La ortodoxia heterodoxa de María de Santo Domingo y María de Ajofrín: Espiritualidad corpórea y autoría femenina entre siglos



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The end of the fifteenth century saw the emergence of new forms of Iberian popular spirituality emphasizing individual religious practice and personal connection to the divine. In this project, I focus on María de Santo Domingo and her contemporary María de Ajofrín, two female mystics within Castilla during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs. Both women were known for embodied spiritual practices, including Eucharistic miracles, imitatio Christi, and mystic visions. These practices were often denounced as unorthodox, despite their prevalence in communities of religious women prior to the Counter-Reformation. Within the context of late fifteenth-century Iberia, María de Santo Domingo and María de Ajofrín used these practices to legitimize the Inquisition, the military campaign against the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, and the system of limpieza de sangre (“blood purity”). In order to examine the contours of corporeal spirituality in the lives of these religious women, I draw from two sources: the spiritual biography of María de Ajofrín and María de Santo Domingo’s Libro de la oración (“Book of Prayer”). Libro de la oración contains both biographical information and accounts of María de Santo Domingo’s visions. In my analysis, I focus on the representation of grief and imitatio Christi, as well as the political significance of both texts. While María de Santo Domingo lent religious authority to the ambitions of the monarchy and the Inquisitor General, María de Ajofrín used mystic experiences to participate in local Inquisitorial proceedings in Toledo. Relying on the support of the monarchy and the ecclesiastical hierarchy, María de Santo Domingo and María de Ajofrín used heterodox mystic experiences to participate in the construction and violent imposition of Iberian Christian orthodoxy.



Spain, Spanish History, Mysticism, Religion