Miraculous Literacy and Healing: Spanish Nuns in Colonial Mexico and the Philippines


Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 12:30pm

Miraculous Literacy and Healing: Spanish Nuns in Colonial Mexico and the Philippines

A Talk by Professor Sarah E. Owens, College of Charleston

Thursday September 19, 12:30-1:30 pm, Social Sciences 128

            In 1620 a small group of Spanish nuns set forth on an odyssey that would take them from their home convent in Spain to Mexico and then on to the Philippines. Although the Spanish painter Diego de Velázquez immortalized the leader of this group in a portrait that now hangs in the Museum of the Prado, the other nuns remain virtually unknown. The main source material for this talk comes from an unpublished manuscript written by Sor Ana de Cristo (1565-1636) about the journey and the life of Sor Jerónima de la Asunción, the founder of the first convent in Asia. Not only does Sor Ana’s text offer the contemporary reader unique insight into the world of travel and adventure across several continents during the early 1600s, but it also speaks to literacy and healing within monastic communities.

Sarah E. Owens is Professor of Spanish at the College of Charleston. Her research focuses on the writings of religious women of early modern Spain and Latin America. Her articles have been published in Colonial Latin American Historical Review, Literature and Medicine, Hispanic Journal among others. She is the editor and translator of the award winning Journey of Five Capuchin Nuns (2009), and  lead editor of Women of the Iberian Atlantic (2012). Her talk is based on a current book project on “17th-Century Spanish Nuns in the Philippines,” that  is funded by a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Humanities.


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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