Ana Monteagudo Ponce de Leon was born in the Peruvian city of Arequipa in 1602. When she was 14 her father withdrew her from school for marriage, but she protested bitterly because she wanted to become a Dominican nun. Ana had a vision of St Catherine of Siena, who showed her a white habit and said: “Ana, my child, I have prepared this habit for you. Leave all to God. Nothing will be wanting to you.”

Ana fled to the monastery of St Catherine, prompting her father to disinherit her and refuse to provide her with a dowry. Eventually her brother, who was a priest, provided her with the means to live.

Visions and miracles

Once she entered the monastery, Ana was elevated from novice mistress to sacristan and prioress. She set about reforming her order, and was admired among Peruvians because of her gifts of prophecy, supernatural discernment, visions and miracles. She was regularly sought out for prayers and counsel.

In 1665 King Philip IV of Spain, a Dominican tertiary, died and appeared to Ana after she had prayed to him. He told her he had entered heaven due to her intercessory prayers.

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