|Author(s)||Francisca de Ávila|
Letter from Francisca de Ávila (also known as 'Francisca de los Apóstoles'), a lay sister, to Pedro Chacón, a priest.
The author informs Pedro Chacón about the latest news from her sister Isabel Bautista. She seems to be happy about the news she receives and about the way things are going.
Between 1574 and 1578, Francisca de Ávila (also known as 'Francisca de los Apóstoles') was accused of being a deceiver and a deceived. She was eventually condemned and considered a heretic, an apostate, a blasphemous and an excommunicated, who pretended to have revelations, ecstasies and to witness apparitions. She claimed to experience visions of God, levitations and ecstasies, not accepting that what she related was defined as inventions or as 'feminine things', and she affirmed her innocence, as other 'alumbrados'. Her sister, Isabel Bautista, was a very important figure in this process, because she also was arrested and condemned for having claimed to have had mystical experiences, who had once provoked her a complete paralysis, and sometimes had led her to be seen walking daydreamingly in the streets of Toledo. She had been helped by exorcisms made by Miguel Ruiz, a priest of the Misericordia Hospital, who afterwards became her confessor. The two sisters affirmed to have had mystical experiences similar to those experienced by Catherine of Siena. Between 1555 and 1563, they had both lived in the lay sisters' convent of Santa María la Blanca, in the parish of Santo Tomé. Afterwards, they had earned a living teaching needlework. In 1573, Isabel Bautista went to Rome to request the licences she needed to found a monastic rule. The letters she wrote from Rome show that she was very disheartened because she did not manage to obtain the licences, but her sister encouraged her telling her that she saw in her visions that everything would have gone well. When Isabel Bautista came back from Rome, without having obtained the licences, they opened a convent, which was open only for some months in 1575, after which Isabel Bautista was arrested and imprisoned by the Inquisition. The two sisters publicly declared to be 'alumbradas' in various occasions, which led to their imprisonment, together with Miguel Ruiz, in 1575.
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