Chapter

The Lieutenant Nun

Catalina De Erauso

in Neither Saints Nor Sinners

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157239
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849680 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157239.003.0007
The Lieutenant Nun

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Catalina de Erauso deliberately rejected the religious life: she escaped the convent, dressed as a man, became a soldier, and a murderer. Yet when her true identity was discovered by a bishop, she somehow avoided both religious and civil censure. Catalina's petitions to the Crown and pope, the autobiographical vida attributed to her, and several posthumous accounts serve as the sources for studying her seemingly paradoxical case. The autobiographical account attributed to her combines a portrait of the highly prized virginal women with that of a valiant soldier. She weaved into her identity the negative image of a rogue. She slipped through the cracks of Spanish society's roles for women and reemerged as a cultural phenomenon, due to her successful negotiation of institutionalized codes for behavior and the remoteness of the American frontier.

Keywords: Catalina de Erauso; lieutenant nun; Monja Alferez; cross-dressing; Vida I sucesos

Chapter.  13247 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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