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Neither Saints Nor SinnersWriting the Lives of Women in Spanish America$
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Kathleen Ann Myers

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195157239

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157239.001.0001

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The Mystic Nun

The Mystic Nun

Madre María de San José (1656–1719)—Confession and Autobagiography

(p.69) 3 The Mystic Nun
Neither Saints Nor Sinners

Madre María De San Joseé

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the Mexican nun María de San José. It investigates a third institutional practice examined in this book that shaped the outcome of many lives with paradoxical results: the role of confession, both as a sacrament promoted by the Council of Trent and as a practice for religious women that could produce autobiographical and biographical life stories. The extensive confessional journals and Stations of the Cross written by María and her posthumous biography by Sebastián Santander y Torres serve as the basis for this study. As a mystic and founder of a prestigious reformed convent, she carefully followed the path of the model nun, the perfecta religiosa. She illustrates the delicate process of simultaneously casting herself as a repentant sinner and chosen saint, and carefully negotiates a path between self-will, divine will, and the confessor's will.

Keywords:   María de San Jose, autohagiography, confession, Sebastián Santander, perfecta religiosa, confessional vida, mystic nun, Stations of the Cross

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