Are the books Mystical City of God legit or even Catholic?

The link to it is:

They look interesting to read and the summary says that it was dictated to Ven. Mary of Agreda (1601-1664) by the Blessed Mother herself. I don’t know what to think of this. It looks interesting. Has any one read it or heard of it?

I purchased these books about two years ago. I am currently reading an abridgment, The Divine Life of the Most Holy Virgin From The Mystical City of God (Tan Books). Under Approbations, it says it is authorized by the Holy See, the latest being in 1729 Benedict XIII. As a fairly new Catholic/former Baptist, Marian doctrine/devotion/understanding is very new to me. It is very interesting.


Imprimatur H. J. Alerding, Bishop of Fort Wayne. Rome City, Ind., Aug. 24, 1912, meaning there is nothing found to be contrary to the faith.

As a private revelation, details may be beneficial for pious meditation though not perhaps promoted as hard fact.


It had a controversial history, but atm it’s okay to read.
But the Spanish to English translation has some problems, for instance, the words “worship” and “adore” are used a lot more loosely than we do in English.
And there are some definite problems when they talk about when ensoulment takes place.
I love this series and I own it, but I prolly wouldn’t recommend it to a newbie Catholic


I have an edited copy of it somewhere that I bought in the 90s from Leaflet Missal Company (Catholic store). It’s private revelation, the author is a Venerable, it’s considered fine to read but like all private revelation involving Mary, there are people who are going to have an issue with it. I agree it should be read by people who are experienced Catholics and aren’t going to get all uptight about a book being very deferential towards Mary.


This is a great book. I like the story of the creation of the angels and the causes of the rebellion of Lucifer.

You can also read the events that happened that led to the darkness of heart of Judas. I find it funny that Judas nominated himself and even used John to lobby to Jesus and Mary to be the chief money collector and treasurer, to the horror of the apostles.

Also read the story on the conversion of Saul. There you will learn that it was Mary’s tears, prayers and intercession to her Divine Son Jesus, that led Jesus personally converting Saul. (But it was still scary learning that Jesus was asking for satisfaction of His justice to his Mother because of what Saul has done to his Church.) At that moment, Saul was brought up to 7th Heaven and saw the prayer of martyred Stephen for him in heaven. So you see all our prayers are recorded and posted in heaven.


I’ve read all four books. They are interesting but they are private revelation, supposed to have been dictated by Our Lady.

One thing I remember reading was that Our Lord had received five thousand lashes during His passion, that would take some time I think.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading them though.

The reason why I read them was because I had read about her exploits in what was to become New Mexico as the blue nun. That’s well worth reading about. She was also supposed to have given advice to king Phillip 1V of Spain, however it may be that her advice was no more than friendly correspondence.

Traditionally, Christ received 5480 wounds during his entire Passion, according to the revelations to St. Bridget.
I can see 5480 wounds as each lash would have inflicted multiple small wounds to the skin.
I doubt he received five thousand lashes, as that number would have killed him or at the very least incapacitated him beyond the point of being able to walk to Calvary and survive three hours on a cross.


Exactly. I found the stories of her dealings with the Indians interesting though.

I remember reading an article that talked about how many saints had private revelations of Christ’s Passion but they all tended to have “seen” it slightly differently. The basics of him being lashed, crowned with thorns, carry cross to Calvary and then get crucified were the same, but the details of each occurrence, like how he was actually placed on the cross, were really different. The article concluded that God might show this to people differently for various reasons.

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The stories of her bilocations from Spain to America fascinated me and sounded very believable, due to that I then read her books but when I read of the five thousand lashes, I’m pretty sure they were lashes and not just wounds, the seed of doubt entered my mind. Which was a shame since the books are illuminating.
If God shows different people slightly different details though that alters things. If I ever have that much time spare again I would like to re-read them. So thank you.

I’m the first person roll my eyes at some of these supposed private revelations, but even if her vision was just the result of her imagination interacting with meditation and prayer and not an actual vision from God, that doesn’t mean it still can’t be illuminating.

Think of something like the Divine Comedy. No one thinks Dante actually toured hell, purgatory and heaven with Virgil, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still valuable to read and ponder.


I agree but when I was reading these books I was seeking the truth, any information I could which would help me to bolster my faith. I don’t entirely doubt what she wrote though and there’s a lot of information in the books which at least are food for thought.

I have tried to read more about modern saints over the past year or so because I think that if any details are given those details may be authenticated and recorded etc.

At the end of the day however we are reliant on God for our faith of course.

The main thing is that we need to read with a “grain or more of salt”. You shouldn’t just accept them as fact but compare what they say to the teachings of the Church. If it doesn’t support church teaching you reject what is said. It might not be so much private revelation but pious musings so to speak.


Yes and some of the stories about various saints are regarding things like bilocation, is bilocation in the Catechism?

I like St Pio a lot, not just because he was a Holy man but also because I sense things about his character which I find very likeable. Having said that there a lot of stories about padre Pio. One of which was describing how he appeared as a giant monk in the sky and turned back bombers in the Second World War. The bombs were dropped harmlessly on open ground and the bombers found themselves turned around and heading back to base. After the war the commander in charge of these bombers visited St Pio and talked with him about this miracle. I have asked two websites to tell me the name of this commander, one nun replied from one of them and said she’d check and get back to me. I’m still waiting.

So yes, a pinch of salt but I’m not really interested in fiction especially when it concerns our religion.

I have all four volumes, but I haven’t made it all the way through all of them. I think I got as far as the Nativity, and jumped ahead to the Passion and the Resurrection, but I need to go back and read the middle and end parts properly.

Sometimes, you roll your eyes and get on with it. (How many times can she call herself “wormlet”?)

Other times you slog through it tediously. (“These are the twelve jewels of the High Priest’s breastplate, and the virtues they represent, and now I’m gonna go through them one by one and tell you how each jewel’s virtue is reflected in Mary…”)

Other times, you eat it up, ten, fifteen, twenty chapters in a sitting.

I had a distinct dislike for the bit about ensoulment when it was addressing Mary’s conception. That was a throw-the-book-against-the-wall kind of moment, and was very jarring, having her medieval philosophy shine through. But in one conversation, which I believe has since been deleted, where I brought up my issue— someone got super-super excited about the passage.

So, basically it sez—

For the formation and growth of other human bodies, according to the natural order, many days are necessary in order to organize and fit them for the reception of the rational soul. * (Insert endnote by Joseph Ratzinger here) Thus for a man-child are required forty and for females eighty days, more or less, according to the natural heat and disposition of the mothers. In the formation of the virginal body of Mary the Almighty accelerated the natural time and that, which according to the natural rule required eighty days, was accomplished in Her within seven days… On the Saturday next following this first Conception, the Almighty wrought the second Conception by creating the soul of his Mother and infusing it into the body; and thus entered into the world that pure Creature, more holy, perfect, and agreeable to His eyes than all those He had created, or will create to the end of the world, or through the eternities…

And so the point the other person made was, was that if Mary’s first Conception happened on Sunday, and her second Conception happened on Saturday— that fits in with the timeline for fertilization as the first Conception, and implantation as the second Conception. And all the stuff about 40 and 80 days is her own “this is what is taught in my day and age, except I see that Mary’s different, so Mary must be breaking the rules–” rather than “so maybe what is taught in my day and age isn’t the case”. (Hint: the human ovum wasn’t discovered until 1928. The mammalian ovum wasn’t discovered until 1827.)

So, I still think it’s a slippery slope to say “ensoulment happens at THIS TIME”, and it’s more prudent to say, “We have no clue when ensoulment happens, so let’s just protect our babies from conception to natural death, and let God take care of the details.”

But if you can write almost 7,000 pages of advanced theology, and that’s the biggest bump you run into— you’re doing pretty well.

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But since we’re talking about you know…, couldn’t that number been real while experienced in human faculties?

This is why we say that new Catholics shouldn’t read private revelations.
The private revelations aren’t part of the deposit of faith, so while they may shed additional light on the truth contained in the deposit of faith, and do not contain anything contrary to faith if they have a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur and are written by a Venerable person, a private revelation is not necessarily showing the absolute factual truth of what happened. It may be that Jesus didn’t receive exactly 5480 wounds either - no one stopped and counted them exactly or argued about whether a particular wound counted as 2 cuts or 1 - though it’s safe to say he likely had thousands of wounds both big and small because of how he was treated and because it’s documented that he “bled out”.

Someone who is a strong Catholic is not going to be concerned with whether Jesus had 5400 wounds or only 4670 wounds, because we are focusing on the overall point of his Passion. But someone who is still seeking and looking for the truths that are essential can really be thrown off track by something that seems like a minor thing and not a concern to me. The same with the translation that might use the word “worship” with respect to Mary; I know we don’t “worship” Mary and it’s likely just a wrong translation or poor choice of words, but someone new to the faith might really be set off by reading that.

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I had faith in the existence of God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, Our Lady but the book seemed to be promising detail. I was therefore disappointed but my faith was intact.
As I keep saying I was impressed by the accounts of the blue nun, I expected the books to be genuine accounts. No problem.

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I’m sure they were “genuine” in that they showed the truth of what was revealed to her, personally.

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