The children of the blue nun | Vecinos

Bro. Alonso de Benavides sat down that morning to decipher the chicken scratches he had written in the past. There had been no reason to investigate or doubt them until now that interest in Sister María’s life had grown.

The nuns who had found her last night had smelled the smell of sulfur emanating from under the door of her cell. A scream out of the world had also woken them up. When they walked through the door, they found her floating in the air as easily as if she was lying on her bed. The Reverend Mother sent them to report to Fr. Benavides in his convent of San Ildefonso.

Looking at the notes he had already written, Fr. Alfonso noted that Sister María was widely recognized among the tribes of the Jumano Indians who lived in New Mexico and Texas. Sister María called the Texan group “los Tixtlas”. She had written that there were two kinds of Jumano Indians: the Plains Jumanos, who hunted buffalo, and the Puebloan Jumanos, who lived in adobe houses and cultivated cotton and corn.

Chief Jumano was a brave man who was known as the “One-Eyed Captain” because he had lost one eye in battle. That’s what the Spaniards nicknamed him. The one-eyed captain would gather the other tribes such as the Chillescas, Carbucos and Jumanos.

Bro. Alonso also noted that each pueblo had its own leader: San Juan had Popé, Picurís had Luis and Lorenzo Tupatú, the village of Cochití, had Antonio Malacate, San Ildefonso had Francisco el Ollita and Nicolás Jonva. In Tesuque, the leader was Domingo Romero, Santa Fe had Antonio Bolsas and Cristóbal Yope headed the village of San Lázaro. Chief Alonso Catiti ruled Santo Domingo, El Jaca was in Taos and Domingo Naranjo was the village chief of Santa Clara.

These 12 chiefs followed the teachings of an ancient spiritual sage who lived in the mountain caves north of the village of Taos. They called him “Yo’he’yemo”.

During the hundreds of times that Sister María de Ágreda had visited the New World, she had spoken to these tribes about the saving power of Jesus crucified. She would explain to them the need to be merciful not only to those among them but also to their enemies. Bishop Manso wished to know if the Indians had advanced in their great spiritual knowledge by their service to God alone or if they had learned it after the appearance of Sister María among them.

His confessor, Father Sebastian Marcillaone, wrote to Don Francisco Manso y Zúñiga in 1622. He was then the Archbishop of Mexico. Reading Sister María’s observations concerning the different tribes, Bishop Manso was convinced that in the near future what she had written would be useful in pacifying the difficult relations between the Spaniards and the Indians.

In May 1628, Archbishop Manso read Fr. Alonso’s Reports of Benavides and appointed Fr. Estevan de Perea to resume his missionary work in New Mexico. Bro. Perea himself took his petition to New Mexico, when he traveled by caravan between 1628 and 1629. The caravan arrived in Isleta on June 3, 1629.

The Jumano Indians presented themselves there every year in Isleta. They begged to be baptized by the 16 priests there. When they asked them how they had learned the sacrament of Baptism in their faith, they replied that a young nun with a blond face, dressed in blue and wearing a black garment on her head, preached to them about it. often. They could repeat the baptismal promises as she had taught them to do. They worshiped her for her wisdom.

Larry Torres is from Taoseño, a longtime professor, linguist and historian. The Spanish version of this chapter can be found on page C4. Find previous chapters online in English and Spanish at

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