante tribulacion y bien se acordara mi Padre de lo q me paso por santa teresa pues como dige a uste la cruz q el señor me mostro pues diciendome q en ella estaria algun Dia pues al berla sabe uste mui bien las pocas fuercas q abia y biendome aora con ella sobre mi me parece ser inpoble aguantar pues me dicen es tu camino cruz camina con ella i por mas tribulacion q sientas yo bi fui tentado al oir estas palabras mi alma cobra algunas fuercas pero tanbien despues me allo mui atribulada porque me atormentan muchos enemigos pues ni de dia ni de noche me allo libre puedo asegurar q ni un quarto de ora y biendome tan acosada no se como tengo alientos para parecer delante de naide pues oigo tales boces a mis oidos q parece q los q me ben l oien tanbien me parece q son estas personas las q me ablan segun yo allego a percebirlo i con lo que me consuelo es decir pues si es dios el q me be q inportara q todos bean q es mi conpañia enemigos dios me asista pues no me puedo dar mas a entender Padre mio el domingo estube en nuestra señora del sagrario y como sagrario de su ijo le pedia q lo fuese de nuestro Rei donde entendia q a su lado estaba y q le defenderia oia con palabras cariñosas guntamente q me decian bente por 05 dias a recibir al señor sacramentado en el altar de mi madre y quiero q sea por tu rei la peticion q me icieses tanbien me albertian q no lo iciese sin tener repuesta de uste y q fuese la obediencia la que me diese la mano para obrar padre mio con un si un no me contento fio d este señor q me a de conserbar en serle a uste mui obediente me dice uste en la suia que no a tenido uste megor rato q en ler mi carta i escribirme tengo esto tan creido q lo pudiera jurar pues en mi coracon suena lo mesmo sea el señor bendito y padre mio abrasemonos en este fuego de amor y queramos lo q quiere q es amarle i q por el nos amemos i ogala fuera tanto q nuestro coracon desecho se le dieramos luego en quanto a lo q uste me dice de las ijas creo mui bien q si uste las dega a de ser dispuesto del señor y pues q se an salido del centro arta lastima las tengo yo bien se que si ellas manifestaran su coracon q bolvieran pero ya esta enpedernido i q en las palabras tienen dolcura y arto les inportara echar el beneno fuera para q quedara la miel mas conserbada padre mio cuidado q los ladrones rateros son peores q los q andan echos escuadrones por los caminos yo me alegro mucho q uste se desaiune trenpano q aunq tubiera uste q acer despues en el confisonario es la megor horden esa en quanto a lo q uste me dice q inprime las boces dios creolo porq uste me lo dice mi alma persebera en lo q referi en la pasada - ya conosco lo mucho q debo al padre santa leocadia pero por amor de dios q no me mande uste lo q por mi no puedo acer ni ba en mi mano ya conosco q se mortifica pero yo no lo puedo remediar pues solo una reconciliacion ago y esa rebentando si a uste le tengo de decir la berda no porque no le amo i le quiero mucho en el señor pero en horden a darle quenta yo no se q se es y asi si uste quisiere q lea las cartas eso lo are pero en lo demas no me mortifique uste q arto me mortifica dios en quanto a tomar dos beces chocolate ni aun la una puedo pues al tiempo de medir el agua si me degara llebar de mi sobervia lo boleara primero q lo echara en la chocolatera en la comida lo mesmo q antes i aun peor padre mio en quanto a mi condicion de regañar parece q estoi quieta q se agan las cosas u no se agan no se me da nada en lo q quisiera gastar el tiempo fuera estarme solo con dios aunque con tribulacion y pena i el consuelo q tengo q primero padecio por mi esa carta enbio frai francisco para uste de mariquita y todos recibira uste memorias tengo un consuelo que para pasqua tengo de berle a uste de secreto en casa de don diego si uste quiere q juan ira conmigo i si uste no gusta tanbien quedare contenta adios padre de mi alma i dios me le dege ber a uste como deseo i puede toledo i marco a 16 del año 1706

yja de uste q en el señor le ama manuela de santa leocadia Padre mio de mi alma



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