Opinion: Our Lady in Blue, bluebonnets, and the New Mexico connection
I just love Texas bluebonnets, so much so that picking this official state flower of the Lone Star State in Fredericksburg almost got me in trouble with the law once. I shared this experience in an old column.
The site of bluebonnets — towers of blue taking bows across the Texas Hill Country — is breathtaking. Even more fascinating to me, I recently learned about a New Mexico connection to the Texas bluebonnet and a connection to the bluebonnets and a 17th century saint, Maria de Jesus de Agreda, who is believed to have appeared to Jumano Native Americans of “New Spain” in what is today Texas and New Mexico. This is an enchanting story about a mystic who was said to have been able to, through bi-location, be in two places at one time, though she never left her cloistered monastery in Spain.
Maria de Jesus de Agreda was dubbed the Lady in Blue or the Blue Nun by the Jumanos who, according to legend, said that when she last appeared to them, her spirit moved out into the nearby hills. The next morning, the Indians awoke to find a cloak of small blue flowers covering the spot where the Lady in Blue last appeared. This is believed to be when the first bluebonnets appeared in Texas.
I read that Maria de Jesus also had a connection with my favorite saint, Saint Teresa of Avila. Maria de Jesus wrote 14 books, her best known one based on a private revelation with the Virgin Mary, called “Mystical City of God.” She was also a spiritual advisor to King Phillip IV.
The Lady in Blue is believed to have appeared near Mountainair, south of Albuquerque. According to legend, in 1629, church officials of Saint Anthony church in Isleta were stunned when Jumano Indians arrived at their door after walking many miles from Texas, asking for a priest to build a mission in their village. They said “the Lady in Blue” sent them. Priests didn’t know what to think. The color blue was significant. Maria and members of her order, the Order of the Immaculate Conception, wore blue cloaks, also the color of the Virgin Mary.
A priest went to Spain to investigate and was stunned that Maria de Jesus was able to answer questions that only a person who had been in America would know.
I find the story of The Lady in Blue as fascinating as I do bluebonnets. It amazes me, and yet it shouldn’t anymore, how much I’m seeing God’s special touch in flora that I love most. First it was roses, then marigolds (Mary’s Gold, in honor of the Virgin Mary) and now bluebonnets.
Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at: [email protected]