Rebellious Nuns: The Troubled History of a Mexican Convent, 1752-1863 by Margaret Chowning (Hardback, 2005)
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- DescriptionNuns are hardly associated in the popular mind with rebellion and turmoil. In fact, however, convents have often been the scenes of conflict. But what went on behind the walls of convents was meant by the church to be mysterious. Great care was taken to prevent the scandal of factionalism in the nunneries from becoming widely kwn. This has made it very difficult to reconstruct the battles fought, the issues debated, and the relationships tested in such convents. Margaret Chowning has had the good fortune to discover a treasure-trove of documents that allow an intimate look at two crises that wracked nd ultimately destroyed the convent of La Purisima Concepcion in San Miguel el Grande, New Spain (Mexico). At the heart of each rebellions was an attempt by some nuns to impose a regimen of strict observance of their vows on the others, and the resistance mounted by those who had a different view of the convent and their own role in it. Would the community adopt as austere a lifestyle as they could endure, doing manual labor, suffering hunger and physical discomfort, deprived of the society of family and friends? Or would these women (many of them illegitimate children who had entered the convent out of necessity rather than choice) be allowed to lead comfortable and private lives when t at prayer? Accusations and counter-accusations flew. First one side and then the other seemed to have the upper hand. For a time, a mysterious and dramatic illness broke out among the rebellious nuns, capturing the limelight. Were they faking? Were they unconsciously influenced by their ringleader, the charismatic and manipulative young woman who first experienced the mal ? Drawing on an abundance of sources, including numerous letters written by the bishop and local vicar as well as nuns of both factions, Chowning is able to give us t just the voices but the personalities of the nuns and other actors. In this way she makes it possible for us to empathize with all of them and to appreciate the complicated dynamics of having committed your life t only to God but to your community.
- Author BiographyMargaret Chowning is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Wealth and Power in Provincial Mexico: Michoacan from the Late Colony to the Revolution (1999).
- Author(s)Margaret Chowning
- PublisherOxford University Press Inc
- Date of Publication24/11/2005
- SubjectChristianity: General
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintOxford University Press Inc
- Content NoteNumerous halftones and tables
- Weight585 g
- Width164 mm
- Height243 mm
- Spine22 mm
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