Juana Inés de La Cruz, Sor: General Commentary

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SOURCE: Schones, Dorothy. "Some Obscure Points in the Life of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz." Modern Philology 24, no. 2 (November 1926): 141-62.

In the following essay, Schones addresses some of the central questions about Sor Juana's life, including her motivation to join a religious order, her name and its bearing on her colonial loyalties, and her decision to stop writing after her "Respuesta."


The biography of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is yet to be written. Though much has appeared on the subject, many things still remain unexplained. Material of the period in which she lived is very limited. The fact that she was a nun made her figure less in the works of her contemporaries than would otherwise have been the case, and the period of literary stagnation following her death contributed still further to the oblivion in which she rested. When interest in Sor Juana finally revived in Mexico, it was already too late to preserve the documents that existed in the convent of St. Jerome and elsewhere. The laws of reform and the final closing of convents and monasteries scattered books of inestimable value. It is possible, however, even at this remote date to glean a few facts from the meager material that has come down to us. The present article is an attempt to answer in the light of contemporary books and manuscripts a few questions asked over and over again by her many biographers.

One question often raised is: Why did Sor Juana go into a convent? Why did she not remain in the world where she was admired for her beauty and her mental attainments? It will be remembered that Juana became lady-in-waiting to the Marchioness of Mancera, whose husband was the Viceroy of Mexico from 1664 to 1673. Endowed with a pleasing personality and gifted with unusual talents, she quickly attracted powerful friends at court, and met the outstanding people of her time. One would naturally expect that her life would here reach its climax in a blaze of glory. But in 1667, when not quite sixteen, she suddenly retired from the court and entered a convent. Why?

Some of her biographers believe that she must have taken this step because of an unfortunate love affair. Amado Nervo says:

Dicen … que cierto caballero … se le adentró en el corazón, logrando inspirarle un gran afecto; añaden unos, que este gentilhombre estaba muy alto para que Juana, hidalga, pero pobre, pudiese ascender hasta él; otros, que se murió en flor cuando iba ya a posarse sobre sus manos unidas la bendición que ata para siempre. Juana de Asbaje, inconsolable, buscó alivio en el estudio y en el retiro.1

This romantic legend has long been connected with Juana's name. The story is based on nothing more substantial than the fact that her works contain a large number of love lyrics. This is insufficient evidence on which to build a case.

A few have accepted Juana's own explanation of the decisive change in her life and have declared that she entered a convent to find a place where she could devote herself to her intellectual interests. It must be remembered that she was one of the most unusual personalities developed in the New World, and is hardly to be judged by ordinary standards. José Vigil, one of the first to appreciate her remarkable personality, says:

Muchos se han ocupado en conjeturar que la resolución de Sor Juana para haber adoptado la vida monástica, puede haber procedido de un amor desgraciado.…Yo creo, sin embargo, que tal opinión se apoya en un conocimiento imperfecto del carácter de la escritora mexicana.

Yo veo en Sor Juana uno de esos espíritus superiores,…queson incapaces de sucumbir a debilidades vulgares.2

According to her own confession, she had been, from the age of three, a most enthusiastic devotee of learning. She had devoured any and every book that came within her reach. At the age of fifteen she had already established a reputation as the most learned woman in Mexico. That she sought refuge in her books because of a broken heart is impossible. It was because of her learning that she gained a position at the viceregal court. Her books were her first love, and they were probably one of the reasons that impelled her to seek the seclusion of a cloister.

One looks in vain for a religious motive underlying this important step in her life.3 She even hesitated because she was afraid that convent life would interfere with her intellectual labors. She herself says that she did not wish any

… ocupacion obligatoria, que embaraçasse la libertad de mi estudio, ni rumor de Comunidad, que impidiesse el sossegado silencio de mis Libros. Esto me hizo vacilar algo en la determinacion, hasta que alumbrandome personas Doctas, de que era tentacion, la vencì con el favor Divino.…4

The biographer of her confessor testifies that she hesitated before taking the step.

Se sintió llamada de Dios al retiro … mas retardabale el parecerle cõdicion indispensable á las obligaciones de esse estado, aver de abandonar los libros, y estudios, en que desde sus primeros años tenia colocados todos sus caríños. Consultó su vocació, y temores con el Venerable Padre Antonio Nuñes.…Ya tenia el Padre noticia de las prendas, y dones singulares, que avia el cielo depositado en aquella niña … y … aprobò … la vocacion … animandola á sacrificar á Dios aquellas primeras flores de sus estudios, si conociesse, que le avian de ser estorvo à la perfeccion.…5

Juana knew that the religious state might interfere with her labors. In spite of this fact, however, she finally decided to become a nun. There must have been, then, another and a more powerful reason that caused her to take the veil. What was it?

Most of Juana's biographers have examined this point in her life with the eyes of the present instead of with the eyes of the past. To understand Juana's motives one must go back to the period in which she lived, and study the social conditions of her time. She lived in a most licentious age. A careful study of contemporary writers shows that moral conditions in Mexico were very bad. The presence of many races, of adventurers, of loose women and worse men brought about conditions that were possibly unequaled elsewhere in the world. How bad they were the following entry in a contemporary chronicle shows:

En 12 murió el Br. Antonio Calderón de Benavides, natural de Méjico, uno de los más singulares clérigos que ha tenido este arzobispado: sobre ser muy galán, de muy linda cara y muy rico, fué constante opinión que se conservó virgen.6

Had this not been an astonishing fact, the chronicler would not have taken the pains to record it. The male element of the population was under no restraint (even the priesthood was no exception) and roamed at will, preying on society. Not only immorality, but depravity and bestiality reigned. Things came to such a pass that the Inquisition brought the attention of the civil government to this state of affairs. In a letter written by the inquisitors in 1664 we read:

… veemos de tres ó cuatro años á esta parte en las causas que han ocurrido, principalmente de religiosos, que se halla comprehendido en este crimen mucho número de personas eclesiásticas y seculares … si á este cáncer no se pone remedio,… parece muy dificultoso que después lo pueda tenar … si el Santo Oficio no lo remedia, la justicia seglar no parece que ha de ser suficiente.7

The civil government, however, refused to interfere. The church was therefore forced to devise ways and means of combating this evil. If they could not fight it through the men, they could fight it through the women. By building convents and houses of refuge and putting women in them they hoped to improve matters somewhat, and protect women at the same time.

In all of this the attitude of the church toward women was medieval. They were looked upon as an ever present source of temptation to man. Ecclesiastics who did not wish to be tempted avoided them. The biographer of Francisco de Aguiar y Seixas, Archbishop of Mexico from 1682 to 1698, says:

… ponderaba [su Illma] quã necessario era para conservar la castidad el recato de la vista; encargaba que no se visitassen mugeres sin grave causa, y aun entonces, quando era necessaria la visita, no se les avia de mirar à la cara … le oymos decir algunas vezes, que si supiera avian entrado algunas mugeres en su casa, avia de mandar arrancar los ladrillos que ellas avian pisado.…

Y este genero de orror, y aversion a las mugeres fue cosa de toda su vida, predicando siempre contra sus visitas, y sus galas.…Tenia por beneficio grande de Dios el aver sido corto de vista.8

Juana's confessor, Antonio Núñez, was just as discreet. His biographer says that his motto was "Con las Señoras gran cautela en los ojos, no dexarme tocar, ni besar la mano, ni mirarlas al rostro, o trage, ni visitar a ninguna.…"And that he might not be tempted, he says: "Por las calles iba sipre con los ojos en el suelo, de la misma manera estaba en las visitas.…Por evitar qualquiera ocasion de que … le tocassen, ò besassen las manos … las llevaba siempre cubiertas con el manteo."9 Many similar instances could be cited.

It was in such a world that Juana grew up. On the one hand, extreme license; on the other, extreme prudery. Out of such a state of society the famous Redondillas were born. Is it not this very attitude and these very conditions that she challenged so boldly in "Hombres necios, que acusáis a la mujer sin razón"? Is it not the terrible dissoluteness of the men of her time that she epitomizes with the words "Juntáis diablo, carne y mundo"?

To remedy this state of affairs, the church began to build recogimientos. Some of these were for mujeres malas; others for widows, orphans, and single women. The Bishop of Puebla, Manuel Fernández de Santa Cruz, built a number of such recogimientos in his diocese, but they would not accommodate all the women clamoring for admission. His biographer writes:

Franqueadas las puertas de su Palacio empezaron à entrar por ellas en busca de su Pastor … muchas mugeres que deseaban guardar intacta la Flor de la pureza, que hasta entonces habian conservado, … pero recelaban timidas perderla ò por ser muy pobres, ò por ser por hermosas, muy perseguidas.10



Victor! Victor! Catherine,
who with enlightenment divine
persuaded all the learned men,
she who with triumph overcame
—with knowledge truly sovereign—
the pride and arrogance profane
of those who challenged her, in vain
Victor! Victor! Victor!
There in Egypt, all the sages
by a woman were convinced
that gender is not of the essence
in matters of intelligence.
Victor! Victor!
   A victory, a miracle;
though more prodigious than the feat
of conquering, was surely that
the men themselves declared defeat.
Victor! Victor!
   How wise they were, these Prudent Men,
acknowledging they were outdone,
for one conquers when one yields
to wisdom greater than one's own.
Victor! Victor!
   Illumination shed by truth
will never by mere shouts be drowned;
persistently, its echo rings,
above all obstacles resounds.
Victor! Victor!
   None of these Wise Men was ashamed
when he found himself convinced,
because, in being Wise, he knew
his knowledge was not infinite.
Victor! Victor!
   It is of service to the Church
that women argue, tutor, learn,
for He Who granted women reason
would not have them uninformed.
Victor! Victor!
   How haughtily they must have come,
the men that Maximin convened,
though at their advent arrogant,
they left with wonder and esteem.
Victor! Victor!
   Persuaded, all of them, with her,
gave up their lives unto the knife:
how much good might have been lost,
were Catherine less erudite!
Victor! Victor!
   No man, whatever his renown,
accomplished such a victory,
and we know that God, through her,
honored femininity.
Victor! Victor!
   Too brief, the flowering of her years,
but ten and eight, the sun's rotations,
but when measuring her knowledge,
who could sum the countless ages?
Victor! Victor!
   Now all her learned arguments
are lost to us (how great the grief).
But with her blood, if not with ink,
she wrote the lesson of her life.
Victor! Victor!
   Tutelar and holy Patron,
Catherine, the Shrine of Arts;
long may she illumine Wise Men,
she who Wise to Saints converts.
Victor! Victor!

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Villancico VI, from "Santa Catarina," 1691. In Poems, Protest, and a Dream: Selected Writings. Edited by Margaret Sayers Peden. New York: Penguin, 1997, p. 189. English translation reprinted from Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Poems. Bilingual Press/Editorial bilingue, 1985.

Of the Bishop's efforts on their behalf the same writer says:

Compuesta ya en la forma dicha la Casa de las recogidas, determinò el Señor Don Manuel aplicar el remedio que le pedia la pureza de pobres nobles, y hermosas Doncellas para su resguardo; y aunque yà en la Ciudad avia un Collegio de Virgines, en que pudo assegurar algunas de las que reconocio en mayor peligro, assi por la corta capacidad de dicho Collegio, como por el numero de las pretendientes, tan crecido, que le viniera estrecho el mas espacioso Claustro, discurriò con su animo generoso, comprar la possession de cierto sitio, para eregir a las Flores de la Virginidad un Collegio; pero como cada dia escuchaban sus atentos oydos mas y mas clamores de pobres Doncellas, se hallò obligado à formarles dos Collegios, ô cerrados Huertos, donde negadas à el examen de la ossadia, conservassen intactos los candòres de su virginal pureza.

De los dos dichos Collegios, como de floridos Huertos, salieron muchas Doncellas a florecer transplantadas en Monasterios religiosos, en que manteniendo el credito de la virtud, subieron cõ presurosos pasos à la cumbre de la perfecciõ; otras sugetandose à las coyundas de el Matrimonio desempeñaron bien la buena educacion.…11

This was the state of affairs in the diocese of Puebla. In Guadalaxara and other places conditions were the same. How about Mexico City? The biographer of Domingo Pérez de Barcía says:

No puede negarse la heroicad, y grandeza de la obra de enclaustrar mugeres, que voluntariamente se retiren, huyendo del Mundo, y sus peligros, para no caer en sus lazos, ni dàr en sus precipios, viendose expuestas, yá por la libertad en que viven, yà por la necessidad en que se hallan à vender su hermosura, à costa de su honestidad, valiendose de sus cuerpos para perdicion de sus almas. De la grandeza de esta obra se via privada esta Ciudad de Mexico, y tan necessitada de ella, quanto se atendia de mugeres mas abastecida, que no pudiendo todas entrar en Monasterios, se lloraban en el siglo en manifiestos peligros.…12

He goes on to say that various attempts were made to establish recogimientos, but lack of funds always prevented the realization of the project. A Jesuit, Luis de San Vitores, even wrote a book on the need of a refugio, and13 finally, with the help of Father Xavier Vidal, a house big enough to accommodate six hundred women was built. But money was lacking for the maintenance of the place, and so Payo Henríquez de Ribera, Archbishop of Mexico from 1668 to 1680, was obliged to give the house to the Bethlemites for a hospital.14

During this time Juana was living at the viceregal court in la publicidad del siglo. She was the talk of the town because of her brilliant attainments. What her situation was she describes clearly in Los empeños de una casa:

Era de mi patria toda
El Objecto venerado
De aquellas adoraciones,
Que forma el comun aplauso,
Llegò la supersticion
Popular à empeño tanto
Que ya adoraban Deydad
El Idolo que formaron.
Que aviendo sido al principio
Aquel culto voluntario,
Llegò despues la costumbre,
Favorecida de tantos,
A hazer como obligatorio,
El festejo cortesano,
Sin temor en los concursos
Defendia mi recato
Con peligro del peligro,
Y con el daño del daño.
Mis padres en mi mesura,
Vanamente assegurados,
Se descuidaron comigo:
Que dictamen tan errado.

She was a curiosity, a veritable monstruo de la naturaleza, and must have been the object of persistent and in many cases unwelcome attentions. If ordinary women were in danger, the beautiful Juana Inés certainly was. To be sure, she had the protection of the Viceroy. But how long would the Marquis of Mancera retain that office? In a change of administration what would be her fate? Her family was poor, and besides, in her day the chimney-corner for the spinster member of the family had not yet been heard of. Moreover, she was a criolla living at a Spanish court. She was therefore at its mercy. That her position was not safe, we may gather from the biography of her confessor:

… el Padre Antonio … aviendo conocido … lo singular de su erudicion junto con no pequeña hermosura, atractivos todos á la curiosidad de muchos, que desearian conocerla, y tendrian por felicidad el cortejarla, solia decir, q no podia Dios embiar asote mayor a aqueste Reyno, que si permitiesse, que Juana Ines se quedara en la publicidad del siglo.16

He goes on to tell why she left the convent of St. Joseph and adds: "… le fue forçoso salir, y buscar otro puerto en donde atendiendo cõ menos peligros de enfermedad … se viesse libre de las muchas olas que la amenazaban."17 Her biographer, Father Calleja, expresses the same idea. She realized, he says, that "… la buena cara de una muger pobre es una pared blanca donde no hay necio, que no quiera echar su borron: que aun la mesura de la honestidad sirve de riesgo, porque ay ojos, que en el yelo deslizan mas: …"18 And she herself says of this step: "… con todo, para la total negacion que tenia al Matrimonio, era lo menos desproporcionado y lo mas decente, que podia elegir en materia de la seguridad … de mi salvacion."19

It was, undoubtedly, necessary for her to retire from public life at court. There was no recogimiento where she might live until she could decide definitely on her future occupation. She was, therefore, practically forced to choose convent life, or be at the mercy of the world. Juana Inés was, perhaps, even lucky to get into a convent, for there was not room for all who applied. With the powerful influence, however, of the Viceroy and of Father Núñez, a haven was found for her. The influence of the latter in this decisive step is not to be overlooked. He it was who finally persuaded her and hastened the ceremony lest the devil should tempt, meanwhile, his beloved Juana Inés.

We may safely conclude that the deep, underlying reason for Juana's retirement from the world is to be found in the social conditions of her time. She was persuaded to take the step, too, in the hope of being somewhat favorably situated for a continuation of her intellectual labors. And when she came under the influence of that powerful norte de la Inquisición, the pious Father Núñez, she accepted his advice and took the veil. That she tried convent life a second time shows what serious and what pressing reasons she had for taking the step.


Another question recently brought to the fore is whether Juana should properly be called Juana de Asbaje or Juana Ramírez. Amado Nervo, writing in 1910, called her Juana de Asbaje. Fernández del Castillo, writing in 1920,20 calls her Juana Ramírez, and insists that this is correct, since she herself signed her name that way. He tries to prove that she was related to the Hernán Cortés family on her mother's side, her mother's name being Isabel Ramírez de Santillana. Speaking of her name, he says:

Sor Juana, según el uso actual, debería de llevar el apellido Asvaje, que era el de su padre,… pero en aquella época cada hijo llevaba, diferente apellido, lo que origina no pocos trastornos en las investigaciones genealógicas; de suerte que, aun cuando le correspondía el apellido Asvaje, como ella firmaba Juana Ramírez, ese es el suyo verdadero, con el que se le debe mencionar, y así consta en su retrato que se conserva en el Museo Provincial de Toledo.…21

The inscription on the picture mentioned reads: "En el siglo fue conocida por D.a Juana Ramirez (por ˜q assi firmaba)."22 A careful study of this document shows that it is incorrect on two points. The author of the inscription goes on to say: "Tomo el Havito de Religiosa en el Convto dl Eximio D.r de la Iglesia S.a Geronimo de esta Ciud. de Mex.co 24 de Feb.o de 1668 a.s a los 17. de su edad.…" This is inaccurate as to her age, for she was only sixteen. Another error in the inscription is the following: "… haviendo vivido 44 años, 5 meses, 5 dias, y 5 horas." It should read: "43 años, 5 meses, etc." It seems possible, therefore, that the writer was also mistaken in regard to her signature. But Fernández del Castillo goes on to say:

Se podría objetar que el retrato de la religiosa que se conserva en Toledo es muy posterior a la muerte de la poetisa, pero habiendo sido sacado según datos tomados del Convento de San Jerónimo en donde vivió, es claro que las religiosas sabrían cual era el verdadero nombre de Sor Juana.23

It is, in fact, more than likely that in the convent of St. Jerome she was always thought of as Juana Ramírez, rather than as Juana de Asbaje. It is a well-known fact that her mother was a criolla and her father a Spaniard (Basque). As Juana Ramírez she was a criolla. As Juana de Asbaje she was Spanish. It is also a well-known fact that in Mexico at that time the only avenues of preferment open to the criollos were the university and the church. In fact, so strong were the criollos becoming in the church during the seventeenth century that by the time of the Marquis of Mancera the Augustinians were demanding that all candidates for admission to the order be native born.24 This caused constant bickering between the two factions. The convent of St. Jerome belonged to the Augustinian order. To enter it, therefore, one had to be a native of New Spain. That such was the case the following passage shows:

Estaba yá para tomar el Avito cierta doncella, en el Convento de S. Geronimo, y no teniendo la dote para ello, entraba con nombramiento de algunos, que en dicho convento ay dotados; pero al fin, se advirtiò faltarle a esta doncella una de las condiciones, que la fundacion pedia; conviene, a saber, el que sean nacionales de Mexico, y esta no lo era; por lo qual huvosele de impedir su entrada.…25

When one considers that this was a foundation for criollos, that the hatred between the natives and the governing class was increasing, and that toward the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth this hatred was becoming more and more open, one can well understand why the nuns of St. Jerome might have given out that Sor Juana was Juana Ramírez. To date, however, no such signature has been found.

There is evidence, on the other hand, that while she was at the viceregal court she went by the name of Asbaje. In 1668 Diego de Ribera published a poem by Doña Iuana Ynés de Asuage.26 In November of the preceding year Juana had left the convent of St. Joseph. If she was known as Juana de Asbaje in 1668 she must have been so called before she entered the convent in August, 1667. In other words, this was certainly her name at court. It was, undoubtedly, to her advantage to go by her Spanish name as lady-in-waiting to the Vicereine. Whether she had been known as Juana Ramírez before she went to court nobody knows. It is possible that the criollos knew her by that name. However, in the absence of more definite proof favoring the name Ramírez it seems preferable to continue to call her Asbaje since we know that she actually went by that name in 1668.

An easier question to answer is: Which name did she herself prefer? In the Libro de Prophessiones of the convent of St. Jerome she wrote: "Yo soror Jua ynes de la chruz hija legima de don po de asvaje y bargas machuca Y de isabel rramires, etc."27 It will be noticed that she signs her father's name in full. This seems to indicate that at that time she preferred that name. Vargas Machuca is an honored name in the annals of Spanish arms, and the name Asbaje aligned her with the Basques, who must be credited with notable achievements in the New World. Was she a criolla or a Spaniard at heart? Her works show both tendencies. With their publication, however, she seems to have put herself definitely on the Spanish side. Her second volume, which appeared in Seville in 1692, was dedicated to Don Juan de Orue y Arbieto, a Basque. In that dedication she says: "… siendo, como soy Rama de Vizcaya, y Vm. de sus nobilissimas familias de las Casas de Orue y Arbieto, vuelvan los frutos à su tronco, y los arroyuelos de mis discursos tributen sus corrientes al Mar à qui reconocen su Orig." In some of her works she even used the Basque dialect. She was proud of her Basque ancestry. This, too, argues in favor of the name Asbaje.


Another question that has been discussed is: Why did Juana, when she was at the height of her fame, renounce fame? It seems impossible at first glance that Sor Juana, having made herself famous, having earned the title of la décima musa, and having published in Spain two volumes of poetry, should suddenly renounce her intellectual labors, her mathematical and musical instruments, her library of four thousand volumes, and everything that for her made life worth living to devote herself to a life of cilices and scourges, fasts and vigils. She had lived in the convent of St. Jerome a quarter of a century. She had lived on terms of intimacy with the most prominent people of the city. In Spain she had been the object of dozens of laudatory poems and articles. But for the second time in her life she suddenly retired from the world, and this time it was to lead the life of an ascetic, the life of a martyr. Why?

The blame for this strange renunciation has been generally laid at the door of the Bishop of Puebla, Manuel Fernández de Santa Cruz. A few attributed it to the Inquisition or to Father Núñez. Others have frankly declared it inexplicable. To understand the situation, let us go back and review briefly the preceding period in the life of Sor Juana.

In the year 1680 a new viceroy, the Count of Paredes, came to Mexico. The cabildo of the cathedral asked Juana to write a poem for one of the arcos erected in his honor. Placed thus in the limelight, it is not surprising that a friendship developed between Juana and the Count and Countess of Paredes. This was the beginning of a brilliant and happy period for the gifted nun. Her new patrons encouraged her in her literary ambitions. It was for them that she wrote some of her best works. During their residence in New Spain, Sor Juana devoted much more time than the church approved of to worldly things. The Viceroy and his wife were frequent visitors at the convent. The nun became very popular in court circles, and was the object of many attentions, of gifts, of letters, of poems. She was in constant contact with the world. She was in such demand socially that she could hardly find time for her literary work. In the spring of 1688, however, her patrons returned to Spain. With their departure Juana lost her most powerful protectors in New Spain. Though on friendly terms with the Conde de Galve, viceroy from 1688 to 1696, there was not the strong personal bond that bound her to his predecessor. It is to the Countess of Paredes that we owe the first volume of Juana's works.

The period just sketched had disastrous consequences for Sor Juana. Her worldly life brought down upon her the criticism of the more sinister, the more fanatical element in the church. Father Núñez broke off all relations with her. Oviedo says in this connection:

Bien quisiera el Padre Antonio que tan singulares prendas se dedicassen solo á Dios, y que entendimiento tan sublime tuviesse solo por pasto las divinas perfecciones del Esposo que avia tomado. Y aunque se han engañado muchos, persuadidos, á que el Padre Antonio le prohibia â la Madre Iuana el exercicio decente de la Poesia sanctificado con los exemplos de grandes siervos, y siervas de Dios, estorvabale si quãto podia la publicidad, y continuadas correspondencias de palabra, y por escrito con los de fuera; y temiendo que el affecto a los estudios por demasiado no declinasse al extremo de vicioso, y le robasse el tiempo que el estado santo de la Religion pide de derecho … le aconsejaba con las mejores razones que podia, á que agradecida al cielo por los dones conque la avia enriquecido olvidada del todo de la tierra pusiera sus pesamientos … en el mismo cielo.

Viendo pues el Padre Antonio, que no podia conseguir lo que desseaba, se retirò totalmente de la assistencia à la Madre Juana.…28

Father Núñez was one of the most powerful ecclesiastics in New Spain. Because of his learning he was popularly known as the "encyclopedia of the Jesuits." There is plenty of evidence to show that all important cases of the Inquisition passed through his hands. The break,29 therefore, between him and Sor Juana was a most serious matter. The fact that Father Núñez disapproved of her conduct must have ranged against her some of the other intolerant churchmen of the time, such men as José Vidal and the Archbishop himself.

The latter was something of a fanatic. His character was very different from that of his precedessor, the much esteemed Fray Payo in whose honor Juana wrote several poems. Her relations with Aguiar y Seixas must have been quite different, for she never mentions him. If the biographer of the Archbishop is to be trusted, there was probably a good reason why he and Juana were not on intimate terms. He says:

Para remediar los pecados importa mucho el quitar las rayzes de ellos: en esto ponia el Señor Arçobispo mucho cuydado. Una causa muy principal de muchos pecados, suelen ser las comedias, y fiestas de toros; por lo qual aborrecia mucho su Ill.ma estas, y otras semejantes fiestas, à que concurren muchos de todo genero de personas, hombres y mugeres. Predicaba con gran acrimonia contra estos toros, y comedias, y los estorvò siempre que pudo: quando andabamos en las visitas mandaba que en las solemnidades de los Santos, aunque fuessen titulares, no huviesse semejantes fiestas;…

Otro medio de que usaba el Señor Arçobispo para desterrar los vicios, y plãtar las virtudes, era el procurar acabar con los libros profanos de comedias, y otros; y repartir libros devotos. Quando venimos de España, truxo unos mil y quinientos libros, que se intitulan Consuelo de pobres, que tratan con especialidad de la limosna, para repartirlos entre los ricos, y trocarlos por otros libros malos; y assi lo hazia. Persuadia à los libreros, que no tomassen libros de comedias; y trocò con algunos de ellos todos quantos tenian por los dichos arriba de consuelo de pobres: y luego quemaba los de las comedias.…30

That Aguiar was a bitter enemy of the worldly life of the times is shown by the following extract from a contemporary:

Il Lunedi 27. dovea andare la Signora V. Regnia, con suo marito, in S. Agostino de las Cuevas, invitati dal Tesoriere della Casa della moneta; ma poi se n'astennero, per far cosa grata a Monsignor Arcivescovo, il quale biasimava quel passatempo, como scandaloso.31

Life in Mexico changed under his administration. It took on a gloomier aspect. Many festival days were abolished,32 and an effort was made to reform the habits and customs of the people.

Under such an archbishop Juana passed the last days of her life. That Juana wrote comedias and even published them must have been a crime in his eyes. In Mexico during his administration no comedias and almost no secular verse were finding their way into print.33 Conditions in Mexico were quite different from what they were in Spain, though even in Spain a movement which opposed the theater was gaining ground. Conditions in Spain, nevertheless, were liberal as compared with those that obtained in New Spain. What the difference was becomes plain when we consider that the books of Sor María de Jesús de Ágreda which were taken off the Index abroad (even the celebrated Mística Ciudad de Dios being cleared by the Pope)34 were prohibited in Mexico by an edict of the Inquisition in 1690.35 Moreover, the fact that Sor Juana's works appeared in Spain is significant. This was due to the strict censorship36 on books that existed in New Spain, rather than to other difficulties of publication such as expense and scarcity of paper. The fact that of all her works the most popular one in Mexico was a religious work, the many times reprinted Ofrecimientos para un Rosario de quince Misterios, is also highly significant. One is forced to the conclusion that the publication of her collected works would have been impossible in Mexico. The fact that she published them in Spain must have widened the breach that was gradually establishing itself between her and the church. The first volume of her works appeared in Madrid in 1689. It contains a large number of secular poems: lyrics of love and friendship, satirical verse, and burlesque poems in the Italian manner. Whether the book came back to Mexico I do not know. But enough information about it must have traveled back to make things slightly uncomfortable for Juana.

At about this same time Sor Juana committed another crime in the eyes of the church. She wrote a refutation of a sermon preached in Lisbon by the brilliant Jesuit, Antonio de Vieyra. The latter had set up his own opinion in opposition to that of the Church Fathers, Aquinas, Augustine, and Chrysostom. Juana defended the Church Fathers with logic and erudition. Her refutation found its way into the hands of Manuel Fernández de Santa Cruz. He had it published late in 1690,37 together with a letter, the famous letter signed Sor Philotea de la Cruz. In it he said in part:

Para que V. md. se vea en este Papel de mejor letra, le he impresso, y para que reconozca los tesoros, que Dios depositò en su alma, y le sea, como mas entendida, mas agradecida … pocas criaturas deben a su Magestad mayores talentos en lo natural, con que executa al agradecimiento, para que si hasta aqui los ha empleado bien … en adelante sea mejor.

No es mi juizio tan austèro Censor, que estè mal con los versos, en que V. md. se ha visto tan celebrada.…

No pretendo, segun este dictamen, que V. md. mude el genio, renunciando los Libros; si no que le mejore, leyendo alguna vez el de Jesu-Christo.…Mucho tiempo ha gastado V. md. en el estudio de Filosofos, y Poetas; yà serà razon que se mejoren los Libros.38

This is the letter that has long been held responsible for Sor Juana's renunciation. It is quite clear from the letter that the Bishop did not really approve of her secular writings, but it is also clear that he did not ask her to give up her literary labors. All that he asked her to do was to devote herself to religious works. He was himself a lover of learning, and had during his youth written three books of commentary on the Scriptures. He is said to have bought many books for the Colegio de San Pablo in Pueblo. What gave the letter such force was the fact that it was printed along with the Crisis, and that in it he asked her to pay less attention to las rateras noticias del dia. It amounted to a public censure.39

Of the cause and effect of this letter, the biographer of the Bishop writes as follows:

Era muy celebrada en esta Nueva España la Madre Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz,… assi por la grande capazidad, y soverano entendimiento de que Dios la havia dorado, como por la gracia de saber hazer y componer … versos: con esta ocasion era visitada de muchas personas, y de las de primera clase: corria la fama por todas partes …; llegò la noticia à nuestro amantissimo Obispo …, y… condolido … de ´q un sujeto de tan relevantes prendas estubiera tan distraido, y combertido à las criaturas,… resolvio escrivirla la carta siguiente.…

Tubo esta carta el deseado efecto.…40

More than two years were to elapse, however, before Juana's renunciation. It does not seem possible, then, that this letter was the cause of the step she took. It was another sign of the times, however, and a thorn in the flesh of the brilliant nun.

In March, 1691, Juana wrote an answer to the famous letter. Her letter is astonishingly frank. One wonders how she dared so reveal her innermost soul. Her answer could certainly have done nothing to mend matters.

Meanwhile, the Crisis was receiving wide publicity. In 1692 it was published in Mallorca. In the same year it was reprinted in the second volume of her works, and in the following year it appeared again in the second edition of that volume.41 It was received with great enthusiasm in Spain. Why did it arouse a storm of criticism in Mexico? Was it heretical? It was so considered there. In her answer to the Bishop Juana wrote:

Si el crimen està en la Carta Athenagorica, fue aquella mas que referir sencillamente mi sentir …? … Llevar una opinion contraria de Vieyra, fue en mi atrevimiento, y no lo fue en su Paternidad, llevarla contra los tres Santos Padres de la Iglesia?…ni faltè al decoro, que à tanto varon se debe.…Ni toquè à la Sagrada Compañia en el pelo de la ropa;…Quesi creyera se avia de publicar, no fuera con tanto desaliño como fue. Si es (como dize el Censor) Heretica, porquè no la delata?42

We gather from this that it was declared heretical. In Spain, however, Navarro Vélez, Calificador del Santo Oficio, declared that it contained nothing contrary to the faith.43 That it was so strongly condemned in Mexico is due to the fact that conditions there were different. The Jesuits were all powerful. They were practically in control of the Inquisition. Father Vieyra was a Jesuit, and it was felt that the Crisis was an attack on that order. How Father Núñez felt about it one can easily guess. Juana had brought herself face to face with the Inquisition. At the time she wrote her reply she had not been brought to trial. No record has been found to show that she ever was. It is not likely that the Inquisition would have waited more than two years to do so. It does not seem possible, then, that it was directly responsible for her renunciation.

Did Juana, upon receiving the Bishop's letter, immediately stop writing about secular things? Not at all. Early in 1691 she wrote a silva celebrating a victory won by the armada de Barlovento against the French off the coast of Santo Domingo. This was published the same year by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora in his Trofeo de la justicia española. In 1692 she was still sending manuscripts abroad for the second edition44 of the second volume of her works. It seems likely that early in 1692 she was still writing some poetry and collecting it for that volume. Sometime in 1692 or 1693 she also wrote a poem thanking her newly found friends in Spain for the laudatory poems and articles which appeared in her second volume. This poem was never finished, and is probably her last work.

Sor Juana's renunciation took place in 1693.45 In March, 1691, when she wrote her answer to the Bishop, she was not yet ready for her great sacrifice. She still defended herself vigorously, claiming for herself the right to study. The letter is, in fact, a defense of the rights of women, a memorable document in the history of feminism. In the light of it, her renunciation is even more startling than it would be had the letter never been written. Yet in it she reveals, too, a struggle in which she was as a house divided against itself. What it was and how insidiously it undermined what a lifetime had built up, the following passage will make clear:

Pues aun falta por referir lo mas arduo de las dificultades;—faltan los positivos [estorvos], que directamente han traido à estorvar, y prohibir el exercicio. Quien no creerà, viendo tan generales aplausos, que he navigado viento en popa, y mar en leche, sobre las palmas de las aclamaciones comunes? Pues Dios sabe, que no ha sido assi: porque entre las flores de essas mismas aclamaciones, se han levantado, y despertado tales aspides de emulaciones, y persecuciones, quantas no podrè contrar; y los que mas nocivos, y sensibles para mi han sido, no son aquellos, que con declarado odio, y malevolencia me han perseguido, sino los que amandome, y deseando mi bien … me han mortificado, y atormentado mas, que los otros, con aquel: No conviene a la santa ignorancia, que deben este estudio; se ha de perder, se ha de desranecer en tanta altura con su mesma perspicacia, y agudeza. Què me avrà costado resistir esto? Rara especie de martyrio, donde yo era el martyr, y me era el verdugo!… todo ha sido acercarme mas al fuego de la persecucion, al crisol del tormento: y ha sido con tal extremo, que han llegado a solicitar, que se me prohiba el estudio.

… fuè tan vehemente, y podorosa la inclinacion à las Letras, que ni agenas reprehensiones (que he tenido muchas) ni propias reflexas (que he hecho no pocas) han bastado à que dexe de seguir este natural impulso, que Dios puso en mi: su Magestad sabe … que le he pedido, que apague la luz de mi entendimiento, dexando solo lo que baste para guardar su Ley, pues lo demàs sobra (segun algunos) en una muger; y aun hay quien diga, que daña.46

We gather from this that she was the object of constant persecution, and to such a degree that she began to ask herself if, after all, she was wrong. Should she give up her literary labors and devote herself to the camino de perfección? This was the struggle that was going on in her soul and that reached a climax in 1693. It had probably been going on a long time before it came out into the open with the publication of her works. She must have had many enemies. What she suffered we can but guess. Slowly but surely the criticisms of friends and enemies destroyed her peace of mind. Even so, it is doubtful if Sor Juana would ever have given up her books and studies had not events in Mexico so shaped themselves that she felt upon her an inward compulsion.

It now becomes necessary to take a look at what was happening in Mexico between 1691 and 1693. In the summer of 1691 rains and floods were beginning to cause terrible suffering. A contemporary writes:

Lo q.e se experimento de trabajos en Mexico en estos trece dias no es ponderable. Nadie entrava en la Ciudad por no estar andables los caminos, y las calsadas. Faltò el carbon, la leña, la fruta, las hortalisas, las aves.…Elpannose sasonaba por la mucha agua … y nada se hallava de quanto hè dicho, sino à exsecivo precio.…

El crecimiento con qe se hallava la Laguna de Tescuco à veinte y dos de Julio, dio motivo a los pusilamines para que dixesen à vozes que se anega Mexico.47

The crops were ruined and by the end of the year the city was in the grip of a famine. By the beginning of 1692 conditions were so bad that the Viceroy asked that secret prayers be said in convents and monasteries for the relief of the city. Many a day there was no bread. Moreover, the supply of grain in the alhóndiga was getting low. The populace began to threaten violence, blaming the Viceroy and his government for their sufferings. Finally, on the night of June 8, 1692, the Indians marched upon the viceregal palace and stormed it, setting fire to it and the surrounding buildings. The Viceroy and his wife took refuge in the monastery of St. Francis. Everybody sought monasteries and other places of security. The soldiers were helpless. Hordes of Indians pillaged the plaza and the surrounding neighborhood. Nothing could be done to stop the terrible riot. Bells rang all night. In the nunneries and monasteries prayers were said. Jesuits and Franciscans went in procession to the plaza in an effort to quiet the rioters, but they were hissed and their images were treated with disrespect. After days and nights of terror, during which the churches ceased to function, the civil government succeeded in restoring order. Weeks and months of azotados and ahorcados kept alive the memory of the tumult. Famine continued to take its toll, for there was no bread. Disease followed. Toward the end of the year the peste was general throughout the land. Those were dark days for Mexico. Why had this affliction visited the country? The consensus of opinion was that it was a punishment for the sin, the license and irreligiosity that had reigned in Mexico. Robles says:

Las causas de este estrago se discurren ser nuestras culpas que quiso Dios castigar, tomando por instrumento el mas debil y flaco, como es el de unos miserables indios, desprevenidos, como en otros tiempos lo ha hecho su Divina Magestad, como parece por historias divinas y humanas.… Dios nos mire con ojos de misericordia! Amen.48

Sigüenza y Góngora says, speaking of the floods: "Oyese por este tiempo una voz entre las … del bulgo q.e atribuia à castigo de las pasadas fiestas la tempestad en el monte, el destroso en los Campos, y la inundacion de los arribales.…"49 He says, furthermore: "… yo no dudo q.e mis pecados y los de todos le motivaron [a Dios] à q.e amenazandonos como Padre con azote de agua prosiguiese despues el castigo con hambre p.a nuestra poca enmienda.…"50 Another contemporary writes: "… hallándonos con un príncipe tan benigno por virey, … son tantos nuestros pecados, que no ha bastado su santidad y celo para que la justicia de Dios no nos castigue, como lo estamos esperimentando."51

The tragic events just narrated gave point to the remonstrances addressed to Juana on the score of her failure to walk in the camino de perfección. Where she had before stopped to reflect occasionally on her duty in the matter, now, with suffering and death on every hand, her own heart, her own conscience, must have taken a hand. It is not unlikely that she blamed herself somewhat for the sad state of affairs in Mexico. Death was everywhere. It took two of her lifelong friends, Juan de Guevara52 and Diego de Ribera.52 It laid a heavy hand on the convent of St. Jerome, where ten nuns died53 between April 24, 1691, and August 5, 1692. And in September, 1692, news came from Spain of the death of her beloved patron, the Count of Paredes. Life was becoming stern. But it was not too late. She could yet make amends. It is something of this spirit that shines through the fanaticism of the last two years of her life. Stern religious counselors had turned her eyes inward upon herself. Could outward compulsion alone have worked such a change? Does it not bespeak inward conviction? Sor Juana had very much a mind of her own. The Inquisition could have made her give up her books, her instruments, her literary labors, but it could not make her volar a la perfección. Inner conviction was needed for that.

Does not Juana herself express this in the Peticion que en forma causidica presenta al Tribunal Divino la Madre Juana Ines de la Cruz, por impetrar perdon de sus culpas? In it she says:

… en el pleyto que se sigue en el Tribunal de nuestra Justicia contra mis graves, enormes, y sin igual pecados, de los quales me hallo convicta por todos los testigos del Cielo, y de la Tierra, y por lo alegado por parte del Fiscal del crim de mi propia consciencia, en que halla que debo ser condenada à muerte eterna, y que aun esto serà usando conmigo de clemencia, por no bastar infinitos Infiernos para mis inumerables crimenes y pecados: … reconozco no merezco perdon … con todo, conociendo vuestro infinito amor, è misericordia, y que mientras vivo, estoy en tiempo, y que no me han cerrado los terminos del poder apelar de la sentencia … con todo, por quanto sabeis vos que ha tantos años que yo vivo en Religion, no solo sin Religion, sino peor que pudiera un Pagano: … es mi voluntad bolver à tomar el Abito, y passar por el año de aprobacion.…54

Undoubtedly force of circumstances joining hands with many parallel influences had brought about a crisis in Juana's life; not one cause, but many, working toward a common end, gradually broke the strong spirit and made her accept the martyr's rôle.

How did Juana carry out her penitence, for such it was? Oviedo says, speaking of this and of Father Núñez' part in it:

Quedose la Madre Iuana sola con su Esposo, y … el amor le daba alientos á su imitacion, procurando con empeño crucificar sus pasiones, y apetitos con tan ferveroso rigor en la penitencia, que necessitaba del prudente cuidado, y atencion del Padre Antonio para irle á la mano, porque no acabasse à manos de su fervor la vida. Y solia decir el Padre alabando à Dios, que Iuana Ines no corria sino que volaba á la perfeccion.55

Everything she had she sold for the relief of the poor. The same writer says:

… se deshizo de la copiosa libreria que tenia, sin reservar para su uso sino unos pocos libritos espirituales que le ayudassen en sus santos intentos. Echô tambien de la celda todos los instrumentos musicos, y mathematicos singulares, y exquisitos que tenia, y quantas alhajas de valor, y estima la avia tributado la admiracion, y aplauso de los que celebraban sus prendas como prodigios; y reducido todo à reales, fuerõ bastantes á ser alivio, y socorro de muchissimos Pobres.56

This, too, confirms the theory that the suffering in Mexico had much to do with her renunciation. She was joined in her charitable enterprise by Aguiar y Seixas, who also sold his library for the relief of the poor.

Two years later her penitence reached the heights of the heroic when, during the plague that invaded the convent of St. Jerome, Juana labored night and day nursing the sick, comforting the dying, and laying out the dead. Her fragile spirit, broken by the storms that had beaten about her, gave up the unequal struggle, and she who once had been the object of hatred and jealousy died in the odor of sanctity, revered and loved by all.


  1. Juana de Asbaje (Madrid, 1910), p. 78.
  2. Discurso pronunciado en la velada literaria que consagró el Liceo Hidalgo a la memoria de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Mexico, 1874), pp. 48-49.
  3. For a discussion of this side of the question see Nemesio García Naranjo, "Biografía de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz," Anales del Museo Nacional de México, segunda época, Vol. III, No. 1 (Mexico, 1906), pp. 567-68.
  4. "Respuesta de la poetisa a la muy ilustre Sor Philotea de la Cruz," Fama y obras posthumas (Barcelona, 1701), p. 18. References hereafter will be to this edition.
  5. Juan de Oviedo, Vida y virtudes del Venerable Padre Antonio Nuñes de Miranda (Mexico, 1702), p. 133.
  6. Antonio de Robles, "Diario de sucesos notables," Documentos para la historia de Méjico, primera serie, Vol. III (Mexico, 1853), under date of July 12, 1668.
  7. José Toribio Medina, Historia del tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición de México (Santiago de Chile, 1905), pp. 321-22. Part of this document is unprintable.
  8. José Lezamis, Breve relacion de la vida, y muerte del Doctor D. Francisco de Aguiar y Seyxas, Mexico, 1699. Not paged. See chapter entitled: "De su castidad, mortificacion, y penitencia."
  9. Op. cit., pp. 153-54.
  10. Miguel de Torres, Dechado de principes eclesiasticos (Puebla, 1716), p. 123.
  11. Op. cit., pp. 124-25, 150. Also see José Gómez de la Parra, Panegyrico funeral de Manuel Fernandez de Santa Cruz (Puebla, 1699), p. 64.
  12. Julián Gutiérrez Dávila, Vida y virtudes de Domingo Perez de Barcia (Madrid, 1720), pp. 27-28.
  13. Op. cit., p. 30.
  14. Ibid., p. 31.
  15. Segundo tomo de las obras de Soror Juana Inez de la Cruz (Sevilla, 1692), Act I.
  16. Juan de Oviedo, op. cit., p. 133.
  17. Ibid., pp. 134-35.
  18. "Aprobación," Fama y obras posthumas.
  19. Fama y obras posthumas, p. 18. As for matrimony, it is possible that the Viceroy had already selected a husband for her. This seems to have been the regular procedure, at any rate, and Juana had no reason to suppose that he would not select one in her case. Doña Oliva Merleti, a lady-in-waiting at the court, entered the Capuchin order in preference to marrying a man selected for her by the Marquis of Mancera. See Ignacio de Peña, Trono mexicano en el convento de Capuchinas (Madrid, 1726), p. 213.
  20. Francisco Fernández del Castillo, Doña Catalina Xuárez Marcayda (Mexico, 1920).
  21. Op. cit., p. 83.
  22. For a copy of this document see Amado Nervo, op. cit., opp. p. 96.
  23. Loc. cit.
  24. Vicente Riva Palacio, México a través de los siglos (Mexico: Ballescá y Cía), II, 669.
  25. Julián Gutiérrez Dávila, op. cit., pp. 351-52.
  26. This appeared in Poetica descripcion de la pompa plausible que admiró esta Ciudad de Mexico en la Dedicacion de su Templo (Mexico, 1668). This is cited by Medina, La Imprenta en México (8 vols.; Santiago de Chile, 1907-12), No. 1004. A copy of this work exists in the Biblioteca Palafoxiana in Puebla, Mexico.
  27. This manuscript is now in my possession. González Obregón was the first to reproduce any part of it. See El Renacimineto, segunda Época (Mexico, 1894), pp. 237-38.
  28. Op. cit., pp. 134, 136.
  29. It is impossible to fix the exact date of this rupture. It must have taken place at some time during Juana's greatest worldly activity, i.e., between 1680 and 1690.
  30. Op. cit., chapter entitled: "De la oracion, contemplacion, amor de Dios y del proximo del Señor Arçobispo."
  31. Gio. Francesco Gemelli Careri, Giro del mondo, sesta parte (Naples, 1700), p. 169. He visited Mexico in 1697.
  32. Francisco Aguiar y Seixas, Edicto pastoral sobre los días festivos, Mexico, 1688.
  33. Less than 25 per cent of the books printed in Mexico City were secular in character. These figures are based on tables developed from Medina, La imprenta en México, for the period between 1682 and 1698. From 1666 to 1682 about 32 per cent of the books were secular. These figures are only approximate since Medina is not complete, and besides, some of the material of the period has, undoubtedly, been lost. Of these secular works some were official documents, some were gacetas, and a few were scholarly works. There was very little of a purely literary character.
  34. Emilia Pardo Bazán, "Prólogo," Vida de la Virgen María según Sor María de Jesús de Agreda (Barcelona, 1899), p. 7.
  35. Antonio de Robles, op. cit., under date of September 24, 1690.
  36. The censorship in Mexico during the seventeenth century has not yet been studied. For methods used during the sixteenth see Francisco Fernández del Castillo, "Libros y libreros del siglo XVI," Publicaciones del archivo general de la nación, Vol. VI (Mexico, 1914).
  37. Her refutation was reprinted under the title of "Crisis de un Sermón" in the second volume of her works.
  38. Fama y obras posthumas, pp. 2-4.
  39. The signature, Philotea de la Cruz, is pregnant with meaning. The name itself means "lover of God." The Bishop pretended that the letter was written by a nun of that name in the convent of the Holy Trinity. There may have been a nun of that name. But why did the Bishop choose that name? One of his predecessors in the bishopric of Puebla, the famous Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, published in Madrid in 1659 a book called Peregrinacion de Philotea al santo templo y monte de la Cruz. He says it was written in imitation of a "Philotea Francesa" because it had seemed to him "no inutil emulacion, sino espiritual y santa: que … otra Philotea Española instruyesse a las demas, con manifestarse humilde seguidora de la Cruz.…"The books of Palafox were very popular. It is probable that Fernández de Santa Cruz had this book in mind when he wrote Sor Juana. If so, the significance of the signature could not have been lost upon her.
  40. Op. cit., pp. 416, 421. The 1722 edition says that it was her estudio de libros profanos that called forth the letter.
  41. The subject of the Crisis was kept alive until 1731, when a defense of Father Vieyra's sermon, written by Sor Margarita Ignacia, a Portuguese nun, was translated into Spanish by Iñigo Rosende in a volume entitled Vieyra impugnado, published in Madrid.
  42. Fama y obras posthumas, pp. 50-51.
  43. Juan Navarro Vélez, "Censura," Segundo tomo de las obras de Soror Juana Ines de la Cruz, Sevilla, 1692.
  44. This edition, published in Barcelona in 1693, has on the title-page: "añadido en esta segunda impression por su autora." It also contains some villancicos dated 1691.
  45. Both Oviedo and Calleja testify to this. The date can be established by the fact that in February and March, 1694, she signed her Profesión de la fe and the Renovación de los votos religiosos. To do this she must have served her year as novice. Her Petición, undated, says: "… es mi voluntad bolver a tomar el Abito, y passar por el año de aprobacion." This must have been written early in 1693.
  46. Fama y obras posthumas, pp. 15, 26-27, 34-35.
  47. Copia de una Carta de don Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora a don Andrés de Pez acerca de un tumulto acaecido en México (MS), August 30, 1692.
  48. Op. cit., p. 97.
  49. Letter cited.
  50. Ibid.
  51. "Copia de una carta escrita por un religioso grave," Documentos para la historia de México, segunda serie, III (Mexico, 1855), 311.
  52. Sucesos, 1676-96 (MS), under date of April 11 and September 7, 1692.
  53. Libro de Prophessiones.
  54. Fama y obras posthumas, pp. 129-31.
  55. Op. cit., p. 137.
  56. Loc. cit.


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