Portrait of Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz in a nun's habit.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

(c. 1651 - 1695)

Born to unmarried parents of modest means, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz moved to Mexico City as a child, where she attracted the attention of the viceroy of New Spain and was made a lady-in-waiting at his court in 1664. Renowned for her lyric poems as well as for her precocious physical beauty, she took her vows as a nun in the Hieronymite order in 1669, professing a “total disinclination to marriage.” In her cloister, Juana amassed one of the New World’s largest private libraries.

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Miscellany

Committed to learning the principles of Latin grammar as a child in Mexico in the 1650s, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz recalled that she cut her hair very short, and if she had not “learned such and such a thing” by the time it grew out, she “would again cut it off as punishment for being so slow-witted.”

Miscellany

As a child in Mexico in the 1650s, the nun and writer Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz “abstained from eating cheese because I had heard that it made one slow of wits, for in me the desire for learning was stronger than the desire for eating—as powerful as that is in children."

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