Nuns Of Cuzco Research Paper

1561 Words 7 Pages
Catholicism is a staple in many Latin American countries. The religion has been a mainstay in the area ever since the first conquistadors from Spain set foot in the new world and started their sprawling conquests. As the conquistadors spread across Latin America and started to set up their systems of power, nuns, women who were spiritual brides of Christ, started to set up their power in Latin America, as well. The nuns’ relationship with power is a turbulent one. The nuns of Cuzco were very involved with the economy and society of the colony and their interactions with people and the economy helped with their rise and fall from power. Despite the early lack of real power, the nuns of Cuzco did show some power over others as well as used that …show more content…
These ingenious business dealing will further grant the women of the covenant more power as the rich and powerful families of Cuzco serve them at times. Some rich and secular widows would further make more donations to the convent’s power base such as the case of Catalina Diaz, who donated 42,000 pesos to Santa Clara so that the convent could open a chantry.12 There was also the case of Dona Beatriz de Villegas who donated 34,000 pesos to the nuns of Santa Clara for them to build a new convent.13 This move would then disrupt the burial place of the Costilla family, who was close to the convent.13 Despite the protests of the Costilla family, the nuns moved to a new location and left the bones behind, serving as a reminder that the families of Cuzco must constantly serve and invest in the convents or else they will lose their power.14 The nuns thus held huge power over the powerful families, they were on top for a long while. This new power gained from skillful economic maneuvering then allowed for some freedom for the nuns, freedom from traditional patriarchal powers. Slaves, servants, and orphans all existed inside the convent walls and these people, along with a nun, could form a family unit that was completely female.15 With no men around, these cloistered nuns would become the heads of their households and make the financial and personal decisions that a man would normally use. The convents would also allow the nuns to outright rebel against their male patriarchs, such as the case of Dona Ana Losada who wanted to marry a

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