Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Visionary Life of Madre Ana De San Agustín

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Visionary Life of Madre Ana De San Agustín

Article excerpt

The Visionary Life of Madre Ana de San Agustín. Critical edition and Introduction by Elizabeth Teresa Howe. [Coleccion Támesis, Serie B:Textos, 46.] (Rochester, New York: Boydell & Brewer. 2004. Pp. xiii, 131. $75.00.)

During the last twenty years or so literary scholars and historians have been active in "rediscovering" the abundant writings of late medieval and early modern religious women. Many of these texts were never published, or were printed in single editions, their authors virtually forgotten over the centuries. Such was the case with the Spanish nun Ana de San Agustin (1555-1624), who dictated two autobiographical narratives, or Relaciones, between 1606 and 1609. Now, thanks to the careful editorial effort of Elizabeth Teresa Howe, these two manuscripts from Madrid's Biblioteca Nacional are available to scholars in an attractive book. Howe has performed an important service, as Ana's story sheds fascinating light on the spiritual currents and institutional conflicts of her day.

By the tender age of 13 Ana de Pedruja had become aware of the new Discalced Carmelite Order, and soon became acquainted with its founder, Teresa of Avila. Ana entered the order in 1575, joining an exceptional group of women among the first Discalced Carmelite nuns. She would dedicate the remainder of her life to upholding Teresa's ideal of female monastic reform, particularly in the houses at Villanueva de la Jara and Valera de Abajo, which she helped to found and in which she played crucial administrative roles. …

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