Tejeda, Leonor de (1574–c. 1640)

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Tejeda, Leonor de (1574–c. 1640)

Leonor de Tejeda (b. 1574; d. ca. 1640), educator and nun. Born in Córdoba to a prominent conquistador family, Leonor de Tejeda was married to general Manuel de Fonseca y Contreras when she was twenty years old. While her husband was serving as lieutenant governor of Buenos Aires (1594–1598), Leonor began to see a need for an institution to harbor elite women with a religious vocation. When her husband returned to Córdoba, she began a school for gentlewomen in her home. The childless couple soon petitioned the crown to allow them to undertake the foundation of the first convent in Córdoba. Widowed in 1612, Tejeda continued to use her fortune and her influence with the bishop to press for the convent, which was finally created on the site of her home in 1613. Among the first group of sixteen women who entered the convent of Santa Catalina de Sena was Tejeda, who took the name of Mother Catalina de Sena and served as prioress until 1627. In 1628 she moved to the city's newly founded second convent, that of Santa Teresa de Jesús, where she served as prioress until 1637. She returned to the Sena convent sometime before her death.

See alsoWomen .


Enrique Udaondo, Diccionario biográfico colonial argentino (1945), pp. 870-872.

Additional Bibliography

Brown, Jonathan C. A Brief History of Argentina. New York: Facts on File, 2003.

Lewis, Daniel K. The History of Argentina. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.

Rock, David. Argentina,: 1562–1812: From Spanish Colonization to the Falklands War. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

                                 Susan M. Socolow