Beatas

Beata is the Spanish term for Beguine. They are gathered here by alphabetical order :

Beatas de LLERENA (Extremadura) (16th)
« In the 1570s Spain witnessed a another « outbreak » of Illuminism in Andalucia and Extremadura. Althogh the Inquisitors saw the new heresy as a continuaton of the condemned evangelical piety of the 1520s and 1530s, this time they places decidedly more emphasis on its supposed orgiastic component. According to the Inquisition’s documents, Illuminist doctrine held that “kissing ans indecent touchings are not a sin”.
The Beatas of Llerena, who were ultimately condemnded in an auto da fe in 1579, reportes erotic visions of Christ’s humanity and an “intimate union with God”. With the prosecution of the Llerena group the practice of mental prayer and the desire for union with God were closely linked with the heresy of sexual….”(Alison Weber, Teresa d’Avila and the Rhetoric of Femmininity (1996), p. 120)

Catalina GUIERA (XVe)
She was a wealthy widow in Avila (Castile) who lived as a beata (Spanich term for beguine) since her husband’s death. She dictated her will in 1463 and made detailed arrangements endowing several of her homes for the ongoing support of fellow beatas.  (Laura Swam, The winsdom of beguines, p.44)

Marì DIAZ (c.1490 – 1572)
Born in Vita (northwest of Madrid), she was popular in her lifetime as her contemporary Teresa of Avila. Marì lived as a beata against her parents’ wishes, serving the poor when not working on the family’s prosperous farm. She moved to Avila in the 1530s, after her parents, had died, in search of better sermons. She intentionally lived in one of the poor neighbourhoods and quickly developed a reputation for her many hours spent in prayer, the extreme simplicity of her life, and her generosity toward her neighbours. For a while she moved with some reluctance into the palace of devout widow, but around 1565, she moved into a hermitage, Many people around Avila came to seek her intercessory prayer or receive spiritual counsels. Testimony after her death recorded many who claimed that the payers of Marì had healed illness and cured infertility. (Laura Swam, p.46)

Maria di AJOFRIN (15th)

Maria de Ajofrin, Marchante, Recuperado de http://catalogodesantasvivas.visionarias.es/index.php/Mar%C3%ADa_de_Ajofr%C3%ADn

She was from the town of Ajofrin, near Toledo . She had a vision at the age of fifteen that inspired her to join the beatas at San Pablo. It was said that she continued to receive visions and prophecies, most of them centred on the need for church reform. The most significant vision that she reported happened in 1484, when Christ ordered Maria to instruct the Archbishop Mendoza of Toledo to eradicate the five sins of immoral clerics who “daily crucifying Christ”: lack of faith, greed, lust, ignorance, and insufficient reverence for sacred things. Thanks to her stigmata, sign of direct authority from God, Archbishop listened and a reform movement began, (Laura Swam, p. 45)

Maria DAVILA (+ 1511)
She came from Avila and had been twice widowed without children. After that, she joined twelve other beatas in Calabazanos ( north of Madrid) in 1494. She used her wealth to help establish several religious houses and rebuilt several shrines. In her will, written in 1502, she directed any of her possessions to establish a new Poor Clares foundation.

Maria GARCÍA (1340-1426)

Maria Garcia conversando con Fray Fernandez Pecha, Recuperado de http://catalogodesantasvivas.visionarias.es/index.php/Mar%C3%ADa_Garc%C3%ADa

She was born in Toledo (Castile) to noble parents. As a precious child she would go to a secret place to pray and would gather the leftovers from the family table to give to the poor. In her adolescence, she and her companion, the widow Mayor Gomez, would beg alms (against their families’ wishes) in the streets of Toledo – even in the cathedral – on behalf of the poor.
Desiring to escape their lascivious king, Pedro I, they flad to Talavera and returned to Toledo only after his death. There they joined other beatas in their ministry to the poor and in prayer. With her inheritance, Maria was able to purchase a home for the beatas and named it San Pablo. She spent her later years exhorting the women of Toledo to a more simple and prayerful life, and also helped to establish religious houseds and supported poor. (Laura Swam, p.45)

Maria de TOLEDO (1437- after 1484)

Maria de Toledo, Recuperado de http://catalogodesantasvivas.visionarias.es/index.php/Mar%C3%ADa_de_Toledo

She was born to noble parents and was married against her will. Widowed without children,she associated herself with some local Franciscans and began to live the life of beata. With her companion, Juana Rodriguez, she visited the sick, provided dowries for orphans, fed and clothed the poor, and paid debts of those in prison. She also cultived a deeply contemplative life, including living as a recluse for a year. Apparently she received many visions and revelations. With her family’s wealth, Maria eventually established a hospital where she, alog with her companions, helped care for the sick. She nearlu died from illness, too, probably something she had contracted while caring for patiens. Somer years after recovering, Maria used her fortune to establish a convent for Franciscan tertiaries and in 1484 she herself became a Poor Clare.