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

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 restricted through the Church’s beliefs for natural ladies, in addition to by way of parallel thoughts within the Iberian honor code for ladies. documents left via Jesuit missionaries, Roman Catholic church officers, and Portuguese Inquisitors clarify that women’s day-by-day lives and their possibilities for marriage, schooling, and non secular perform have been sharply circumscribed in the course of the colonial interval. but those related files additionally supply evocative glimpses of the spiritual ideals and practices that have been in particular adored or independently constructed by way of ladies for his or her personal use, constituting a separate international for better halves, moms, concubines, nuns, and witches.

Drawing on large unique examine in basic manuscript and published resources from Brazilian libraries and information, in addition to secondary Brazilian historic works, Carole Myscofski proposes to jot down Brazilian ladies again into background, to appreciate how they lived their lives in the society created via the Portuguese imperial executive and Luso-Catholic ecclesiastical associations. Myscofski deals specific explorations of the Catholic colonial perspectives of the best 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 improvement of magical practices between ladies in that period. one of many few wide-ranging histories of girls in colonial Latin the US, this booklet makes a very important contribution to our wisdom of the early sleek Atlantic World.

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

Example text

Marpasia was their first queen, succeeded by the virgin Synoppe. ”43 Inventive and popular travel accounts from that era provided even more details on Amazons to their readers. ”44 Columbus, too, wrote of an island of women who “employ themselves in no labor suitable to their own sex, for they use bows and javelins . . 45 His Journal similarly placed an island of “women without men” near the fearsome Caribs, adding that they held “very much . . 46 Indigenous American mythology may have contributed to the perpetuation of European myths of Amazons in the Amazon, with motifs of independent women or the separate creation of the two sexes.

A handful of devout women became prayer leaders and teachers of other Indians, supplementing the meager efforts of the Jesuits in the expanding colonial sphere. Here too the Jesuit accounts of women’s presence among the catechumens and the converted embodied the attitudes they held toward not just the indigenous people but also the land itself, for as their successes among the Indians became less frequent, so too their harsh assessment of the land intruded into their writing. The Jesuit paradigm of the ready and compliant convert developed alongside the related themes of heroism and triumph over the opposing cultures.

So while Caminha, in his first narrative from Brazil, stated repeatedly that the native Brazilians were innocent, ignorant, and tractable, he also conceded that the Portuguese felt uncomfortable with more than a few of them. The first Jesuits, other- { 36 } Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches wise stubbornly maintaining their views that the Brazilian Indian women were naturally devout, still worried about their perversions—­including nudity. Both French missionaries Jean de Léry and Claude d’Abbeville tempered their admiration for the natural lifestyle of Indian women with concern over the tenacity of their ancient customs.

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