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Spanish Ecclesiastical Territory - The Monastery  of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas de Burgos
The Abbess of the Cistercian Monastery near Burgos, was known as: noble Lady, the superior, prelate, and lawful administratrix in spirituals and temporals of the royal abbey. She exercised an unlimited secular authority over more than 60 lordships and villages, held her own courts, granted letters dismissorial for ordination, and issued licenses authorizing priests, within the limits of her abbatial jurisdiction, to hear confessions, to preach, and to engage in the cure of souls. She was privileged to confirm Abbesses, to impose censures, and to convoke synods.  At a General Chapter of the Cistercians held in 1189, she was made Abbess General of the Order for the Kingdom of Leon and Castile, with the privilege of convoking annually a general chapter at Burgos. Her quasi-Episcopal powers were abolished in 1873.

The mitred abbess (also called abbess-nullius or abbess-general (Abadesa General) was known by the title of "noble lady, the superior, prelate, and lawful administratrix in spirituals and temporals of the said royal abbey, and of all the contents, churches, and hermitages of its filiation, of the villages and places under its jurisdiction, seigniory, and vassalage, in virtue of Bulls and Apostolical concessions, with plenary jurisdiction, privative, quasi-episopal, nullius diacesis whose priviledges were confirmed in 1628 by the bull Sedes Apostolicae of Urban VIII. By royal decree, the abbess-nullius held unlimited secular authority over fifty villages, held civil and criminal courts, granted letters dismissorial for ordination and licensed local clergy. This situation persisted as late as 1873, and seems to have not been particularly problematic for Rome. Bear in mind the Spanish crown itself had a fair amount of power over the local Church.

The monestary was a congregation constisting of the monastaries of  Torquemada, Gradefes, Carrizo, Perales, San Andrés de Arroyo, Santa Maria de Otero, Cañas y Fuencaliente, Villamayor de los Montes, Renuncio, Barría y Avia and the temporal territory of Vileña

The Abbess was Head of the Lordships of Albillos, Alcucero, Arkanzón, Arroyak, Arrunquera, Arto, Barrio, Bercial, Can de muñó, Candasnos, Cardeñadijo, Castril de Peones, Cilleruelo de Hannoverquez, Congosto, Escobilla, Estepar, Fresno de Rodilla, Galarde, Gatón, Herramel, Herrín, La Llana, Lena, Loranquillo, Madrigalejo del Monte, Marcilla, Montornero, Olmillos, Ontiñena, Palanzuelos de la Sierrra, Piedrahita, Quintana de Loranco, Quintanilla de San García, Sargentes de Loxa, Requena, Revenga, Revilla del Campo, Revillagodos, Rivayaz, Robredo, San Mamés, San Memel, San Quirce de Humada, Saniuste, Santa Cruz de Juarros, Santa Lecina, Santa María de Invierno, Sargentes de Loxa, Tablada, Tardajos, Tinieblas, Torralba, Torre Sandino, Urrez, Valdazo, Villa Gonzalo de Pedernales, Villabáscones, Villaneueva, Villanueva de los Infantes, Villarmejo, Yarto and Zalduendo

And Head of the dependent Parishes of Bercial and Lorilla

The Prioress of the Monestary held the title of Maestra de Sixena and was Head of the Lordships of Aguas, Paul and Urgel and the Dependent Monstery Cervera. Those positions was also abolished in 1873.

Also see Spain Heads, Spain Substates and Princess-Abbesses

Alternative titles are: Señora Abadesa, Abbess-General, Abadesa Presidenta de la Congregación or Señora y Mayora de Las Huelgas

Perpetual Abbesses (Elected for life):

1187-90 Misol    

1190-1205 María Gutiérrez I

1205-30 Sancha García   

1230-31 (Acting) Inés Laynez
1238-53 General Abbess
She was Prioress (Priora de la Comunidad) and acting until Maria Pérez de Guzmán was elected as successor of Sancha Garcia.

1231-38 María Pérez de Guzmán 

1253-60 Elvira Fernández 

1260-62 Eva    

1262-66 Urraca Alfonso I 

1266-71 Urraca Martínez   

1271-73 Urraca Díez   

1273-87  María Gutiérrez II

1287-95 Berenguela López  

1295-1326 Urraca Alfonso II

1326-32 María González de Agüero
She commissioned the copying of the Las Huelgas Codex. 

1332-51 María Rodríguez de Rojas 

1351-61 Urraca Fernández de Herrera 

1361-67 Leonor Fernández Barba 

1367-80 Estefanía de la Fuente Almexí  (De Fuente Almejí)

1380-96 Urraca de Herrera  

1396-1430 Urraca Díez de Orozco 

1430-33 Juana de Astúñiga 

1433-36 María de Sandoval  

1436-57  María de Guzmán  

1457-59 María de Almenárez  

1459-77 Juana de Guzmán  

1477-86 María de Herrera  

1486-99 Leonor de Mendoza 

1499-1525  Teresa de Ayala  

1525-29  Leonor de Sosa   

1529-36 Leonor Sarmiento  

1536-39 and 1543-55 Isabel de Mendoza y Navarra 
During her first period in office she was "Governor" (Gobernadora).

1539-43 María de Aragón  

1555-66 Catalina Sarmiento 

1566-70 Inés Manrique de Lara y Castro

1570-82 Francisca Manrique de Lara y Valencia y Valencia

1582-87 Leonor de Castilla   

Triennial Abbesses (Elected for periods of 3 years with possibility of reelection)

1587-90 and 1596-99 Inés Enríquez      

1590-93 Beatriz Manrique de Lara y Valencia   
Died in office.

1593-96 and 1599-1601 Juana de Ayala    

1601-04 María de Navarra y de la Cueva  

1604-08 Francisca de Villamízar Cabeza de Vaca 

1608-11 Juana de Leyva y Guevara

1611-29 Ana de Austria 
She was the natural daughter of Don Juan de Austria, the victorious general of Lepanto; she is well noted for her indirect involvement in a conspiration of an alleged king Sebastian of Portugal. She was named Perpetual Abbess (In office for life). Dilectae in Christo Filiae Anne ab Austria Abbatissae Monasterii Monialium de Las Huelgas propre et extramuros Civitatis Burgensis Nullius Dioecesis, Ordinis Cisterciensis.
   
1629-33 Ana Maria Manrique de Lara  

1633-36 and 1639-41 Catalina de Arellano y Zúñiga  

1636-39 Magdalena Enríquez Manrique de Ayala 
Of the Counts of Paredes de Nava

1641-44 Francisca de Beaumont de Navarra

1644-45 Ana María de Salinas    

1645-48 Jerónima de Navarra y de la Cueva

1648-51 and 1656-59 Jerónima de Góngora

1651-53 and 1659-62 Isabel de Osorio y Leyva
Of the Counts of Trastámara and Marqueses de Astorga
 

1653-56 Antonia Jacinta de Navarra y de la Cueva (Venerable) 
She lived (1602-56)  

1662-65 and 1677-80 Inés de Mendoza y Miño   

1665-69 and 1672-77 Isabel María de Navarra y de la Cueva  

1669-72 and 1680-83 Magdalena de Mendoza y Miño 

1683-86 Felipa Bernada Ramírez de Arellano  

1686-89 and 1695-96 Melchora Bravo de Hoyos  

1689-92 and 1696-98 Teresa Orense     

1692-95, 1701-04, 1707-10 and 1714-15 Ana Jerónima Guerrero y Contreras 

1698-1701 and 1710-11 Ana Inés de Osio y Mendoza   

1704-07 and 1711-14 Teresa Josefa de Lanuza   

1715-18 Teresa Baradán de Oxinalde   

1718-20 Inés de Osio y Mendoza
Gobernadora until 1720

1720-23 and 1726-29 María Magdalena de Villarroel Cabeza de Baca 
We, Doña Mará Magdalena de Villarroel Cabeza de Baca, by the grace of god and the Holy Apostolic Sea, Abbess of the Royal Monestary of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas, the of the City of Burgoes, the Cistercian Order,...., Mother and Legitimate Superior of the Hospital of the King and its compounds and the convents, churches, erimitages and places with their trust and obedicnece, with omnimodial jurisdiction, privativa, Quasi Episcopal, Nillius, etc....to...

1723-26 and 1729-32 Ana María Helguero y Albarado  

1732-35 Clara Antonia de Helguero y Albarado 

1735-38 and 1741-42 María Teresa Baradán de Oxinalde  

1738-41 and 1745-48 Isabel Rosa de Orense   

1742-45 Lucía de Mioño    

1748-51 and 1754-56 Josefa Carrillo y Ocampo   

1751-54 and 1759-62 María Bernarda de Hoces y Córdoba

1756-59 Josefa Claudia de Verrio 

1762-65, 1768-71 and 1783-86 María Benita de Oñate   

1765-68 Rosalía de Chaves   

1771-74 Angela de Hoces    

1774-77, 1780-83 and 1786-89 María Teresa de Chaves y Valle  

1777-80 María Ana de Acedo y Torres  

1789-92 and 1795-98 María Teresa de Oruña

1792-95 María Rascón     

1798-1801 Micaela de Osorio  
Her family can trace it's origin back to before 600, and later held a number of Countly and Margravetely titles.

1801-05 Francisca Montoya    

1805-15 Bernarda de Orense    
Because of the French Invasion she had to abandon the Community 1812-15 as the first Abbess ever.

1815-18 and 1827-30 María Lorenza de Orense   

1818-21 María Manuela de Lizana   

1821-24 María Francisca Benita de los Ríos  

1824-27 and 1830-33 María Tomasa Orense Rábago 

1833-36 and 1838-44 María Benita Rascón    

1836-38 and 1847-50 María Manuela Montoya  

1844-47 María Teresa Bonifaz Bustamante  

1850-53 María Concepción Casilda de Rozas  

1853-56 María Joaquina Calderón   
We, Lady, by the grace of god and the Holy Apostolic Sea, Abbess of the Royal Monasterio of Huelgas, the surroundings of the City of Burgos, Superior Lady Prelate (Senora Superia prelada), Mother, and legitime spirital administrator of the mentioned Royal Monasterio, its royal Hospital, its filiate Convents, Churches and Ermitages, places and bulls, Apostolic Concessions and Royal Privilleges, omnimode, Jurisdiction, Privative, quasi Episcopal, nullius diocese, hereby decree...

1856-58 María Rosario Tagle   

1858-61 María Antonia González de Agüero  

1861-64 and 1883-84 María Bernarda Ruiz Puente   

1864-67, 1876-79 and 1884-87 María Bernarda Tagle de Quevedo  

1867-70 María Benita Rodríguez  

1870-76 and 1879-83 María del Pilar Ugarte    
She protested against the abolision of her quasi episcopal and other ancient religious and temporal privilleges, but the Archbishop of Burgos made a judgment stating that the decision was correct.

1887-90 María Virtudes Velarde  

1890-94 María Angeles Fernández Grande  

1894-1900, 1903-07, 1910-15 and 1916-19 María Teresa Zabarce y Aramburu  

1900-03 María Nicolasa Ruiz Puente   

1907-10 and 1925-28 María Filomena Dorronsoro Zuazola 

1915-16 and 1919-25 María Gloria Calderón   
During her first term in office she Presided as Prioress.

1928-32, 1935-38 and 1941-47 Esperanza de Mallagaray   

1932-35 María Rey     

1938-41 Amparo Abad    

1947-72... Maria del Rosario Díaz de la Guerra

Unitil 2007 María del Mar

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Last update 24.04.14