Is the Original Manuscript of Fr. Pereira Available?
Dr. Horvat responds:Dear R.B.,
The manuscript of Fr. Manuel Sousa Pereira (1) that was accepted as testimony in the process of beatification of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres is not the original, as noted by the postulator for the cause Msgr. Dr. Luis E. Cadena y Almeida. In his book La Mujer y la Monja Extraordinaria, he affirms that the present text “is copied ad pedem literae [exactly as written] from the original that was in the Convent Archives.”
The title page from Fr. Pereira's manuscript
Even though the original manuscript is temporarily lost, the copied document was accepted as an authentic document by the ecclesiastical committee that examined Mother Mariana’s cause. In the 1980s, as Msgr. Almeida explains, a careful study of the manuscript was made to determine its authenticity, comparing the text of the manuscript to other known documents of the time with regard to diction, style, commonly used expressions, etc. As a final litmus test, it was compared to the works indubitably authored by Archbishop Luis Lopez de Solis, Bishop of Quito from 1592-1606. The results of this research determined that the manuscript we presently have of The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana by Fr. Pereira was a faithful copy of the original.
A predicted temporary loss
I noted above that the original document of Fr. Pereira – along with the source documents he used for writing the manuscript – are only temporarily lost. They were kept in a large box that preserved the important Convent documents. In it is the collection of original documents regarding the apparitions of Our Lady to Mother Mariana. That box is normally referred to as the Cuadernon (big notebook).
The original Christ Child and Abbess' staff was lost with the Cuadernon
Later, the Conceptionist nuns placed the original manuscript titled The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana written by Fr. Pereira in 1790 in the Cuadernon.
In fact, Fr. Pereira informs us that there are many other prophecies and communications that Mother Mariana received that he did not reveal in his book: “It would be impossible to narrate here all the heavenly communications of this privileged soul with God Our Lord. In this small biography, only the most significant events of her life can be related. As for the rest, let the curious reader go to the Cuadernon in the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Quito, where all the details of her admirable life are recorded” (Life, vol. II, p. 98).
So we can expect to find more prophecies and marvels of Mother Mariana and the Founding Mothers in other documents preserved in the Cuadernon.
Through the course of his work, he refers the reader several times to the Cuadernon to read the lives of the other Founding Mothers that were written after their deaths, listing the biographies and their Franciscan authors (Life, vol. II, p. 355). All the bodies of the seven Founding Mothers are incorrupt in the Convent, discovered in 1906 when the original tombs in a wall of the convent were excavated during construction work.
The bodies of Mother Mariana & the Founding Mothers under an altar inside the Quito convent
“This document, as well as other precious things, will be hidden by my successors in a closet concealed in a wall of this Convent because of the public tumult of war when this Colony will be trying to make itself a free Republic. They will do this moved by fear of losing these precious articles, for they will not have the light to understand that no earthly power can cause harm to my Convent.
“On one hand, Your Excellency, this will be desirable, because my life will not come to light until the 20th century. The other things will be found when the Franciscans return to govern the Convent, unless humble violence is made to Heaven imploring their recovery so they might be guarded as precious treasures here in my Convent. Otherwise, no merely human recourse will suffice to discover them.” (Life, vol. II. p. 76).
Condition for its recovery
There are several interesting things to note in this prophecy:
First, that it was fulfilled to the letter. During a revolution in Quito during the independence period, the Cuadernon, along with the original statue of the Infant Jesus finished by the Archangels and the original Abbess' staff were hidden in a wall of the building. The Sister who hid them died a short time afterward without revealing the location where the objects were concealed.
Second, Mother Mariana says that the items will be found when the restored and purified Franciscan Order return to govern the Convent. Since today the Convent is still under the jurisdiction of the Diocese, it does not seem they will be discovered in the near future. Also, we know that the Franciscan Order is still suffering the bad consequences of the Conciliar Revolution inside the Church and has not returned to the original Rule and spirit of St. Francis.
The recently restored altar and nave of the Conceptionist Convent
One of the directors of the restoration project who lived in Quito knew about this prophecy and made every attempt possible during the restoration work in the Convent to try to locate the Cuadernon in some hidden wall. Despite the strongest efforts, the Cuadernon and Infant Christ statue were not found, again confirming Mother Mariana’s words that “no merely human recourse will suffice to discover them.”
Third, Mother Mariana offers one other condition that can allow the Cuadernon to be found before the present crisis in the Church ends and the restoration of the Holy Church begins. That is, “if humble violence is made to Heaven imploring their recovery so they might be guarded as precious treasures” in the Convent, then Our Lady in some heavenly way will open a door for them to be found.
I do not know the internal politics of the Immaculate Conception Convent, but it seems that this kind of humble violence is not being made by those in positions of authority.
A second manuscript
One final observation must be made on this topic. In one of his books, Msgr. Almeida tells us that Fr. Pereira left two manuscripts: one manuscript given to the religious of the Monastery of the Conceptioin, and a second one placed in the Library of the Franciscan Monastery of St. Paul in Quito. (3) The whereabouts of the the second is unknown.
Should this second manuscript be found and this news were made public, it could shed light on the many questions people are asking about the prophecies and prove the authenticity of the text. This would greatly assist the Cause of Mother Mariana in going forward and put to rest doubts about the prophecies.
If it is found and not made public, I believe those ecclesiastical authorities or any others who maintain silence about it to please the Conciliar Church will be gravely responsible before Our Lady for this ommission. For they loved the praise from men more than praise from God (John 12:43).
Until the Cuadernon is found – as it certainly will be – we have the copy of the manuscript of Fr. Manuel Souza Pereira, which has been accepted as authentic after a serious study by the Ecclesiastical Commission established to study her life. On August 8, 1986, Archbishop Antonio J. Gonzales accepted the favorable findings of that commision and initiated procedures for the Cause of Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God Mariana Francisca de Jesus Torres y Berriochoa.
These are the answers I have for your questions. I hope they will be of assistance.
Marian T. Horvat
- The original Spanish title is La Vida Admirable de la Rvda. Madre Mariana de Jesus Torres, española y una de las Fundadoras del Monasterio Real de la Limpia Concepción de la Ciudad de San Francisco de Quito.
- La Mujer y la Monja Extrordinaria Mariana Francisca de Jesus Torres y Berriochoa, Quito: Liberia Espiritual, n.d., pp. 193-194
- Mensaje Profético de la Sierva de Dios Sor Mariana Francisca de Jesús Torres y Berriochoa,Quito: Fundacón de la Misericordia, 1985.