Sor Juana Inez Cruz: Champion for Women’s Educational Rights
In the 1600s, Sor Juana Inez Cruz, a nun in the Convent of the Order of St Jerome, wrote a critique of a sermon that was delivered some forty years earlier. Her paper was critical of a preachers’ message regarding Christ and His love for mankind. Cruz’s critique was subsequently published by the Bishop of Puebla without her consent or knowledge. Additionally, the bishop wrote his own letter to Sor Juana using the fabricated name of Filotea de la Cruz. In his letter, the bishop describes a conversation between two nuns, one insisting that the other spend her time and abilities attending to religious matters alone, while forsaking intellectual pursuits (Norton 247). As a response to the bishop’s actions, Sor Juana wrote, “The Poets Answer to the Most Illustrious Sor Filotea de la Cruz”, a humble, intelligent, and tactful response, where she responded, “I have attempted to entomb my intellect together with my name and to sacrifice it to the One who gave it to me; and that no other motive brought me to the life of religion…” (Ines De Le Cruz, Sor Juana 252). Her response to the Bishop of Puebla grew from her distaste of his stance against a woman’s right to a secular education. In Cruz’s time, and as a rule, women were not allowed to pursue an education outside of the religious confines of the nunnery. As a result, the overseers of the convent did all they could to put Cruz to silence (Paz 263).?? Also, Cruz’s “Philosophical Satire”, which describes the unacceptable behavior of the men when it comes to a woman’s right to be treated fairly, reads, “....if, with eagerness unequaled, you plead against women’s disdain, why require them to do well when you inspire them to fall” (Ines De Le Cruz, Sor Juana, 263). Her infamous response challenged the assumptions of what was considered to be right and wrong in her society in the 1600s (Sor Juana Ines De La Crus Biography). Though she faced resistance from the Catholic heads of state, Sor Juana’s deep curiosity of the world around her and her quest for knowledge led her to be a well, sought out, writer; moreover, her response to the bishop’s letter and her advocacy for women’s educational rights created a legacy for all women.
If there has ever been anyone who is inquisitive, it would be a natural born writer who has
the ability to capture the attention of all who read their literature. This is a fact concerning Sor Juana Ines De Le Cruz. Born into a male-dominated society in the late 1600s, Cruz was an illegitimate child whose father and mother abandoned her. However, she did not let her illegitimacy define who she was. Cruz was a young girl born with a huge appetite for curiosity which she was able to satisfy after talking her sisters’ teacher into instructing her in reading when she was three. Equally important, while stumbling upon her grandfathers’ library, she read and studied for many hours (A.N. Sor Juana...