Sister Magdalena of the Cross -The nun who made a pact with the devil


Sister Magdalena of the Cross -The devil's saint for 40 years & her escape from an evil pact through extraordinary repentance

The November 24, 2011 prosecution of the false Italian mystic, Mother Ebe Giorgini, foundress of the religious movement "La Pia Unione di Gesù Misericordioso", once again brings to light the importance of careful discernment when it comes to mystics, visionaries and the like, and calls to mind the incredible life story of the false mystic, Sr. Magdalena of the Cross (1487-1560).

The renowned Franciscan nun who made a pact with Satan
Sister Magdalena of the Cross (Magdalena de la Cruz) was born in Córdoba (Cordova) in Andalusia, Spain in 1487. Named after the mystic St. Mary Magdalene, the one whom Church tradition remembers as the great "..sinner from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons.” (Mark 16:9), and who was also known for her extraordinary repentance. As for herself, Magdalena of the Cross too would one day become an extraordinary mystic, and later a repentant sinner, doing severe penances for her sins. Not even the great Saint Teresa of Avila would ever have as much prestige across Spain in her lifetime as Sr. Magdalena of the Cross! Her (apparent) outstanding piety and the miracles that she performed were known throughout Spain, and even much of Europe. So much so, that even the Emperor Charles V, the sovereign ruler of the Roman and Spanish Empire asked for a piece of the habit of Magdalena of the Cross to wrap around the future Prince Philip II at his birth, to give his royal son the "assistance of a living saint from birth, to envelop him in Divine grace." Incidentally, prince Phillip II later became the King of Spain in 1556.

Little Magdalena's first vision
But for now, little Magdalena is just 5 years old, and she is already known in town for her remarkable devotion, which is out of the ordinary for a girl of her age. Not long after her fifth birthday, she is praying in Church when she hears music of remarkable sweetness. Then a beautiful young man, with thick, black hair appears to her, wearing a mantle so brilliant that she has to close her eyes. Hearing the story, some believe it to be Jesus. News of this event spreads throughout Córdoba, and many want to see little Magdalena.

Sorting out the heavenly apparitions from the demonic ones
The difficulty that we will now have in sorting out Magdalena's early life story is that as with all the mystics and their mystical graces, there is often the influence and appearence of the demonic along with the heavenly apparitions. Like in the case of the Biblical Job, God allows the devil to tempt and even attack the mystics, to test their faith, love and devotion. This is the case with most every mystic. And with Magdalena, the task of discernement of her obvious mystical gifts and graces is even more difficult in her early years, because there definitely was a period where Magdalena demonstrated authentic piety and deep devotion, with the sincerity and simplicity of a child. But we know that she made a pact with the devil, so there must have been a point where the heavenly apparitions slowed or even ceased altogether, and the diabolic apparitions took over.

But for now, little Magdalena is living a simple life with her family who were poor artisans, and while Magdalena remains of exemplary modesty and conduct, the visions continue, one after another, and as time goes on this attracts the attention of many; so much so that one day she flees her home to take refuge in a nearby cave, where she once again falls into ecstasy. When she awakens, she discovers that she has been miraculously transported back to her bed by her guardian angel.

Miraculous cures
Soon, a person whom she believes to be Jesus appears to her and asks her to somewhat moderate her asceticism, so as not to compromise her fragile childhood health. He informs her that a great destiny awaits her, and that she will need her strength. She flies to the church to thank Jesus and on the way meets a man with a severe limp who asks her to lend him her hand to climb the Church steps. He has hardly climbed a few steps when he stands erect and with great surprise and excitement he dashes through the whole town crying out that he is healed!

Magdalena herself goes into Church then falls into a deep ecstasy. Soon, someone comes in looking for her and realises that she is seeing a vision. Looking closely at her eyes, she sees in the reflection in her eyes the heavens and what seems to be the Holy Trinity surrounded by the Communion of Saints. Soon afterwards, like Jesus after the cure of the blind man, Magdalena is subjected to all sorts of interrogations to discover any subterfuge, none of which can apparently be found. Not long afterwards, a mute person also allegedly receives his speech through her intercession.

Magdalena attempts to crucify herself
In 1497 at the age of ten, Magdalena is already quite beautiful, and in her purity she is very cautious to hide herself under long black dresses and skirts. Even so, she still finds herself too beautiful, and one day for penance she tries to crucify herself on the wall of her bedroom. She starts by nailing her two feet, then her left hand. Blood flows, and she faints from the atrocious pain. Her flesh tears and, falling heavily onto a chest, she breaks two ribs. Her parents call the doctor and he bandages all of her nail wounds, yet she is burning with desire to suffer terribly for the reparation of sins, and she repeatedly takes off the bandages, so as to suffer more. But this soon makes her very ill.

On Easter Saturday, 1497, Magdalena is bedridden and seems to be dying, probaly because of infection from the wounds of her failed crucifixion. At midnight, she lets out a great scream, sits up on her bed, once more rips off her dressings, saying that she is healed. She says that it is Jesus himself, who has just appeared to her and has cured her.

A prolonged fast and her first Holy Communion
Three months before her First Holy Communion, Magdalena seemingly stops eating. The pleadings of her poor parents make no difference; she fasts right up until the Sunday of her first Holy Communion, surprisingly without losing her healthy appearance. On the day of the ceremony, at the precise moment of consecration, she lets out another cry and prostrates herself for a long time. When she exits the church, she explains that the Lord Himself put the Eucharist in her mouth, without her needing to approach the priest.

Wounds seemingly heal overnight and the story of two stubby fingers
At sixteen, Magdalena contunes to astound many with her apparent extraordinary devotion and her remarkable desire to make reparation for sin. Many see her as a living saint- for who else but a saint could do such extraordinary penances? When she whips herself to bleeding point while doing penance, her wounds are miraculously healed the next day to everyones great surprise. She is healthy, and everything about her seems wholesome, except two fingers which have not grown like the others: at sixteen, they are no larger than the size of a child's pinky. Some say that these two fingers are those that Christ touched one night in her childhood, during an apparition.


Magdalena becomes a Franciscan nun
In 1504, at age 17, Magdalena at last obtains what seems to be the great desire of her life: to become a Franciscan nun- a spiritual daughter of St. Francis and St. Clare. Because of her reputation for holiness, she is joyfully admitted to the Franciscan convent of Saint Elizabeth of the Angels in Cordova (Convento de Santa Isabel de los Ángeles), and she soon edifies and inspires the admiration of many of the nuns.

There are however some "red flags" though. She is seemingly not too discrete about her spiritual life and merits; she inflicts severe mortifications upon herself, carries a heavy cross all around the convent, kisses her companions’ feet, and she seemingly stops eating completely, apparently living only on Holy Communion. All of these facts are cause for some concern, but she does seem very devout and is willing to do even the most menial and unwanted tasks, so her "extravagances" are for the most part downplayed, at least for now.

After a few years as a postulant, in 1509, at age 22, she already has a reputation for sainthood, and because of this it is thought prudent to let her take her vows alone. The event is greatly anticipated and well prepared. All of the nobles seek to obtain a good place in the church and to add even more glory to the great day, the Archbishop himself has his throne covered by a dais of richly embroidered velvet.

At last, the day of the ceremony arrives. Magdalena will now be known as Sister Magdalene of the Cross, in memory of the heroic crucifixion of her youth. The ceremony begins and she comes forward and kneels outside the sanctuary, and waits to hear the Cardinal’s speech. But rather than exhort the novice to the practice of christian virtue and piety, as is usual, he publicly asks her for her prayers and protection in support of himself and the diocese.

The miraculous dove
Afterwards at the Kyrie Eleison, something very remarkable happens: a dove, which seems to descend straight from the high catherdral ceiling, catches the eye of everyone. The dove lands on Magdalena's shoulder, and seems to speak into her ear. Afterwards it ascends up to a parapet, and remains there as if watching until the end of the ceremony. Afterwards it flies outside of the Church and those who run out to follow it see it rise almost striaght up, and for so long, that the sky finally seems to close over it. The news of these events spread like wildfire across the country and even spills outside its borders.

As the weeks and months progress after her solemn profession, Sr. Magdalene de la Cruz (as she is know known as) soon exhibits extraordinary faculties. Without ever going outside the walls, she seemingly knows many things that happens in Cordoba and elsewhere, particularly in the neighbouring Franciscan convent, and also in the aristocratic and noble homes in Cordoba. As in the past she continues to go into ecstasy often, and if she happens to be out of her cell while doing so, her companions carry her to her cell then withdraw discretely. Sometimes their curiosity gets the better of them and they listen not far away and often hear a gentle muttering of unknown words and also moans of suffering too.

Her fame continues to spreads across Spain and abroad
As can be expected, the gossip around all of these remarkable events swells and continues to spill outside of Spain. Correspondence floods the convent; people from all over petitioning Magdalena of the Cross for her prayers and spiritual help. Generous donations pour in also, and Magdalena’s convent is buzzing like a beehive with activity.

Magdalena's prophesies
It is at this time that another prodigious mystical gift of Sr. Magdalena appears: she can seemingly predict the future. In 1515, she announces the death of King Ferdinand for the following year, which comes to pass as foretold, and also the regency of Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros over the kingdom of Castile. In sign of gratitude, Cardinal Jiménez has a beautiful vermilion ostensory given to her, which increases the admiration and devotion of her fellow sisters and others even more.

A unexpected and remarkable pregnancy on the day of the Annunciation
On March 25, 1518, the day of the Feast of the Annunciation, Magdalena discreetly tells her Abbess some news which fills the pious woman with great confusion and perplexity--Magdalena states that on the preceding night, that is, the solemn Vigil of the Annunciation, she had conceived the child Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus Magdalene of the Cross, the shining light of the convent of Saint Elizabeth of the Angels, is pregnant.

Forseeing the enormous scandal that such news would inevitably provoke, the Abbess orders Magdalena to keep absolutely quiet about it for now, while she prays for guidence as to how to proceed. As the days pass, the Abbess discretely watches Magdalena and, after a few weeks, she is obliged to bow to the obvious evidence, for Magdalena's abdomen is noticeably rounding out, and the moment is going to come when they will no longer be able to hide this "work" of the Holy Spirit....or of nature?

The nuns are divided concerning Magdalena's alleged miraculous pregnancy
The nuns are all informed of the situation, and soon the convent is divided into two camps. On the one side, there are those who doubt the miraculous conception, some perhaps because they feel a hidden envy for Magdalena. Others because it is such a extraordinary thing that has never happened outside of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and there is nothing in Sacred Scripture that would point to such a second birth of Jesus into this world.

At this point most do not yet actually doubt her sainthood, however all these extraordinary things are without a doubt cause for careful discernment. And then there is all the generous donations that have been flowing in in honor of the "living saint", and the countless individuals who request her intercession and prayers...all of this tends to relegate the other sisters to a lesser position in the convent, and causes them to feel somewhat inadequate in their spirituality and the practice of virtue. Certainly many of them accuse themselves of jealousy to their confessor, and must have harbored some envy towards her. And so to some, for various reasons this supernatural pregnancy appears inconceivable, most importantly because such a miracle is not announced in the Holy Scriptures.

On the other side, there are those, also numerous, who say that God works in mysterious ways, and that the Most High has been pouring all sorts of extraordinary graces on his humble servant for many years. Understandably they cannot fathom how she could have possibly stained her purity; she who is so seemingly devout and pious, and besides she never leaves the convent grounds. To that, the doubters reply that she receives her confessor alone, and also that the bars on the convent fence are so widely spaced as to allow the passage of a much more cumbersome being than the Holy Spirit.

However, a vow of silence is agreed upon by both camps, however some cannot help themselves and soon the extraordinary news is spreading through all of Cordova and abroad. But how does Magdalena respond? She treats all of the news and insinuations with absolute and complete indifference.

Seemingly even more devout in the practice of virtue, she redoubles the severity of her penances, walking barefoot on pieces of broken glass and lashing her back and shoulders with instruments of severe mortification, along with wearing a rough cilice discipline.

The Archbishop orders a medical examination of Sr. Magdalena
Hearing the news, the Archbishop of Seville sends three experienced matron "midwives" to examine Magdalena. Having very carefully examined her, they announce that while it is indeed true that the nun is pregnant, it is also very much a fact that her virginity is completely intact and unquestionable. Prayers of thanksgiving explode in all the churches and throughout the land, and inside the convent the doubters and gossipers are reduced to utter silence and penances for their apparent doubts .

On Christmas Eve, 1518, Magdalena confirms that she will very soon give birth. A little house at the end of the garden is prepared for her, for in a vision her guardian angel recommends that she give birth alone, so as to suffer more without any human assistance. Magdalena remains locked up in the little house for three days, during which time the whole community remains in prayer. The story that Magdalena tells when she comes out is absolutely prodigious.

She relates that during Christmas night, at midnight, she gives birth to a magnificent baby who radiates so much light that she can see as if it were high noon. The cold air of her chamber is suddenly miraculously heated and the divine child doesn’t suffer at all from the cold.

During this time, strangely Magdalena’s hair begins to grow very fast and, from crow black that it was, it changes to the brightest blond, with its long length allowing her to swaddle the infant child in it, and keep him warm in the softest of tunics.

As proof of the miracle, she cuts a few of her blond curls before her hair turns back to normal. The nuns then compete for a few of the miraculous hairs to keep as precious relics.

Continuing with the story of the remarkable birth, Sr. Magdalene de la Cruz states that on the morning after Christmas she found herself alone, the beautiful little child gone, but with her breast chapped from suckling him, along with all of the stigmata of recent delivery still on her body. Soon the matron midwives are sent again to check on the veracity of these facts and to verify that Magdalena’s virginity has not suffered from the event. A solemn 'Te Deum' is then sung in the cathedral and donations flow in like never before. But in truth this entire event was orchestrated and perpetrated by the devil, in particular by two demons named Balban and Patorrio, as we will soon discover......

A few people continue to gossip, however, so in an attempt to put a definitive end to the calumnies an exorcist monk arrives at the convent one morning, while the nun is in ecstasy. He approaches her and pushes two long needles in her body, one into her foot, and the other into her hand. The needles penetrate deeply, yet Magdalena remains perfectly insensitive to them, without any reaction whatsoever, which confirms in the minds of many that her ecstasies are authentic. When the needles are are withdrawn, a little stream of blood flows from the wounds.

Her fast from food is subjected to a stringent test
In spite of this proof, Sr. Magdalena is subjected to another test, this time concerning her abstinence from food; a fast which she allegedly has been carrying out for eleven years. For, it was being insinuated that certain novices were secretly bringing her food.

So the Abbess then requests that a vigilant guard of two monks from the nearby Franciscan monastery be positioned at the entrance to Magdalena's cell with a 24 hour watch; the two monks taking turns with others in a rotating schedule. Additionally, she even orders that the window shutters of the chamber be nailed shut. After a few days, it is discovered that Magdalena has suddenly disappeared. They look for her everywhere, and soon find her in the completely opposite part of the garden, asleep near a fountain. The monks assure the abbess that they have not relaxed their surveillance for an instant. For her part, Sr. Magdalena reveals that it is Saint Francis himself who transported her to this place. Of course nobody is able to give any explanation for this prodigy, and it is concluded that this is but another miracle in the extraordinary life of Sister Magdalena of the Cross.

A Cathederal is built in greater part through the donations given to Sister Magdalena
At this point, Sr. Magdalena now has a greater prestige than the Abbess herself. She is consulted for all the major decisions that need to be taken by the community. Her advice is even sought from outside, by great and small alke, and soon Magdalena and the other nuns who have befriended her are better informed of what is happening in the city than the Archbishop himself.

In 1523, the Archbishop is in need of a new Cathederal, and because of the abundant donations sent to Sr. Magdalena her convent of Saint Elizabeth of the Angels is the richest in Spain, and is able to furnish by far the greatest part of the money needed for its construction. Because of this, Sr. Magdalena is consulted on the new cathedral’s appearance.

Sr. Magdalena de la Cruz is elected Abbess
And so it is that for twenty-nine years Magdalena's notoriety has grown in proportion to her alleged virtues, and she has led an existence which, although full of sometimes astounding events, has contributed for the most part in a positive way to the convent’s enrichment through her practice of virtue and the apparent signs from heaven which inspire the faithful. Always seemingly pious and disposed to sacrifice, she inspires and fascinates the Spanish high clergy, and many feel that she should have a higher position in the convent more suited to her merits. It is suggested that she should become the Abbess, since as time passes the current Abbess is becoming infirm. In a show of alleged humility, Magdalena protests and she uses her poor administrative abilities as a reason, stating:
“Let them elect Sister Isabella of the Holy Trinity instead.”

However, many of her fellow nuns want her as abbess so much that, on February 17, 1533 Magdalena is elected Abbess, in presence of the Order’s Superior, by forty-four votes as opposed to the seven given to Isabella of the Holy Trinity.

The new abbess Magdalena encourages severe mortifications and penances
With Magdalena now in charge, in the beginning life in the convent hardly changes, except Mother Magdalena seems to have a strong penchant for the practice of severe penances, and she exhorts her religious sisters to do likewise. In doing so, the new Abbess sometimes provokes very difficult scenes.

And so it is that during Confession the sisters, by hypocrisy or fear of too difficult penances, now usually only accuse themselves of small faults. Hearing of this, Mother Magdalena enters into holy wrath which soon causes unspeakable fear into her sisters. She orders them to admit to more severe sins, and the poor nuns become frightened by the severity of the abbess. Some burst into tears, and there are a couple of others who astonishingly go into a sort of semi-possession, rolling on the floor and arching their bodies, before slowly returning back to normal.

To reprimand the more guilty ones for their alleged spiritual weaknesses, the Abbess orders some to crawl on their knees in the refectory and make the sign of the cross with their tongues on the shoes of all the assembled nuns.

Soon, the confessions of the nuns are more to Mother Magdalena's liking, supposedly revelaing the sisters true state of sin. Penances are now measured to the alleged gravity of the faults, for according to Abbess Magdalena, it is necessary to totally expiate sins, and to succeed in this endeavor the common cord whip disciplines are replaced with iron tipped ones.

As for the manner and the times in which the discipline (ie- scourge or lash/whip) should be applied, the Abbess modernises it. Before, when the occasion came for extreme penance and use of the discipline (ie -scourge or lash/whip), the candles were extinguished, so that no one else could see the nuns who chose to use this form of severe mortification. It was the nuns own choice to do so, and it was done in darkness so that no one might know who is choosing to discipline themselves. This is to preserve the nuns humility.

But from now on, Mother Magdalena orers that the candles are to remain lit, and the nuns are given all the necessary time to openly whip themselves in the performance of bodily mortification and penance, in the full light and prescence of the other nuns. According to her, the sight of the self inflicted penance should be an encouragement for all of them to likewise do the same, or be exposed to the indignation of others, along with provoking interior feelings of inadequacy and spiritual weakness and discouragement amongst many of the nuns. Knowing that Mother Magdalena was being guided by the devil at this time (which we shall soon see), it is assumed that these exraordinary penances were an attempt by the devil to instill spiritual pride in some of the nuns, and discouragement and despair in others

Gone now are the "little penances" consisting of begging food from each table; for according to Mother Magdalena a soul with pride can submit to that easily enough. For acording to her it is severe mortification which is the salt of true penitence. The nuns are now encouraged to remain on their knees on boards garnished with rounded iron nailheads; they are encouraged to wear cilices or belts with small iron spikes pointing inwards and are encouraged to stretched out in doorways so that the others nuns can walk upon them and some wear a crown made of thorns. Yet these extreme severities seemingly do not harm the outward devotion of most of the community to their new Abbess. She is twice re-elected with the majority of the votes. No one dares, it seems, to question her authority and power within the community.

Mother Magdalena relaxes other rules of the Order
Yet, surprsingly, the abbess Magdalena of the Cross relaxes some long-standing rules of the Order that have exsisted for centuries. This of course causes concern first and foremost amongst the other Franciscan communities in her order, and also with the Archbishop and the priests within the local Church itself. Yet, as in the past, her reputation for holiness goes before her, and she is allowed to relax many rules of the Order within her own convent.

St Francis allegedly appears to her, and dispenses her from Confession
Not only does Magdalena on the one hand encourage severe penances and mortifications, and on the other hand she relaxes some of the rules of the Order, but now apparently because of her "saintliness" Saint Francis, the founder of her Order allegedly appears to her one night and dispenses her from having to go to Confession in the future.

And for the confessions of her fellow nuns, she explains that it is an insult to them to be separated from their confessor by a grille. In her opinion, they are to sit face to face with the confessor. This causes quite a stir amongst not only the sisters, but also with the priests themselves, as such a practice is unheard of throughout Catholic Spain at that time.

Additionally, Mother Magdalena of the Cross authorises the sisters to no longer fast on Fridays "so as to be able to support even greater mortifications". It is the belief of many of her fellow sisters that this great reform of the Franciscan Order that she is undertaking will bring new prosperity to the convent, and to the Order itself. It is no wonder then that within a couple of decades the great Spanish reformer and mystic, the Carmelite St. Teresa of Avilia would face such heavy opposition to the reforms that she was endeavoring to instill within the Carmelite Order in Spain only a few short years later.

Soon afterwards, Mother Magdalena states that on the previous evening, a dead woman, (presumably a soul from purgatory?) had come to confess to her. She immediately wants the young nuns and novices to confess to her at night in her cell. This most recent innovation of course causes even more murmurs and doubts, particularly from Isabella of the Holy Trinity who still hasn’t forgotten being beaten by Magdalena in the 1533 elections, and on whom Magdalena (as Abbess) has inflicted the severest humiliations upon ever since.

Mother Magdalena receives the admiration of many top dignitaries
Yet, amidst these troubling new reforms and directives from Mother Magdalena, the admiration that she receives from the greats of her time seem to easily blunt any criticisms– for Queen Isabella of Spain herself sends Mother Magdalena her portrait and beseeches Magdalena for her prayers, and also the Archbishop of Seville often writes to her, and in his letters he calls her "the happiest creature in the world”, presumably because of all the alleged heavenly graces that she supposedly receives.

The noblest ladies, while pregnant and nearing their deliveries would send the layette to be blessed by her, as did the Empress Isabel before the birth of Philip II. When, in 1535, the Emperor Charles V was starting from Barcelona for the expedition to Tunis, he sent his banner to C6rdova that she might bestow on it her blessing. Cardinal Manrique, the inquisitor-general, and Giovanni di Reggio, the papal nuncio, made pilgrimages to visit her, and it is said that even the pope sent to ask her prayers for the Christian Republic, although it should be said that this was often a common practice of the time for prioresses such as Mother Magdalena who were considered devout, for since they were in charge of their respective convents, the pope and the high prelates would often request their prayers in union with the sisters in their convents, for the benefit of the Church or their local dioceses.

The doubts about Mother Magdalena begin to mount
And so it is that the revelations and prodigies that direct and guide Mother Magdalena seem to cause her to make decisions that are more and more contestable and disconcerting. And now once again she reveals more troubling revelations one morning:

“The Holy Virgin has appeared to me and led me about the corridors last night. She smiled at you, Sister" and then gazing at one of those who had been opposing her "but she only gave a long look of scorn to you.”

Understandably, these revelations strongly displease those who are the victims. Their protestations join those of the families who, outside, see their daughters refused entrance into the convent, because for example one of their ancestors were perhaps Jewish. Mother Magdalena of course receives her information from the Holy Virgin Herself, but in the families, indignation and anger provoke the growing attitude of doubt concerning the supposed heavenly guidance recieved by the abbess.

The 1542 elections bring a surprising result
During the next elections for abbess, Mother Magdalena receives only a handful of votes, and Isabella of the Holy Trinity is elected by a large margin. In reparation (and perhaps some retaliation for her own humiliations?) that same evening, she obliges Magdalena to make as many signs of the cross on the floor with her tongue as there are tiles in the refectory.

In the middle of this, Magdalena the former Abbess falls into ecstasy. Always when this would happen in the past, the sisters would carry her to her cell. Now, she is left where she is in the refectory for a good part of the night. After the "ecstasy" she finally returns to her cell on her own.

With doubts continuing to mount, Magdalena is again suspected of receiving food clandestinely, as she is still said to be fasting on a daily basis for over thirty years now.

Add to this, one day, a little iron box containing Communion wafers is brought to the Abbess. This box, found under Magdalena’s bed, seems to prove that the miracle of spontaneous Communion, repeated many times in the past, has been just a trick.

A demonic presence is detected
In 1543, she falls gravely ill. This seems a good occasion for the Abbess to oblige her to make a general confession of her entire life. But at the moment when the confessor puts his stole on in preparation for her confession, Magdalena immediately goes into convulsions. The priest suspects a demonic prescence, so he sends for a doctor whom he knows to be also well versed in the spiritual life. He examines Magdalena and notices that during one of her ecstasies, Magdalena’s eyes do not remained fixed, which is one of the distinctive marks of real ecstasies. However, he stabs her with a needle and obtains no reaction. But when he wisely dips the needle in holy water, Magdalena lets out a moan. This immediately draws suspicion and concern that Sr. Magdalena may be infested or even possessed by a demon.

As time progrsses, Magdalena's illness continues to get worse. Seemingly out of character, she is now worried, and often asks the doctor to keep her informed on the evolution of her illness. One December day, she hears:

“You are dying. You will not see another Christmas.”

Greatly anguished, Magdalena suddenly twists on her bed and then rises up and lets out mysterious words:

1544!...The forty years as announced!; I am a cursed dog! Take me to Hell!”

Then she falls back into her bed and begins uttering revolting blasphemies before suddenly being taken from her bed by an inisible force and held in mid-air. She then falls heavily onto the bed several times, but apparently without hurting herself.

After some reflection, the Abbess decides to have a very old and experienced priest, Rev. Don Juan of Cordova called in, and she asks him to examine, and if need be exorcise Magdalena immediately. Not long after visiting Magdalena the old man looks at her and orders:

“I order you in the Name of Jesus to leave this poor woman and dare to say your name!”

The demon first lets out a terrible cry in which the name “Balban” is recognised. Later during exorcisms it was discovered that another demon named "Patorrio" was also influencing her. The demonic laughing intensifies and the words uttered are horrible. The demon glories in all the disorder that he has been able to cause over so many years in the convent, and swears that he will return...

Thus the Rev. Don Juan of Cordova is able to establish at least a solid case of demonic infestation, and perhaps even possession, and the news spreads first among the nuns, and soon afterwards amongst the clergy and townsppeople of Cordova, and later throughout the whole of Spain. The following day however, the Provincial of the Franciscans goes in person to the dying nun’s bedside. He remains there for several hours and receives a complete confession, of which he says nothing.

Yet all those who meet him afterwards notice that he is carrying a very heavy burden, a frightful secret; a nightmare which has been a whole lifetime; the lifetime of the “saint” Magdalena of the Cross, the diabolic Abbess of Cordova.

Sister Magdalena of the Cross admits to a 40 year pact with the devil
Next, an Inquisitor is sent to investigate the thorny matter by the express order of Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera, the Primate of Spain. He is much younger than the Rev. Don Juan of Cordova and he inspires her with confidence. She reveals to him that the beautiful dark-haired young man who appeared to her at the age of five was in fact the devil. He had promised her fame and the respect of everyone, if she would consent to obey him always.

It is also satan who leaves his mark by touching her two fingers which from then forward stop growing. And it is also he who teaches her the subterfuge of the wafers, and he assists her with the simulation of ecstasies. Her cries in the night are in no way inspired by the ecstatic love that she has for the Creator, but by the demon’s evil caresses.

Upon hearing such disconcerting admissions, the Inquisitor is horrified and almost instictively he makes the sign of the Cross upon himself. Immediately, Sr. Magdalena starts to insult the priest with vile and abhorrent words. She then begins to roll around the floor in her cell, and bites anything she can, while striking indecent poses and mimicking the vile copulations that she has performed with Balban for nearly forty years.

Because he is an experienced Inquisitor, the good monk had asked the older, more experienced nuns to stay in the corridor to write down the fallen Magdalena's words, so as to be able to document and later serve as witnesses. From here, Sr. Magdalena de la Cruz' case is well documented and quickly prepared.

The Exorcisms of Sister Magdalena begin
During the extended course of interrogations that were part of the ongoing exorcism during which Balban is very reluctantly dislodged from Magdalena, it is discovered that the most wicked and hideous means were used to undermine Magdalena’s soul as a child. It was believed that he originally chose her because she was in fact very pious and devoted to God, and so in his terrible wickedness he earnestly sought to despoil God of one of His favorites. But, we shall soon see how God wins triumphantly in the end.

During the ongoing exorcisms it is learned that when Magdalena became a young adult, the demon Balban ceased to appear to her as a beautiful young man, as he had been doing since she was age five. One night, when the young girl was waiting for him as usual, he presented himself to her in the form of a schimmering mist which condenses and takes the form of a very tall man with long hair, who radiates a reddish light.

She cries out “Jesus”, but this, of course, greatly displeases Balban, who lifts her with his burning hand and drops her on the ground. She is then forced to contemplate this horrid creature who now rises before her in a horrible metamorphisis, from a man into a vile beast.

The infernal creature is repulsive and the possessed nun describes in horror his wide, flat nose, his twisted horns and his toothless mouth. He commanded her to immediately become his wife, and he assures her that she will not lose her virginity, and he promises that her apparent sainthood would only grow in measure with the supposed unimaginable pleasures that she would enjoy with him. Lacking in spiritual fortitude; vanquished, Magdalena then gives in, and it is again the dark-haired, and very attractive young man that she now receives in her.

Next she confesses that it was also the devil who came to feed her in secret, and that she had really been pregnant by him. She had been told by him that she risked nothing if she followed his instructions. It was to play a joke by troubling the minds of the nuns and the Spanish clergy and laity that he had made her pregnant with an montorous caterpillar, which escaped from her body with a loud wind that famous Christmas night, before changing into Balban, and re-possessing her with unprecedented vigor.

A few holy and well known individuals were not fooled
And so it is that the whole of Christendom discovers with horror that she of whom most everyone thought was God’s most-beloved, was in fact the most-beloved creature of the devil. Yet some of Sr. Magdalena's contemporaries were not so easily fooled by her false mysticism, like the great St Ignatius Loyola who was incredulous and in 1541, it is said that he severely reproved Martin de la Santa Cruz, who endeavored to win him over towards Sr. Magdalena, for accepting exterior signs without seeking for the true interior ones; and the great St John of Avila (who is soon to be declared a Doctor of the Church) was also very sceptical and, when he was in Cordova, he was discreetly denied access to her.
Sr. Magdalena of the Cross becomes like her namesake, St. Mary Magdalene and deeply repents of the demons that were possessing her
As the Scriptures relate, Jesus had cast out seven horrible demons that were possessing St. Mary Magdalene,(Mark 16:9) and she became known as the great, repentant sinner. Tradition tells us that she spent the rest of her life in a cave making penance and reparation for her manifold sins, and she became a most extraordinary Saint. In fact, Jesus chose St Mary Magdalene to be one of the first witnesses to His glorious Resurrection, as Holy Scripture tells us.

The judgement of the Religious Tribunal
As for the once renowned Sr. Magdelena de la Cruz, now fully exorcised and free of the demons Balban and Patorrio who are forced to reveal that they are leaving forever the body and soul of the possessed woman, she is then judged by the religious tribunal on May 3, 1546.

The Grand Inquisitor of the religious tribunal is Cardinal Jimenez, now the Primate of Spain, appointed by Isabella of Castile herself, and it is because of this that Magdalena is transferred to the Alcazar prisons to be further interrogated.

The demons Balban and Patorrio receive the majority of the blame
Sr. Magdalena is now sixty-one years old and she is extraordinarily repentant for all that she has done and she begs the court to put a rapid end to her torments and deliver her to the purifying flames. The judges however decide otherwise. Because of her great age, her sincere confessions and the quality of her repentance her deserved sentence is greatly mitigated. And rightfully so, they consider her to be a pitiful victim of the demon and perhaps they remember well the days of her glory when they too had exalted in having what was belived to be such an extraordinary saint in their midst. And so the inquisitors place a large portion of the blame on the demons Balban and Patorrio, most especially Balban, and not so much on Magdalena herself, since she was just an inexperienced youth when the demon(s) began influencing her. In short, they feel that as a youth Magdalena was heavily intimidated by the demon, so they conclude that her culpability is greatly lessened because of her age at the time.

The Catholic church relies on the principle that divine works are eternal and infinite. Those of the demon, on the other hand, are always limited in time and space. If Magdalena confesses, it is because, in 1544, her pact with the devil has arrived at its end. It is fear of Hell, as she says herself, which precipitates her revelations. And it is also God who in His infinite love and mercy inspires all of her admissions, and inspires and guides her deep repentance. And it is God who assures her that she will live if she confesses. She would become even more a heroine in repentance than she was in false virtue and fame.

So the judges decide that Sr. Magdalena is to be led to the scaffold with a gag in her mouth, a Spartan cord around her neck, and a candle in her hand. She is to remain exposed there for all to see for the time period of a High Mass, and that she should then abjure her manifold errors. For three months, she must keep her face exposed and cannot wear the black veil, and she must always walk last in all of the movements of convent life.

She abjures and repents in tears, in front of the Cathedral that she had had raised thanks to her deceptions in union with the demons Balban and Patorrio. She is also ordered to go to a different Franciscan convent in Burgos, where she lives long years or repentance and expiation without ever falling again into the slightest error.

At a young age, Magdalena succumed to a great pride and a false demonic promise that offered her prestige and power. But the great and small of her time were all later sure that her final deep humility and repentance had made her quite worthy of Paradise. Sister Magdalena de la Cruz died in 1560 at the age of 74.

Today, the name of this Sister Magdalena of the Cross is all but forgotten and her remarkable story is practically unknown. However, the great lawyer and writer, Maurice Garcon, for whom Magdalena is an important historical figure, documents how she was in fact very well-known throughout Christendom in the 16th and 17th centuries, and how many of the theological and demonological treatises make precise and detailed references to her case. In fact during this time period the many facts presented in theological books concerning demonic influences are illustrated by the statements and documents drawn from her trial.

And it is from the transcript of her trial that Maitre Maurice Garcon drew up his remarkable book on her life, using the transcript from her trial. Louis Pauwels used Maitre Garcon's book (among other references) for his resume of Sr Magdalena's life.

According to him there are only two copies of this very precious manuscript in the world, one in London and the other in Paris.

The important lessons learned through the extraordinary case of Magdalena of the Cross
Magdalena had arrived so high in her reputation for sainthood that she had been the counseller of kings, emperors, and above all, of the great Church dignitaries. Yet the trial’s conclusions about this are very interesting. The outcome of the long and detailed trial by the judges concludes that in the end the only real dupe in this affair is the devil, himself. His subterfuges have turned against him: by intimidating and perverting Magdalena, he has in the end only reinforced the faith of the people, and she who had been submissive to him for so long, gloriously escapes from his wicked rule in the end, through the power and mercy of God. And Truth overcomes the devils lies and the deceptions that he inspires through his demons.

For those who study the lives of visionaries and the mystics of the Church, Magdalena's extraordinary yet fraudulent mystical life replete with numerous alleged supernatural and mystical gifts that almost perfectly mimic the ones given to authentic mystics should serve as a very grave warning of how the devil can ape and mimic God's works, and can be exceedingly convincing while doing so. For as we see in the case of Sr. Magdalena, he was able to decieve even Cardinals, priests, theologians and others who were very experienced in the mystical life and spiritual matters.

The root cause of the ongoing deception: The necessity of spiritual direction and obedience
The important missing element which allowed for the ongoing demonic deceptions in the life of Sr. Magdalena was the absence of a priest spiritual director to guide and discern her alleged mystical gifts and supernatural graces. Obedience is the "litmus test" of the Church, and it seems that Sr. Magdalena was never subjected to obedience to a spiritual director. Had she been, the demonic deceptions would certainly have been detected much sooner. Mystics and visionaries should always be guided by a priest spiritual director, and it should always be the priest who directs the mystic, and NOT the mystic who directs the priest. A priest spiritual director represents Christ and His authority within the Church, and therefore mystical and supernatural graces should be subjected to this authority to help discern their authenticity.

For sure another one of the spiritual lessons is that all that glitters is not necessarily gold, and the devil does not counterfeit tin or copper, or even silver---he seeks to counterfeit gold. So we need to be very careful, with the help of God, not to be misled by his phony deceptions.

-May Jesus inspire, guide and protect us, and may the Blessed Virgin Mary cover us under Her mantle. St Michael the archangel, defend us in battle!

For those interested, I have written an article on judging visionaries and private revelations here.
___________________________________
Some references on the life of Sister Magdalena de la Cruz
"A History of the Inquisition of Spain" by Henry Charles Lea -Free online reading here.
"Magdeleine de la Croix-Abbesse Diabolique" by Maurice Garcon.
"Witches, devils, and doctors in the Renaissance" by Johann Weyer
"Histoire critique de l’Inquisition d’Espagne" by Juan Antonio Llorente
"The Diabolic Saint -Magdalena of the Cross" Lady Marilyn Kay Dennis, Parts 1-6

63 comments:

JPatrick said...

Hello sir. If you want to find images of the convent, just do a Google image search of "Monasterio de Santa Isabel de los Angeles, Cordoba".

Hope this helps. God bless you!

Lady Marilyn Kay Dennis said...

There is, I think, a slight error concerning the writer of the book on Magdalena. It was Maitre Maurice Garcon who wrote the study of Magdalena, using the transcript from her trial. Louis Pauwels used Maitre Garcon's book (among other references) for his resume of Sr Magdalena's life.

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi JPATRICK,
Thanks so much for the tip on finding images of the Santa Isabel de los Angeles convent. I added a photo of it to the article.
Thanks again and may God bless you and your loved ones.
-Glenn Dallaire

Mary42 said...

And this, my dear people of God, is a salutary caution to be wary of the now controversial Medjuore phenomenon. May the Holy Mother of God protect her Son's Children from the diabolical which mimics the Divine to mislead the innocents.

Benedict said...

Hello Glenn,
Thanks for the interesting post. I sat on my office desk this morning and was linked to the article through Spiritdaily. Next thing I know, I was glued to my seat reading the entire article to the very end!

On the part where Sr Magdalena got pregnant and delivered a child, I can't help but notice the striking similarities with a movie from the 80s- "Agnes of God" (starring Jane Fonda & Anne Bancroft). The movie was inspired by a play, which in turn was inspired by a real-life story in an American convent.

Sr Magdalena's life serves a powerful lesson for us all to be ever vigilant in prayer for discernment, to frequent the sacraments (both the Eucharist and Confession) and to be faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn-thanks for the interesting (and yet sad) story of Magdalena de la Cruz. It was linked through Spirit Daily.

I knew about her from the biography 'Saint Teresa of Avila' by Marcelle Auclair. I have two copies of this book. Another reference to her is in another book I have, 'The Nun', a factual novel about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, by Margaret Trouncer.

I'm reminded of what was told to St. Teresa by one of her lay friends: 'Remember Magdalena de la Cruz-all Spain thought she was a Saint, whereas she was possessed of the devil.' Teresa grew pale, and said in a low voice, 'I can never remember her without trembling.' When her friend left the monastery parlor, he said, 'Such humility is never found in a tool of Satan.'

I never knew about Magdalena's self-inflicted 'crucifixion' as a child, nor the 'pregnancy' as a nun. Very bizarre....

What a terrible thing about that 'Mother Ebe' in Italy...I never heard of this. And how deceived were her 'followers'! Was her 'community' suppressed, then?

Barb Finnegan

Anonymous said...

Hi - interesting article.
One question: I may have missed it in the article somewhere but whatever happened to the son of Balban she gave birth to?

victoria said...

Another great story!!! Wow!! It has movie-worthy all over. I didn't know of her, but after this, I will never forget. Unbelievable!!!

As I read, I watched the movie in my mind and gave it two thumbs up!

Your writing style is exceptional!!

Merry Christmas!

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hello Benedict,
Thank you for your kind comments.

The life of the false mystic Sr. Magdalena was a real eye-opener for me also, most especially because the false mystical gifts that she received were, according to witnesses, utterly convincing--so much so that she (I should say the demons through her) deceived even high placed prelates within the Church for many, many years.

And so, as I mentioned in the article, her remarkable life of deception through the help of the demon(s) is really a grave warning for us all on the importance of cautious and careful discernment. Most especially those of us who are interested in visionaries and mystics.

Thanks again and may God bless you and your loved ones,
Glenn Dallaire

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Barb Finnegan,
Thanks for your comments, and especially for the information about the great St Teresa of Avila and her knowledge of the life of Sr. Magdalena of the Cross.

In fact, it is precisely because of the false deceptions of Sr. Magdalena that St Teresa herself ran across so many who doubted her mystical graces and charisms, and most especially her proposed reforms to the Carmelite order.

As you know, Sr. Magdalena and St Teresa were contemporaries and Cordova and Avila are only 320 miles apart, and given all the deceptions that had just been revealed about Sr. Magdalena, most everyone was turning towards St Teresa with suspicion and doubts, because her life and mystical gifts were very, very similar to that of Sr. Magdalena's.

It makes one wonder if the devil somehow knew that St Teresa, the great reformer and Doctor of the Church, was soon coming onto the scene, and therefore he was trying to discredit her in advance through the phony deceptions of Sr. Magdalena....

Well, it is food for thought anyway....

Thanks again for your comments.

Union in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
-Glenn Dallaire

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Anonymous,

To answer your question, towards the bottom of the article you can read what happened to the "child" that she gave birth to....it was actually the demon balban in the form similar to a large caterpillar (this is how Sr. Magdalena herself described it) who placed himself mystically inside of her abdomen, to fool others into thinking she was actually pregnant with Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit...seems strange, I know, but this is all very true. We have to realize though that she seemingly and quite convincingly lived the life of a remarkable "saint"--a life replete with extraordinary miracles and graces, and she was supported in part by numerous dignitaries. So this lent and air of seeming truth to her remarkable charisms.

Anyway, you can read the details of this false pregnancy towards the bottom of the article.

May God bless you and your loved ones,
Glenn Dallaire

Anonymous said...

This was a hard biography to digest... It is difficult to believe a foul spirit like this could deceive so many holy religious, yet we see it once again in our day, don't we? So many parish schools today honor the darkness of Halloween vs our Holy Saints. If only they could see this evil spirit this way, how things would change.

Let us pray for this dear one, that she is forever held in the tender embrace of our Holy Mother, nursed back into health! As we do,let us place all of our little ones there. May we consider our own personal situations, because it seems to me, these terrible manifestations of spirit are allowed for a few of us, so in understanding, we can see who we ourselves may be inviting in the door of our own homes. In our movie choices alone! The darkest spirit today is so hidden, we are all talking to him it seems to me, scary as it sounds. Talking reindeer at Christmas do us in when He who is the Light is avoided, right? May we replace these dark spirits for He who is truly the Light, and remove the tv set for true Adoration.

Anonymous said...

A correction: Philip II of Spain was never a Holy Roman Emperor. Upon the abdication of Charles V in 1556, this title went to Charles's brother, Ferdinand, and not to his son Philip.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see that the devil made Sister Magdalena force her sisters to receive confession face to face with the priest - just like the modern church; and made her think that she was exempt from confession - just like modern Catholics.

Scaevola said...

@Anonymous And yet the Church is the Body of Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit, and the devil is a fallen angel. Judge them by their interior disposition, not by their outer works, as St Ignatius said. Also, the "modern Church" does not "force" face-to-face confession, as if there was anything intrinsically evil with that method. It's modern priests who do so.

Anonymous said...

mary42, this is nowhere similar to the Medjugorje phenomenom. Satan cannot use us in such ways as he used this nun, without our consent. The things that manifested from this nun were only possible because she, of her own free will, gave herself to Satan. Allegedly early on during Medjugorje Satan offered Mirjana a happy life if she would follow him - she said no. So this in no way serves as a cautionary tale for Medjugorje - the two are toally different. In fact, this case is different from ALL other known appaarition events in history precisely because the recipient of the alleged visions/events (such as the pregnancy thing) had first given herself to Satan.

God bless you.

mala said...

Thank you anonymous for the clarification between Magdalena and Medjugorje. As you say these are two toally different since Magdalena had given herself to satan of her own accord. Thank you once again for your clarification.

Leslea Wagner said...

These FACTS about Sr. Magdalena also portend a warning about a 'new' alleged 'mystic','Anne' lay apostle,who has TWO VERY DIFFERENT SIDES of her personality.She lives life completely contrary to what is 'written' in HER 'Direction For Our Times'Volumes/books,etc. Just ask HER MANY VICTIMS who have dared to question HER cruel methods of getting rid of people when SHE'S FINISHED USING THEM!!!Actually,ANY questioning of HER ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY will bring about a vicious attack from HER inner circle,which is carried out upon HER ORDERS.DIABOLIC ATTACKS!!

Broken Chord said...

Thanks for this timely article which is much needed in this present day of false Christs and prophets. I am familiar with the case of Magdalena de la Cruz but this is the first online article I know that provides a detailed account! I shared this in facebook and many were surprised by the power of the devil's deception.

However, I have comments from friends that your article places a bit too much mention of the demons' names. It is not healthy for people to read out such names too much. Sometimes to a point it becomes unintentional invocation.

Well, that's the only criticism but otherwise may God bless you for your contributions!

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Broken Chord,
Thanks for your comments. I am really glad to hear that you enjoyed this article. I can say that it was really a learning experience for me when I began looking into Magdalena of the Cross' deceitful life because it is, as you say, a warning for us not to believe too quickly in those who are presumed to receive supernatural graces and gifts.

Thanks again and may God bless you and your loved ones.
-Glenn Dallaire

Mark said...

Hi Glenn,

Have you read the book "The Case of Therese Neumann" by Hilda C. Graef? It was published in 1951 and has some interesting facts with regard to Therese Neumann that I think parallel Magdalena of the Cross.

Here's a short review by a person who's read the book: http://www.angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28925

If you can get a hold of it (I haven't as of yet, but plan to), it might make an interesting article in the future.

God Bless!

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Mark,
Thanks so much for the information on the book "The Case of Therese Neumann" by Hilda C. Graef. I have a couple of books on Venerable Therese Neumann, but I don't have this one. I am going to see if I can pick up a copy because it sounds very interesting.

Thanks again and may God bless you and your loved ones,
Glenn Dallaire

Spiritual Matters said...

Hi, I read the following quote from the book "Rules for Discerning the Spirits" by Fr. Ludovic-Marie Barrielle, CP. CR. V.

Can you please confirm these:

"Magdalen of the Cross, who, at the beginning of the century of St. Teresa of Avila, fooled almost the whole of Spain. She, while levitating, received the host, which detached itself from the hand of the priest and flew through the air before resting upon her tongue. On certain days she had either the stigmata or the sweats of blood, and she announced the defeat and imprisonment of Francis I by the Spanish army at Pavia (they did not have telecommunications in those days). Hence, the tide of enthusiasm of which she was the cause. Common people, parish priests, bishops, emperors, many venerated her and consulted with her. However, an apostolic visitor sent by Rome was shocked by some details he saw in her convent. He spoke to each of the sisters and, especially, with the Mother Abbess, Magdalen of the Cross, who eventually, confessed that while a young shepherdess, she had sold her soul to the devil in return for his giving her the power of performing prodigies. Thus, she deceived everybody for thirty years. Notice, however, that the pseudo-miracles were only prodigies relative to us [humans]. The devil could quite easily transport a host from the ciborium to a communicant, bring news from Pavia to Cordova, in the twinkling of an eye… or raise someone from the ground, or make them bleed."

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Spiritual Matters,
Yes, to my knowledge everything in the paragraph you cited has been attrtibuted to Sr. Magadelene of the Cross. The author mentions 30 years, but the author is referring only to the 30 years that she was a religious (nun), but the remarkable occurances in her life actually began in her adolescence, about 10 years before her entrance into the religious life. In fact the facts concerning this are presented in the article above.

All of the seemingly remarkable things mentioned can be attributed to the preternatural (ie- to the powers of the demonic). As far as the defeat and imprisonment of Francis I by the Spanish army at Pavia---it is very true that while the devil/demons cannot foresee the future, they can with their superior intelligence predict things quite well in the not too distant future.

Best wishes and may God bless you and your loved ones,
Glenn Dallaire

Spiritual Matters said...

Thank You Glenn,

I was concern most especially with the levitation of the host during Holy Communion because the true mystics and saints also have such communions. I want to verify if that was also true in her case. The devil is really cunning, he can ape mystical communions & Eucharistic miracles. The excommunicated Julia Kim & Mama Rosa are some of such.

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Spiritual Matters,
Concerning the alleged levitation of the host during Holy Communion, I can't verify this as a fact since it isn't related in the documentation that I have. So, it may or may not be true....
May God bless you and your loved ones
-Glenn

Anonymous said...

What a story!
I wonder - how all these clerics bought a story about "second birth of Jesus into this world"? It was all very clear in that moment, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

I have a question regarding the dove which appeared at the kyrie eleison:
the dove is the only animal can't be copied by satan or demon or evil because it represents the holy spirit. and during kyrie eleison, the devils,demons and satan himself would not to rather attend the kyrie eleison.

Spiritual Matters said...

Hi Glenn,

Thanks for your replies. I found out recently from a book that in the case of Sr. Magdalena, it isn't a consecrated host but only a 'wafer'. The book is "The Physical Phenomena Of Mysticism" by Montague Summers, search for it at archive.org. Her story is in the final chapter.

Anonymous above is saying that the dove is the only animal that can't be copied by the demon because it represents the Holy Spirit, I Think Not, that belief seems to me came from Protestants as it can be found in the Protestant book "Mysterious Secrets of the Dark Kingdom" by Jonathan Philip Timmons, as usual this book has errors.

Some say also that the demon can't copy the Lord's five wounds in an apparition, I Think Not, that's why in the life of Ss. Padre Pio, Catherine of Siena, Gemma Galgani, Sr. Josefa Menendez etc. they don't look for the wounds but they told the entity to repeat "Blessed be Jesus & Mary". Padre Pio & St. Catherine learned a "rule of thumb," which we also find in the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, and which he taught some of his spiritual followers. He noticed a certain timidity when the Virgin or the Lord first appeared, followed by a sense of peace when the vision departed. On the other hand, a devil in sacred form provoked an immediate feeling of joy and attraction, replaced afterwards by remorse and sadness or disgust. Found at Fr. Gabriele Amorth's interview: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=1021

God bless.

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Spiritual Matters,
Thank you for your comments and most especially for the excellent information that you provided. -It is much appreciated.

-May God bless you and your loved ones.
Glenn Dallaire

Anonymous said...

Leslea Wagner.
Your comments about Anne a lay apostle are simply unfounded. I mean,seriously, "HER MANY VICTIMS "?..."her cruel methods of getting rid of people"?. Are you for real? What do you know about how this lady lives her life. By whose authority do you condemn her (and make no mistake about it, you do most clearly condemn her)?

What I've noticed is that there seems to be a group of folks on the net who, for reasons best known to themselves, have made it their mission to attack whatever they dont agree with...Anne a lay apostle...Madjugorje....Vatican II...Holy Mass celebrated in the vernacular...

Examine your motives...and your statements. Substantiate or withdraw.

Stephen Browning said...

This is why it is most important that a Mystic have
a Spiritual Director that is a Priest; and, that the
Mystic places them self in Holy obedience to
the Priest.

Donna said...

I'm confused about Magdalena making the pact with the devil when she was only 5 years old. She wasn't even the age of reason yet! How did she know what she was really doing?

Glenn Dallaire said...


Hi Donna,
Thanks for your comment. You make a good point. However, while age 7 is the *average* age of reason (hence the permissable age of First Holy Communion allowed by Canon law), certainly many children reach the age of reason well before age 7. As you know, the age of reason is defined as the ability to discern between right and wrong and certainly many children at age 5 know quite well the difference between the two.

Additionally, because of the gift of free will, Magdalena was always free to break the pact that she made--which thankfully she eventually did, albeit after many years.

May God bless you!
Glenn Dallaire

Donna said...

Glenn, thanks for your reply. It's refreshing to have the "master of the house" (lol) listen to us and answer us, the readers.

Anonymous said...

This story deffinitly has all the makings of holliness becoming a nightmare.I ask myself where was god the entire time?He was there the entire time.All we have to do as human biengs,is choose rightiosness then we will not fall into deception. she was led into lust by the devil and was currupted her love for god. wow crazy ,what a story.

John Petrone said...

Wow.

Do the others actually state that she claimed to have sexual relations with the demon?

John Petrone said...

authors* not others

Anonymous said...

No not an author. no one will actually state this, it is a very sensitive subject.But it does in fact insinuate this in i think two different paragraphs. In the third paraghraph under title sister magdala of the cross admitts having 40yr pact...Then again when it insist that she be his wife. What do you think it is that happens when a women vows herself to a man. And why would the devil not do that? It's always looking for a way to make a mockery out of relgion,and the people of god. This is somthing no one wants to talk about.But it should be. Do you not think that still in secret it not continuing to trick young wemon who love and are devot to god? The only way to not fall susceptible to the devils tricks is to always choose rhighteousness. It takes truly special people who depend on gods strength to achieve this; for we are all human errored beings

Anonymous said...

Great thanks for this post. I was just looking for the information on Sr Magdalena - I heard of her and I wanted to let others know of her so that they be careful of present days self-acclaimed mystics that reject the Church authority (I will not name anyone here - just some seer who will not even reveal their name) and I found your lengthy piece on this interesting case... so much the better. :)

Anonymous said...

I was really impressed with this story.I am a novice researcher into religions, and always excited to hear wild goings on such as this. I am a Gnostic, and so do not hold Catholic versions of history so tight as believers.

Anonymous said...

I was really impressed with this story.I am a novice researcher into religions, and always excited to hear wild goings on such as this. I am a Gnostic, and so do not hold Catholic versions of history so tight as believers.

luis_rcoelho said...

After reading well more than half of this acount, i came across a mistake in terms of theology. No human being can be sexually taken by any demons...the story says that this nun had sex with a demon? Only this small detail, makes me doubt about this entire story..or things hapenned in another way...ot the devil made her belly grow or something like that..no demons can have sex with a human, since spiritual being do not possess genitals.
This is for your discernment.

Glenn Dallaire said...


Hi Luis,
Thanks for your comment.

When I first read this part of the story, I recalled reading in Fr. Gabriel Amorth's book "An Exorcist Tells His Story" where he stated that demons can affect the body, and most especially the stomach. And he gave evidence (he related a few specific cases) of how they can literally "attach" themselves to a physical object that then is swallowed and remains inside the stomach, and use this to possess a person. So I am thinking this type of preternatural behaviour may relate to this part of the story.

And by carefully reading the details of this part of the story, it becomes quite apparent that the alleged "pregnancy" was entirely a deception by the father of lies. And this is why she was "told" to give birth alone, and why the alleged child mysteriously disappeared hours later, and no one ever saw "him"--because obviously there was no child and it was all a farce and deception.

In the end, it is obvious that what happened to Sr. Magdalena is not an everyday occurance, but an extraordinary example, allowed by God, to show His great mercy, love and power, and also to reveal the grave spiritual dangers of associating with the enemy of our souls. And for all those concerned I imagine that it was a very, very powerful lesson.

Thanks again for your comments and may God bless you and your loved ones.
-Glenn Dallaire


Anonymous said...

+JMJM+
Thank you for this story, I had wondered after reading St Teresa of Avila's account of her.
OBVIOUSLY, the Devil is seeking to lead many astray, and is acting now out "in the light of day" through many means--tv, music, New Age, "One World" Theology.

I DO believe that there are mystics today who are false, but remember that PRIVATE revelation is not necessary for salvation. HOWEVER, Fatima, La Salette...even Holy Scripture in Revelation speak of the False Prophet and the Antichrist who is to come--the dark days ahead, perhaps even closer than we thought.
In discernment, one takes obedience as a MUST, but it is frightful to think that the False Prophet will exhibit great signs, seen as a Saintly, Humble man...inspiring so many, and yet at the same time discreetly changing focus from the Sacraments and more onto himself and his words/actions. Many will be led astray.
How does one discern? Continued prayer for this Gift should be first, then discernment to follow--in my opinion:
1) Does the mystic ask for money, or seek financial support, or accept it in turn for visits to a parish or retreat? If so, they are not from God.
2) Does the mystic reject any DOCTRINE? They are not from God if they do.
3) Is their focus on fear rather than Mercy, prayer and the Sacraments? They are not from God.

...for the person who rejected the anonymous mystic, beware. You may be condemning someone who seeks only to redirect from themselves, due to the VERY fact that Internet and mass media could place focus on the cult of person vs the mission he or she has been called to do.
As scripture says, "If this is of man, it will destroy itself, however if it is from God, you risk fighting against God, Himself".

Finally, I say this. Pray, discern and do not speak in open condemnation. St Bernadette, St Padre Pio...almost all the great mystics of the Church have suffered at the hands of condemning busybodies. It is best to stay silent, keeping eyes open. If it is of God, one will know by the FRUITS.
Pax et Bonum!

Erin said...

Am I the only one who does not believe any of this? As far as I'm concerned, she was really pregnant. Giving birth alone and then 'losing' the child sounds just a little bit too convenient for my taste.

I think she made the entire story up because of her loss of popularity and credibility.

Spiritual Matters said...

Hi Luis & Glenn,

I thought incubus and succubus are demons having intercourse with humans. Although, they are spirits, these demons assume a body to attack people like St. Raphael assuming a physical body to help Tobit. There had really been attacks by such demons, they just want humans to sin, there is no actual pleasure for them in the act but the sin itself. Malleus Malifecarum is somewhat worth reading.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Okay... Glancing through the comments here I see where someone writes about a book "mysterious secrets of the dark kingdom" by Phillip Timmons being full of errors. I've read this book, and if you know of any such errors please enlighten me. Share the knowledge and the love, thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, we ask for the gift of discernment and also remember that Apostle John clearly says that "Who is the liar except one who says that Jesus is not the Christ?" (1 John 2:27).
This is a true way of testing the spirits, because the evil one (and his cohorts) will never acknowledge that anyone in human flesh is capable of living right, much more wiping away the sins of all mankind as Jesus Christ did.

Anonymous said...

i wouldnt trust this lady with anything

Anonymous said...

the irony here is even her demonic experiences and so forth, although clearly based in negativity, greed, and evil - still must have helped many believe that the spiritual world of christianity is in fact real....

food for thought

Pete said...

Thank you Glen for this wonderful story of redemption. It is for this very reason that I accept only mystics verified and approved by the church, and why I choose not to accept any "new" apparitions such as Medjugorje.

Anthony Loreto said...

You may want to seriously consider taking these demons' names out of the article. -Pax Christi

Glenn Dallaire said...


I see that heere in the comments section there have been a couple of suggestions to remove the names of the demons from this article.

In considering this request I call to mind the fact that in the Roman Ritual of Exorcism which has been used for centuries by the Catholic church, one of the initial parts of the Rite calls for the priest--in the holy Name of Jesus and by the power of His Church--to request the names of each of the demons present, and thus compelling the demons to reveal themselves by the power and authority of Christ an His Church. The reason for this is that Jesus Himself requested the names of the demons from the persons who were oppressed by demons. (see Mark 5:8-9 for example)
So, following Jesus example, the Roman Ritual requires exorcists to obtain the name(s) of the demon(s) which lessens their power, because they like to hide in darkness, and flee from the light. Also by obtaining their name (and often their kind), this can often give indications on how to combat and remove them.
May God bless all who visit this website,
-Glenn Dallaire

Dennison Abraham said...

Dear Glenn,
BLESSED BE GOD, BLESSED BE JESUS.
Thanks for the article.
I have been experiencing strong yearning to learn exorcism for several days.

Is that allowed for a catholic other than Priests to perform exorcism ?

Once again thanking you for your helpful articles

May God bless you
Dennison Abraham

Glenn Dallaire said...


Hi Dennison,
Thank you for your kind comments.

To reply to your question, you are correct that only priests have the authority from Jesus to cast out demons, and even more specifically, only priests who have been appointed by their Bishop to be an exorcist can validly perform an exorcism. In fact, as you probably are aware, numerous exorcists have pointed out the very grave spiritual dangers in attempting to perform an exorcism for those priests who are not authorised by their Bishop to do so.

In fact, at times it can literally be a matter of life and death for the priest attemting to perform an exorcism. This is revelaed for example in the book "Hostage to the Devil" by Fr. Malachi Martin. For sure, the gravity of battling with the powers of evil is something not to be taken lightly.

May God bless you and your loved ones,
-Glenn Dallaire

Anonymous said...

Hello all,
I respectfully add that it is true that exorcisms are highly dangerous and the exorcist must be holy, ascetical, highly trained, and have a proper diagnosis, proper authorization and approval from their bishop as stated by the late Fr. Malachi Martin, and currently living Fr. Gabriel Amorth. However, it is not entirely true that only priests can do an exorcism. Fr. Malachi re-affirmed this when he was a guest on Art Bell’s talk radio show regarding exorcism when a caller asked him this question. Fr. Malachi admitted that this was the teaching of the church but that it might also be possible that God, in his mercy, would permit other people to have the ability of deliverance, even in non-Catholic churches. However, the non-Catholic Christians, although they are expelling in Jesus’ name will still have a more difficult result without the sacraments and recourse to the intercession of The Woman who will crush the head of the serpent (Mother of Jesus). The proof in Fr. Malachi’s assertion can also be found in scripture Mark 9:38. Not to mention that it is a widely known fact that many priests and bishops are reluctant to have anything to do with exorcism or do not believe in it, which really displeases Our Lord. So who will help all of the thousands of people in distress especially when demonic possession & obsession are increasing exponentially as the above exorcists have said? In other words, the ordinary way that Our Lord has ordained of saving a soul from possession is through his priests but the extraordinary way, permitted by God, can be through a lay person. A lay person, if they truly think they feel a calling to this must consult a highly trained and experienced priest and also their local bishop before attempting anything.
Mark 9:38
John answered him, saying: Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbade him. [38] But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For there is no man that doth a miracle in my name, and can soon speak ill of me. [39] For he that is not against you, is for you.

BrR said...

Hi - the church pictured is actually the Royal Parish of San Gines in Madrid, rather than the convent.

God Bless,

Br R

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a true story about St. Philip of Neri. The Pope had heard about a nun like this having ecstasies, and asked St. Philip to investigate.

He was dressed rather shabbily, and got his boots really muddy, as it was wet outside.

When he got to the parlor of the monastery, that nun was there, and he asked her to reach down and pull off his muddy boots.

She was very offended, as if to say, "How dare you ask a holy person like myself to do such a menial task?"

St. Philip left and reported back to the Pope; "There is nothing genuine here for there is no humility."

True divine love brings in its wake a genuine (not affected) humbleness which desires to remain hidden.

Glenn Dallaire said...


Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for sharing this wonderful story about St Phillip Neri. It is a real lesson for all of us.

Best wishes and may God bless you and your loved ones,
-Glenn Dallaire

Glenn Dallaire said...

Since a couple of people have commented here and through email regarding the publication of the names of the demons in this article, I thought I would respond with my personal justification for doing so.

The short answer is I opted to publish the names of the demons associated with Sr Magdalena of the Cross because it may perhaps be helpful for someone at some point in the future. As many who read these comments may well know, a very important part of the official Roman Rite of Exorcism is for the exorcist to obtain from the possessing demon(s) their names. By obtaining their name(s), this gives the exorcist--who represents Jesus in union with the Church--a certain power over the demon, and by doing so would thus be able to command the demon by name, using of course another Name--and this one a most powerful and holy Name--the most holy Name of Jesus.

As precedence for this we can recall in the Gospels (Luke 8:30 and Mark 5:9) when Jesus confronted the possessed man, His first question to the demons possessing him was: "What is your name?" to which the demons replied "Legion, for we are many."

And so, it is my personal opinion that it is better to publish the names of the two demons involved in this case, then to leave them anonymous, because who knows--perhaps it may be helpful for someone at some point in the future. -Just my .02 cents.

-Glenn Dallaire, website host.

Mike Hurcum said...

Demons can in some way have some kind of intercourse with humans. for a little while I had something beside me in bed. Different creatures that smelt and spoke in "beautiful" seductive accents. I just would not turn to face them and used a knowledge of prayer to send them away. I we are fortunate to have a vocation for prayer which we can turn into a life of prayer, we can resist all the blandishment of filth. Not easily but the life of prayer causes, if we accept it, a great strength of resistance, fueled by Grace. We have inn us a great well of strength which we must and should develop. It is the Grace of God that comes from the Sacraments of the Catholic Church it is held in the very center of our hearts, the inner chamber of our soul. To reach it and use it the Sacrament of Penance and its very frequent use is the righteous energy that drives it

FDS said...

In response to Donna who was confused that Magdalena made a pact at the age of five. My understanding is that the devil started "grooming" her at the age of five, appearing as that beautiful man, etc...

The pact was made around the age of 17. (1544-40= 1504; she was born in 1487)

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