Mission and Ecstasy

Mission and Ecstasy

Magnus Lundberg

Mission and Ecstasy: Contemplative Women and Salvation in Colonial Spanish America and the Philippines

Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Mission Research, 2015.

The book is about religious women’s alleged contributions to others’ salvation in mid- and late colonial Spanish America and the Philippines, a subject that has been little studied in previous research. In this investigation, special emphasis is put on aspects of the colonial gender relations that have bearing on the intricate relationships between the apostolic and contemplative forms of religious life as presented in colonial texts by and about these women. The majority of them were nuns, who lived a life in enclosure, a fact that in a most concrete way constrained the physical mobility normally seen as a presupposition for apostolic endeavours.

Despite the constrictions of space and agency that were related to their female gender, many women in the Spanish colonial empire, whether nuns or other contemplatives, were said to have functions in the missionary enterprise. As a consequence of their love of God and neighbour, they felt a vocation for missionary work, they prayed and suffered for the salvation of others, they taught and counselled people who came to them with their religious and moral queries, and some claimed that they were transported in spirit to the mission frontiers where they carried out similar work as the male missionaries, albeit in a supernatural way.

It is available in full text (PDF) here:

Here you can order a printed copy

Alonso de Montúfar

Alonso de Montúfar

Magnus Lundberg

Unification and Conflict. The Church Politics of Alonso de Montúfar OP, Archbishop of Mexico, 1554-1572

Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research, 2002, 268 pp.


Traducción al español por Alberto Carrillo Cázares

Unificación y conflicto. La gestión episcopal de Alonso de Montúfar, O. P., Arzobispo de México, 1554-1572,

Zamora, Michoacán: El Colegio de Michoacán, 2009, 303 p.

My doctoral dissertation (defended at Lund University in 2002) focuses on Archbishop Alonso de Montúfar OP (ca. 1489-1572). It seeks to explore two decades of sixteenth century Mexican Church History mainly through the study of documents found in Spanish and Mexican archives. Born outside Granada in Southern Spain, just after the conquest from the Muslims, Alonso de Montúfar assumed teaching and leading positions within the Dominican order.

After more than forty years as a friar, Montúfar was elected archbishop of Mexico and resided there from 1554 until his death eighteen years later. From the 1520s onwards, many missionaries went from Spain to Mexico in order to christianise the native inhabitants and to administer the church’s sacraments to them. Many of the missionaries were members of three mendicant orders: the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and the Augustinians.

Alonso de Montúfar’s time as archbishop can be seen as a period of transition and a time that was filled with disputes on how the church in Mexico should be organised in the future. Montúfar wanted to strengthen the role of the bishops in the church organisation. He also wanted to improve the finances of the diocesan church and promote a large number of secular clerics to work in the Indian ministry. All this meant that he became involved in prolonged and very animated disputes with the friars, the members of the cathedral chapter, and the viceroy of Mexico. One chapter of this dissertation is devoted to a detailed study of Archbishop Montúfar’s role in the early cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tepeyac, which today has become of the most important Marian devotions in the world.

The dissertation is available in fulltext here

In 2009, the Spanish translation of the book was published by the Colegio de Michoacán