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

The author expresses her love feelings and her fear to enter the church to Francisco Fernández y Villegas.

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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sean los moradores de nuestros coracones para q encendidos en su divino amor le sirbamos Padre de mi alma y de mi coracon siempre esperaba carta de mi padre y no en bano mi coracon estaba desde aier juebes fatigado y el cuerpo arto maltratado y con grandes dolores pero sea el señor en todo bendito pero nunca me enbiara mas q aquello q yo pudiese llebar e tenido gran quebranto con la carta q mi padre me escribe y con la del padre santa leocadia porq me la leyo su merced sin aberla Abierto y asi discura mi padre de mi alma q gusto tendria yo en oir aquellas palabras considerando como estaria mi padre y su coracon atrabesado y el decir q ni una mano acia proposito de asirla ni mandarme cosa ninguna bien puede mi padre no ni egecutar lo q en ella biene dicho porq no se yo si sera del gusto del señor ni un pensarlo porq yo soi yja aunq tan mala y e de obedecer a uste asta perder la bida q aunq la pierda por la obediencia no are nada pues mi dueño y bien de mi alma murio con obediencia de su eterno padre y en una crus afrentosamente y aquel cuerpo tan lastimadisimo y asi padre mio por este señor le pido a uste q no me niege el ser yo su ija aunq bien reconosco q no lo meresco pero yo siempre dire q uste es mi padre y siento mucho el si uste tendra sentimiento siendo yo la causa quando deseo de aliviarle a uste de alma y cuerpo o serle de algun consuelo y ser chuquillo de Dolor es lo q atrabiesa mi alma todo sea por amor de dios y puedo decir q asta q tenga carta de mi padre q tendre mi alma atravesada y si se quedara en mi sola este quebranto tubiera algun consuelo padre mio en quanto al ir a la ilesia no puedo degar de acerlo porq interiormente soi manda para ello y me dicen q en el trabago y la fatiga con q boi q en eso tendre el merito y siento interiormente q me dicen considera quando yo padecia si tendria descanso confieso a mi padre q son tales las congojas y la fatiga con q boi q me parece morir antes de bolver a casa pues me sucede el descansar tres y quatro beces pero en entrando en la iglesia son tales las ansias q el señor me da de recibirle q ni aun a confesarme quisiera por no tardarme no se si sera tentacion u o ammor propio esto de tener q ablar con crituras me cuesta gran trabago aunq es berda q no son muchas con quien trato pues se reducen a mariquita y claudia no se como me cufren pues me ago fuerca bastante para ablar con cariño me asiste una tristeca en esto esterior q me fatiga bastante porq de aqui me se sige enfado pero interiormente beo al señor tan claro comunicando a mi alma palabras de amor q me confunde biendo el esterior tan desagradable o poco apacible q muchos ratos me reprendo a mi misma y dudo de si sera engaño lo q pasa dentro de mi con lo de afuera conq entre amor y temor estoi dudosa pero bien sabe el señor q no deseo otra cosa mas q agradarle en todo oi estube en nuestra madre del sagrario y siendo asi q era tann grande el deseo que tenia de ber a mi madre no puedo decir q la bi porq fueron tantas las congogas y dolores q yce jucio el no poder llegar a casa y todo el dia e stado asi y me lo estoi sea el señor en todo bendito y agase en mi su santisima boluntad recibi la capa y el tabaco dios se lo page a uste padre mio lo q uste ace por esta pobre yo se q dare el pago como mio dice uste en la del padre santa leocadia q auq pasen siete años y en otra parte doce q no se le diera a uste nada el berme si no tubiera yo el consuelo de q en pasando quaresma nos aviamos de ber quiriendo el señor me pusiera yo en camino y fuera alla dandome uste licencia pero por amor de dios no me niege uste este consuelo de enbiarmelo a decir al coreo sigiente aunq ya conosco q no meresco esto ni otra cosa pero si el señor quiere q nos amemos tanto en el mismo quien prodra resistir ni estorbarlo solo el mismo lo podra acer pero asta quando estemos gocando de su presencia nos emos de amar mas y mas q sera sin cesar tanbien dice uste en la del padre q si yo quisiere escribir cada y quando q lo estimara uste por lo mucho q me quiere no se como al oir esto no me se rago el coracon de sentimiento y confieso q el padre santa leocadia lloraba mire uste q aria esta mala yja de mariquita memorias y de frasco y adios padre de mi alma q con decir esto me consuelo q si yo le biera a uste otra cosa fuera

Mana del cielo q es Dios



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