Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches: Women and the Catholic by Carole A. Myscofski

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By Carole A. Myscofski

The Roman Catholic church performed a dominant position in colonial Brazil, in order that women’s lives within the colony have been formed and limited through the Church’s beliefs for natural ladies, in addition to by way of parallel innovations within the Iberian honor code for ladies. files left through Jesuit missionaries, Roman Catholic church officers, and Portuguese Inquisitors clarify that women’s day-by-day lives and their possibilities for marriage, schooling, and spiritual perform have been sharply circumscribed through the colonial interval. but those related files additionally offer evocative glimpses of the spiritual ideals and practices that have been specially adored or independently constructed through ladies for his or her personal use, constituting a separate international for better halves, moms, concubines, nuns, and witches.

Drawing on vast unique study in basic manuscript and published assets from Brazilian libraries and documents, in addition to secondary Brazilian old works, Carole Myscofski proposes to put in writing Brazilian ladies again into heritage, to appreciate how they lived their lives in the society created by means of the Portuguese imperial executive and Luso-Catholic ecclesiastical associations. Myscofski bargains designated explorations of the Catholic colonial perspectives of definitely the right girl, the styles in women’s schooling, the non secular perspectives on marriage and sexuality, the background of women’s convents and retreat homes, and the advance of magical practices between girls in that period. one of many few wide-ranging histories of ladies in colonial Latin the US, this e-book makes a very important contribution to our wisdom of the early glossy Atlantic World.

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Extra resources for Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches: Women and the Catholic Church in Colonial Brazil, 1500-1822

Sample text

And inhuman,” Vasconcelos pointed to the women’s nudity as the clearest indication of degeneracy rather than innocence. 49 The ancient world may have given literary birth to the Amazon warrior, but the first account from the New World of Amazons and the eponymous river may be found in the Relación written by the Dominican brother Gaspar de Carvajal who accompanied Captain Francisco de Orellana on his first journey down the then-­named Marañon River. Orellana had been sent by Gonzalo Pizarro in 1541 to explore and raid the eastern Incan lands for provisions, but he instead undertook an independent trip downriver, traveling from Peru to the island of Cubagua, near present-­day Venezuela.

16 Padre Manuel da Nóbrega led his fellow Jesuits in the new colony and dispatched reports back to the metropole, providing ample records of their encounters with native Brazilian women. The Jesuits focused their missionary efforts on Brazilian Indian men and boys, judging that their evangelization would be most effective with the dominant members of the Indian families and villages. Still, their encounters with women and girls were duly noted in their letters, where they recapitulated the myth of the innocent and compliant native woman awaiting the command of her betters to ameliorate her lost and savage ways.

Conversion to Christianity became the necessary adjunct to exploration and exploitation, and the Catholic Church used a small but influential network of workers to impose its theological worldview among the Brazilian indigenous residents and colonists. The power of their words should not be underestimated, then, for they had the ability { 18 } Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches to fabricate the very nature of the New World; the discourse they invented about Brazil shaped not just its institutional history, but also individual lives and personal relationships.

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