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Mystic and foundress of a modified branch of the Brigittine Order b. at Valladolid, Spain, 8 Feb., 1554; d. there 9 June, 1633. Her father, Iago de Escobar, was professor of civil and canon law and for a time governor of Osuna, a man noted for his learning and his saintly life; her mother was Margaret Montana, daughter of Charles V's physician. She was an apt scholar and even in youth showed powers of reflection beyond her age. Until her forty-fifth year her attention was given mainly to her own perfection, then she devoted herself more to promoting the piety of others. At fifty her continual bodily afflictions became so severe that she was confined to her bed for the remainder of her life. xxyyyk.htm">Providence provided her with an admirable spiritual guide, in the Venerable Luis de Ponte (1554-1624). The special external work entrusted to her was to establish a branch of the Order of the Holy Saviour or Brigittines but with the rules greatly modified to suit the times and the country. With the revelation of the work came the knowledge that she would not live to see its accomplishment. By divine command, as she believed, she wrote her revelations, and when too feeble she dictated them. Luis de Ponte arranged them and left them for publication after her death. In his preface he declares his belief in their genuineness because she advanced in virtue and was preserved free from temptations against purity, showed no pride, and had peace in prayer, feared deception, desired no extraordinary favours, loved suffering, was zealous for souls and, lastly, was obedient to her confessor. The writings were published in one large volume and are divided into six books containing his remarks and her own, interspersed between the visions themselves. Book I treats of the extraordinary means by which God had led her; II contains revelations about the mysteries of redemption ; III about God and the Blessed Trinity ; IV about Guardian Angels and the B.V. Mary's prerogatives; V gives means to help souls in purgatory and to save souls on earth; and VI reveals her perfection as shown under terrible sufferings. The style of the work is free and flowing and she speaks with simplicity and naïve frankness. The visions, always picturesque, and pleasing or alarming according to their subject, are all instructive and at times distinctly curious; but the descriptions are mere outlines, leaving much to the imagination, and never going into details. Their variety is great. For some the following would have special interest: Daily communion and Satan's objection to it; mystic espousals ; how the bodies of saints can appear in visions ; internal stigmata ; some saints with whom modern hagiographers have dealt harshly, as St. Christopher. Their brevity of detail may account in part for the oblivion into which they have fallen. Her life, so far as de Ponte had prepared it, was published at Madrid in 1664; the second part appeared there in 1673. It was translated into Latin by M. Hanel, S.J., and published again at Prague in 1672-1688, and in an enlarged edition at Naples 1690. All these editions are now very rare. A German translation in four volumes, appeared in 1861. (See BRIGITTINES.)


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