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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.

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 explains to fray Francisco Fernández y Villegas about her feelings and informs him about her mystic experiences.

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.

In this letter the numbering of the process documentation does not correspond to the narrative order in the text, which would be as follows: 44r-v, 47r-v, 45r-v and 46r-v.

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Biba Jesus Padre de mi alma

deme el señor palabras para q yo en ellas diga lo q fuese de su maior agrado q bien sabe el señor q no quiero otra cosa digo padre de mi alma q despues de aber Recibido el biernes la carta estando despues ablando mi alma con el señor le decia como padre i dueño mio me tengo de disponer para este nuebo sacrificio el q aces en mi alma pues sacrificio es el q aces con ella esto es ser desposada con el angel de la pureca adonde boi pues quisiera detenerme siendo la criatura mas llena de inmundicias y con quien es tan puro desposada q eres tu y el q aora me das si me detengo no cunplo con la obediencia tu me ordenaste señor q pida licencia i la tengo pero de tus bracos dios mio an de pasar los mios a cer lo q bos queris y abeis de ser mi fiador en todo pues sois buen nabio i no quiero q aiga borasca de amor propio mio padre mio de mi alma no allaba fuercas en mi para decirle esto al señor porq estaba bañada en goco i sentimiento goco por lo q allaba del señor en mi sentimiento por lo q allaba malo en mi aqui allaba una magestad dentro de mi que me decia ben esposa temerosa i dudosa estas no temas pues yo soy y sere el q te de la mano primero y el q pasare a unirla con la del santo y angel del cielo q aunq tus padres dispongan el q sea a tal hora yo puedo acer lo q fuese mi boluntad pues ya tienes licencia y aunq sus dispusiciones me agradan mas me agrada mi querer padre mio bi q el señor mi mano i la del santo la enlazo no como si tomara qualquiera persona la mano sino es enlazada un dedo con otro i le digo al santo estas palabras q senti interiormente pues ya tomas te la e dado y te la entriego por esposa i de mi a pasado a ti i como padre la as de enseñar y como esposo amarla senti del santo una dotrina q me daba como padre y maestro de oracion q no podre esplicar nada asta la bista que fio del señor y de mi amado padre santo tomas como esposo allaba bastante cariño y regalos del santo miraba al señor i a el santo i me abergoncaba de berme de aquella manera bolvi al señor y le dige como padre y señor mio como quereis q la q no merece ser esclava pase a ser esposa buestra aqui senti q me puso el señor sobre mi una ropa blanca i le digo al santo q pasara a ceñirmela be q la ico y me digo pide esposa mia q aqui esta el todopoderoso q te lo concedera pediale al señor pureca en los coracones de algunas personas señaladas i lus para mis confesores respondiome el santo no pides mas respondile como puede esposo mio pues tan uno te a echo el señor conmigo pide lo q el señor quiere q le pida lus e pedido i pureca de coracones senti del santo q me decia yo pedire por ti pero tu me pediras padre de mi alma pase todo lo mas de la noche como aqui ba dicho pero en llegando la hora de la misa pedi a mis santos debotos i santas i a nuestra madre que me asistiesen i no desagradase yo al señor le pedia guntamente q no permitiera q lo q abia entendido fuese antogo mio pues no queria mas q agradarle senti del señor q me decia la obra es mia no dudes q te concedere toda la peticion pedida i lo q as entendido i bisto lo comunicaras y quiero q ames al santo i sabete q tanto i quanto llamases es mio y quiero q esas almas q me estas ofreciendo i por quien me pides q lo agas pues en ello me das gusto y a todas amo y pideme por todas q tengo sed y no me allo satisfecho pues arde la llama de mi amor en comunicarme a todas padre mio mas callo q digo por no poderme esplicar solo digo q se alla mi alma enamorada de amores d este gran dios con gran presencia d este santo y esposo q me esta enamorando yo si tengo de decir berda segun lo q siento q me dice le allo enamorado de mi y esto entiendo del señor pues me dice q lo escriba ame dado su magestad tal amor para amar i querer a usted q ast aora yo digo q no me parece q ni a uste l e querido ni l e amado en el señor pues deseo tanto el ber a uste q le pido al señor q me lo conceda si es su boluntad y no me lo retarde y a uste padre de mi alma se lo buelbo a pedir por reberencia del señor pues deseo tanto esto porq me parece q lo quiere el señor y quiere q nos abrasemos en este grande amor del señor q nos tiene i q tengamos unos buenos dias i q nuestra conbersacion toda a de ser de amores d este gran dios no escribo esto por mi porq bien pudiera mortificarme y callar pero allo fuerca interiormente para q lo diga y asi en nonbre del señor lo digo si aqui fuese alguna palabra mia como en todo lo demas no quiera el señor q yo pronuncie otra pues no quisiera q mi padre de mi alma gastara el tiempo en leerlo pues no meresco q nadie me escuche pues mi abitacion abia de ser entre animales y no entre criaturas pues soi la mas bil de todas ingrata a los beneficios del señor Padre mio de mi alma como no meresco ser ija de uste no me atrebi a decir q el salir uste con el santo asido de la mano era el ser yo Madre de uste q asi entendi q lo digiera pero bio qual fiel es el señor q uste lo dice sin saberlo de mi boca y pues me dice uste q lo esplice digo lo q entendi del del señor el q sale de tu alma sale de ti porq es padre y es tu ijo y tu esposo i te ago Madre yja y esposa pero no oiga yo de la boca de mi padre mas palabra en reberencia del señor q es yja y la mas ruin de todas pues esto nunca espere yo merecerlo y me tengo por mui dichosa Padre mio si el achaque del pugo prosige enbie uste a la botica por dos quartos de gordolobo y echando un poco sobre alguna cosa un poco de lunbre recibir aquel umo se le aliviara a usted porq es una cosa buena y ablo de esperiencia pues esta quaresma mas de ocho dias padeci el mesmo achaque frai fernando a escrito a frai francisco una carta q no se si mi padre la beria pues en ella biene un boto a tal redondo llamandole enbustero y otras cosas y por ultima dice q el yo emos de parar en una masmora si usted quiere q se la enbie me abisara uste muchisimos recaudos dios le aga santo y a uste Padre mio le abrase el señor con mucho de su amor y gracia

mil mil yja rendida a sus pies de uste manuela



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