A remarkable feat of teleportation, or bi-location, concerns the Venerable Mary Jesus of Agreda. Although she was never known to have left her Spanish convent, it was officially estimated that, between the years of 1620 and 1631, she made over five hundred trips to America to convert the Jumano Indians of New Mexico. This estimate was not arrived at lightly. At first, the Catholic authorities – made wary by the delusive claims of religious hysterics – put considerable pressure on Sister Mary to dissuade her from insisting on the reality of her transatlantic flights. Only the testimony of missionaries to Mexican Indians persuaded them to authenticate her experiences. In 1622, Father Alonzo de Benavides, of the Isolita Mission in New Mexico, had written to Pope Urban VIII and to Philip IV of Spain asking who had re-empted him in his mission to convert the Jumano Indians. The Jumano themselves declared their knowledge of Christianity to have come from a “lady in blue,” a European nun who had left with them crosses, rosaries and a chalice which they used for celebrating Mass. This chalice was believed to have come from Mary’s convent at Agreda.
It was not until 1630, when Father Benavides returned to Spain, that he heard of Sister Mary and her fantastic belief that she had converted the Jumano Indians. He obtained leave to examine her and did so closely, receiving from her exact accounts of her visits to the Indians with details of their appearance and customs. She kept a diary of her experiences, but burnt it on the advice of her confessor. In it she described many details of her travels – including a vision of the planet Earth as a sphere revolving on its poles. In his Life of the Venerable Mary of Agreda, James A. Carrico concludes: “That Agreda really visited America many times, is attested to by the logs of the Spanish conquistadors, the French explorers, the identical accounts by different tribes of Indians a thousand miles apart. Every authentic history of the Southwest of the united States records this mystic phenomenon unparalleled in the entire history of the world.”
There are unsatisfactory aspects to Father Benavides’ 1631 accout of the legend and his interview. It was a best-seller in its day and many people had vested interest in the legend as a means of encouraging colonization of the New World. Beanvides claims that Mary gave him many proofs of her flights to the Jumanos, carried by Saints Michael and Francis. In fact, in unpublished records, she never directly confirms her bodily transportation and later doubted it. She had narrowly escaped being condemned as a witch in her youth and was wary of official reprimands for her frequent ecstasies and levitations. She had to choose her words carefully and so, pressed to explain her undoubted visions of the faraway Indians, Mary supposed that angels had impersonated her while allowing her to witness their exploits. What further complicated the matter was that often while she was in an ecstatic state, or isolated in her cell, the nuns would tell visitors that she was “away with the Indians.”