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Distributed for Iter Press

Journey of Five Capuchin Nuns

Edited and Translated by Sarah E. Owens

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 Yet, this unique historical document is so much more than a typical travel narrative.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.

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"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, California State University, Long Beach

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Editor’s Introduction 1
Maps of Spain and South America 48
Journey of Five Capuchin Nuns 51
I: Some of the things that preceded the foundation license 52
II: The appointment of the nuns 59
III: How we left the cloister 68
IV: Our departure from Toledo 75
V: How we arrived in the city of Andujar 84
VI: All that took place until we arrived in Cadiz 89
VII: Things that happened before we were taken prisoners 95
VIII: Difficulties we had disembarking 103
IX: How the king sent us a visitor 111
X: From Lisbon to Yelbes 121
XI: From Yelbes to Badajoz 130
XII: All that happened before we returned to the Port of Santa María 139
XIII: Our arrival in Buenos Aires and events there 148
XIV: From the chácara to Mendoza and beyond 157
XV: From Santiago to Callao 166
XVI: Departure from Callao and arrival in Lima 175
XVII: All that took place until the day of the foundation 185
Glossary 194
Bibliography 198
Index 206

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