The series was commissioned by Isabella Clara Eugenia (d. 1633), Governess of the Southern Netherlands and daughter of Philip II, King of Spain, from her court painter Peter Paul Rubens.
Upon the death of her husband Archduke Albert in 1621 Isabella withdrew from public life and lived at Descalzas Reales, a convent in Spain reserved for the highest rank of the aristocracy. The tapestries, with the series comprising no less than 20 panels, were given to the convent to decorate its church. The Governess' set was finished by July 1628 and remains to this day in the convent. The series was designed with the church in mind and the tapestries were destined for specific spaces with The Eucharist Vanquishing the Heathen Sacrifices meant for the upper tier. Interestingly Rubens conceived an illusionary architecture that would replace the original interior of the church and that would create the illusion of angels hanging a tapestry within a tapestry.
Isabella specifically requested that the cartoons were returned to her upon completion of the series and they were transferred to her palace, where they are recorded in 1645. No copies of the tapestries were made by the original weavers. The tapestries only appear to have been re-woven after 1650, probably copied from cartoons the scores of engravings that were made of the tapestries in the convent, and commissioned by the van der Hecke workshop. Tapestries from this series can be found with Frans (d. 1675) and Jan Frans van der Hecke's signatures and must have been woven between 1650 and 1710. Larger sets survive today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, the Cathedral in Toledo, the Church of Oncala and the Cathedral in Cologne.