Sarah Owens’ Journey of Five Capuchin Nuns sheds light on the lives of religious women called upon by the Church to found convents in the Americas. The text is at once a diary and a travel narrative of the women’s Atlantic crossing. Owens’ capable translation brings this fascinating text to life for twenty-first century readers, inviting us to consider the fears, hopes, and dreams of a group of eighteenth-century Spanish nuns chosen to found a Capuchin convent in Lima, Peru.
Lisa Vollendorf, Professor of Spanish, California State University, Long Beach
Journey of Five Capuchin Nuns contains all the elements of a riveting adventure story. Through the eyes of the Mother Abbess, María Rosa, the reader is taken along on this journey through wars, pirates, disease, travel on the high seas, and treacherous mountain passes in the Andes. Five nuns set out in the early 1700s from their cloistered convent in Madrid, Spain, to travel halfway around the world to Lima, Peru. The journey lasted three years -- an odyssey not all of them would complete. Yet, this unique historical document is so much more than a typical travel narrative. It illuminates the eighteenth-century way of life of religious women on both sides of the Atlantic basin. María Rosa's lively prose attests to the literary connection among women religious writers of Spain and Latin America. This annotated edition and first-ever English translation of the manuscript will be of interest to scholars, students and anyone who wants to learn more about women's history.
SARAH E. OWENS is an Associate Professor of Spanish at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. She has conducted extensive archival research in Spain and Mexico. Her articles have appeared in Colonial Latin American Historical Review, Studia Mystica and Hispanic Journal.
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