Here’s a cool tale I became aware of just a few years ago.
When Missionaries first arrived in this area from New Spain (Mexico) they set about to convert the locals in the usual ways, sometimes quite heavy-handedly. The reaction to this was succinctly put by the Elders of southern Arizona tribes.
”The Lady in Blue has already told us about this Jesus, and she is why we have sought you out to know him better, and be baptized, as she instructed.
It does not seem to us that their ways are yours. You beat us to believe,
when we already do. Lighten up.”.
They did, and continued East, only after establishing missions along their route.
Kino and company were clueless about “La Dama De Azul” until they reached the New Mexico/Texas region,
where virtually every tribe they met told of the Blue Lady and her appearances to them, preaching and healing, always disappearing into the air when done with the task at hand, but returning frequently.
Farther to the East, around 1639, fifty members of the Jumano Indian tribe came to Mission Corpus Christi de la Isleta south of El Paso and asked for instructions in the Catholic faith.
When the astonished padres asked the Indians what motivated them to come to Isleta, they said their people living in East Texas had been visited by a beautiful lady who always wore a blue habit and taught them religion in their own language. The lady in blue, they said, urged them to search out missionaries to hear the word of God and be baptized.
At the time, Isleta and another mission, Nuestra Senora de Socorro, were originally in Mexico, but a change in the course of the Rio Grande River placed them on Texas soil.
Through his work, Father Alfonso de Benavides learned that Mother Maria de Jesus de Agreda, a cloistered abbess who lived in Spain, was the lady in blue.
A Catholic nun of Jewish descent, Sor María de Jesus of Agreda authored Mystical City of God, an 8-book narrative of her direct revelations from Mary, mother of Jesus. Commanded to burn her writings because “surely God would not chose a woman for such an important work,” María, a controversial 48-year old cloistered abbess, was seized in 1650 from her sick bed and carried to the feet of a Spanish Inquisitor. Although ultimately acquitted, the interrogation covered her mystical experiences and missionary work in the American Southwest, events corroborated by witnesses in Spain and as far as Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, where she is honored yet today as the legendary missionary known as the Lady in Blue.
Often consulted by King Phillip IV, Mother Maria said she visited the new world in a manner known as bi-location, a phenomena that allows one individual to appear personally in two places at the same time.
Maria de Agreda had always wished to come to the New World as a missionary, but her vows in Spain prevented her. While praying for the welfare of the Indians, she often fell into a trance and was taken by God, without her awareness, to a different place where Indians lived. She said she saw the Indians, heard them speak and felt the difference in the climate of the land. All told there were more than five hundred visits by her to the Native Americans of over thirty tribes.
After a life of service, both mundane and sublime, she passed away in Agreda, Spain, never having corporally visited the New World.
The last reported appearance of the lady in blue was in the 1840s when a mysterious young woman wearing a long blue dress came into the homes of families stricken by a “black tongue” epidemic at old Sabinetown on the Sabine River.
She remained in the community for days, brewing a tea from forest herbs, tending to the ill, weeping over the dead, and never sleeping. When the epidemic ran its course, she disappeared as mysteriously as she appeared.
Although it is uncommon, bilocation is an ancient phenomenon. It is claimed to have been experienced, and even practiced by will, by mystics, ecstatics, saints, monks, holy persons, and magical adepts. Several Christian saints and monks were adapt at bilocation such as St. Anthony of Padua, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Severus of Ravenna, and Padre Pio of Italy. In 1774, St. Alphonsus Maria de’Ligouri was seen at the bedside of the dying Pope Clement XIV, when in fact the saint was confined to his cell in a location that was a four-day journey away.
A pioneer psychical researcher, Frederic W. H. Myers, one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research in England, along with others collected and studied reports of bilocation, however the phenomenon has received little interest in modern times.