María Vela y Cueto: Autobiography and Letters of a Spanish Nun

María Vela y Cueto: Autobiography and Letters of a Spanish Nun

Distributed for Iter Press

192 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $34.95 ISBN: 9780866985598 Published November 2016

When María Vela y Cueto (1561–1617) declared that God had personally ordered her to take only the Eucharist as food and to restore primitive dress and public penance in her aristocratic convent, the entire religious community, according to her confessor, “rose up in wrath.” Yet, when Vela died, her peers joined with the populace to declare her a saint. In her autobiography and personal letters, Vela speaks candidly of the obstacles, perils, and rewards of re-negotiating piety in a convent where devotion to God was no longer expressed through rigorous asceticism. Vela’s experience, told in her own words, reveals her shrewd understanding of the persuasive power of a woman’s body.

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