This is an engaging study of the 15-month crusade of a small group of brave women who left Toledo, Spain, in 1620 to found a female convent under the Franciscan First Rule of Saint Clare in Manila, Philippines. Sarah E. Owens, professor of Spanish in the Department of Hispanic Studies at the College of Charleston, relies on a very unique source, an unpublished 450-folio biography by one of the convent's cofounders, Sor Ana de Cristo, about their spiritual leader, Sor Jerónima de la Asunción. This document chronicles the odyssey of these women and illustrates the extreme geographical and ethnic diversity within Spain's global empire. Owens contends that Sor Ana's manuscript is a hybrid text: a biography, travel narrative, convent chronicle, and, more importantly for her argument, autobiography. Owens is concerned not only with the nuns' physical journey but also with tracing the...

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