Luisa Carvajal y Mendoza

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(Doña) Luisa (de) Carvajal y Mendoza
Courbes-Retrato de Luisa Carvajal y Mendoza 1
Born January 2, 1566
Jaraicejo, Spain
Died January 2, 1614
London, England
Luisa Carvajal y Mendoza
Religion Catholicism
Personal
Nationality Spaniard
Senior posting
Title Missionary, Martyr
Period in office 1605-1614

(Doña) Luisa (de) Carvajal y Mendoza (January 2, 1566-January 2, 1614)[1][2][3] is best known for her mystical religious poetry and her fight to spread Catholicism throughout England, preaching against Anglicanism. She became imprisoned on two occasions (1608 and 1613) for her Catholic proselytizing activities in England. Her desire was to die a martyr, a cause she took a vow for in 1598 until her death.

Early Life[edit]

Carvajal y Mendoza was born in Jaraicejo, Spain. She came from a family of wealth and royal lineage. Her father was Francisco de Carvajal and her mother was Maria de Mendoza. However, at the age of six, both of her parents died of illness, and she was placed under the care of her aunt Maria Chacon.[4] She would live with her until she was ten. When her aunt passed away, Carvajal would leave to Pamplona, where she would be placed under the care of her uncle Francisco Hurtado a recognized diplomat and the First Marquis of Almazán. However, under his care, it was like she was in a prison. In one of the letters Carvajal wrote, Carvajal vividly depicts the penitential practices she was subject to. Carvajal was "forced to walk around naked and barefoot on the cold floor with a rope tied on her neck and her hands tied behind her back".[5][6] Carvajal attended a private university where she obtained an education in literature and theology .[7] Her uncle would die in 1592, which in effect would spark a sense of freedom to now be able to fully live for Christ as she so desired to do.[8] In a time where women either got married or went to convents to become nuns, Carvajal differed from these traditional norms. She opted to pursue neither of these. At this time she was not yet attracted to religious faith.

Encounter with faith[edit]

Religious Vows[edit]

Carvajal between 1593 and 1598 conducted a series of religious vows. These vows of were included vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and spiritual perfection. [9] In 1598 desires to die for God inspired her to take a vow of martyrdom, and as a consequence of this vow she waould be granted permission to journey to England until 1605 where she joined the Catholic underground.[10] A cause she would be known for until her death. Luisa wrote,

"Viendo que los impetuosos y delicadisimos afectos de dar la vida por Cristo Nuestro Señor, siguiendo sus dulcisimas pisadas, uniendome estrechamente con El por este medio, tenian en gran manera apretado mi corazon y penetrado de una gravisima herida".[11].

"Seeing that the impetuous and delicate affections of giving one's life for Christ Our Lord, following his sweet footsteps, uniting myself closely with Him by this means, they had in a great way my heart tight and penetrated it by a grave wound"

Upon the death of her Uncle, Carvajal fought a legal battle with her brother over their inheritance. Carvajal would obtain the inheritance, however, she decided to give the money to Jesuit priests. Although she grew up in an elite and aristocratic home, she refused these privileges and rather lived a humble life centered on spirituality.

In 1601 while living in Valladolid, a region of Spain known for the popularity of active religious women[12], she lived near a Jesuit English College, which trained men to become priests. She was able to meet and read some of the works written by Jesuit priest, fueling her cause of Martyrdom and proselytization.[13] Carvajal's interest in Catholicism began with the idea of Martyrdom. Becoming a martyr she felt served a double purpose. One of forgive one of their sins and second to die for Christ.[14] This decision would open the doors for her to move to England .[15].

Relationship with Magdalena de San Jeronimo[edit]

Records of Carvajal's letter demonstrate that the majority of her letters and conversations were with Magdalena de San Jeronimo. The theme of their conversations largely dealt with the political situation of Catholics in England and Spain.[16] Carvajal and San Jeronimo had been great friends, however, as hostility grew for Catholics in England, San Jeronimo began to become a skeptic about Carvajal's stay in England and pleaded her to return to Spain, this in response would create tension between the two. In one of her letters, Carvajal lists the reasons as to why she wants to stay in England even though San Jeronimo and others urge her to come back:

Here is an excerpt from a letter written by Carvajal to San Jeronimo in March 1606:

And as to my return , your letters and your good company are very tempting, but I dare not leave without entrusting it more to Our Lord, for I fear defying his will, and do not yet find or base any good reason in his will for my return as I did for my departure" (Letter 46, Epistolario y Poesias, 165).

San Jeronimo would stop writing to Carvajal in 1607, thus ending their friendship. What we know of San Jeronimo after her friendship with Carvajal was that she started a female prison or Galera which was built for female delinquents and prostitutes.[17] In a sense, it was similar to a rehabilitation center, where those women would be released as religious women or married.

Life in London[edit]

On January 24th, 1605 Carvajal made her way out of Valladolid to London. Father Henry Garnet had arranged the arrival of Carvajal to England and she would arrive late 1605 prior to the Gunpower Plot.[18] Heightened anti-semitism at this against Catholics was on the rise and this had been caused by the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Gunpowder Plot[edit]

The Gunpowder Plot on the evening of November 5th, 1605 was a failed plot by Catholics to overthrow the Protestant government by replacing it with Catholic rule. This had come as a result that under Queen Elizabeth I reign, great amounts of priest and Catholics had been assassinated and persecuted for not conforming to the Church of England. The failed plot stirred great anti-catholic sentiment in England. Just six months after Carvajal had arrived in England, Garnet would be executed for knowing information about Catholic uprising plans against the English government.[19] Carvajal arrived in England in 1605 with the sole purpose of converting Anglicans to Catholicism and she was willing to die as a martyr for this cause.

Beaterio/ Society of the Sovereign Virgin Mary our Lady[edit]

Carvajal worked in London as a teacher, missionary, and leader in charitable service to the poor such as taking care of the sick, helping prostitutes obtain a better life in England. She frequented prisons where she would visit imprisoned priests to encourage them to continue fighting for the Catholic cause. She would also through needling obtain money to give to the poor and would distribute Catholic literature throughout England and abroad.[20]. In addition, Carvajal along with five other women lived together which would be named the Society of the Sovereign Virgin Mary our Lady. Women in this society would oblige in a life of fervent prayer and "were committed to violent and fortunate death for the confession of the holy Catholic faith".[21] and would refer to them as "Soldier maidens".[22] Carvajal's society had similarities to a convent such as women's dressing

The Body and Spirituality[edit]

Deaths of priests had a symbolic effect on Carvajal. When these men died, she tried to save as many body parts as she could. These body parts would be taken to her home, where they would be ritualized. This was done to commemorate those who died for Christ and Catholicism and to remember the sacrifice of Jesus.

Imprisonments[edit]

First Imprisonment[edit]

Her first imprisonment occurred in June 1608. While in Cheapside, she began to proselytize about the virtues of Catholicism in great length.[23] On a street she began arguing with citizens defending Catholicism as the true religion. This led to her arrestment of her and two of her friends and would remain jailed for four days. She was able to be released by obtaining help from the Spanish ambassador Pedro de Zuñiga, however, Zuñiga begged her to leave London and return to Spain to which she declined.

Second Imprisonment[edit]

Carvajal's second imprisonment would occur on October 28th, 1613 as a sheriff broke into her home and arrested her. This would create a diplomatic conflict, as the King wanted to maintain peace with Spain. Once again, the Spanish Ambassador, this time Diego Sarmiento de Acuña managed to set her free after being imprisoned for three days. This time, however, she was forced to leave England. Sarmiento obtained her custody and did not deport her immediately to Spain; she stayed at the Spanish Embassy.[24] Shortly after her release from prison, Carvajal would pass away from illness.

Death[edit]

Shortly after being released from her second imprisonment, Carvajal became ill. Resulting in her death exactly on her 48th birthday in 1614. [25] She died in London, England in the Spanish embassy. Immediately after her death, friends and priests began to circulate her life story throughout Europe with hopes of having Carvajal beatified. However, there has been a great deal of controversy regarding Carvajal's death. Since Carvajal died from a bronchial illness, meaning that she was not directly assassinated for her faith, this disqualifies her from being considered a martyr. Due to the fact that Carvajal was not a nun, the process of getting recognized also made it difficult. In addition, her will stated that her remains should stay in England, the place God had called her to preach in, however, Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, was ordered by King Phillip III so send her remains sent to Madrid, where they lay in the Royal Monastery of la Encarnación to this day.

Letters and Literary Works[edit]

Records show that Carvajal left 50 spiritual poems and over 150 letters [26][27][28][29] Her poetry ranges from different styles such as Pastoral Poetry to sonnets. Carvajal's letters depict the ongoing political turmoil Catholics were facing in England at the time. Her letters contain extensive descriptions of her daily life living in England to friends and family as well as pleading for spiritual strength and prayers. The most frequent correspondents of Carvajal were Magdalena de San Jeronimo and Ines de la Asuncion.

External Links[edit]

Luisa Carvajal y Mendoza

References[edit]

Canteli, María J. Pando. “TENTANDO VADOS: The Martyrdom Politics of Luisa De Carvajal y Mendoza.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, vol. 10, no. 1, 2010, pp. 117–141. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23267355.

Carvajal y Mendoza, Luisa de. The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe. The Toronto Series. Translated by Anne J. Cruz. Vol. 29, The Life and Writings of Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza. Toronto: Iter Inc. :, 2014.

Cruz, Anne J. “Words Made Flesh: Luisa De Carvajal’s Eucharistic Poetry.” Studies on Women's Poetry of the Golden Age: Tras El Espejo La Musa Escribe, edited by Julián Olivares, NED - New edition ed., Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, Suffolk; Rochester, NY, 2009, pp. 255–269. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdq3t.17.

G. Allen; Letters of Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, ed. Glyn Redworth and Christopher J. Henstock, The English Historical Review, Volume 129, Issue 536, 1 February 2014, Pages 203–204, https://doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cet339

Holloway, Anne. “‘Con La Pastoril Zamarra Cubierta’: The Spiritual Poetry of Luisa De Carvajal y Mendoza.” The Potency of Pastoral in the Hispanic Baroque, NED - New edition ed., Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK; Rochester NY, USA, 2017, pp. 75–120. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt1kgqstf.6.

Rees, Owen. “Luisa De Carvajal y Mendoza and Music in an English Catholic House in 1605.” Essays on the History of English Music in Honour of John Caldwell: Sources, Style, Performance, Historiography, edited by Emma Hornby and David Maw, NED - New edition ed., Boydell and Brewer, 2010, pp. 270–280. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdhjd.20.

Rhodes, Elizabeth. “Luisa De Carvajal's Counter-Reformation Journey to Selfhood (1566-1614).” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 51, no. 3, 1998, pp. 887–911. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2901749.

Rhodes, Elizabeth. This tight Embrace. Milwaukee: Marquette University, 2000.

Warren, Nancy Bradley. The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700. Reformations. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucm/detail.action?docid=3571202.

Wiesner, Merry E. New Approaches to European History. 3rd ed. Vol. 41, Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Magdalena de San Jeronimo: http://www.biblioteca.unlpam.edu.ar/pubpdf/aljaba/v05a09lagunas.pdf.1

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe. The Toronto Series, trans. Anne J. Cruz, vol. 29, The Life and Writings of Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza (Toronto: Iter Inc. :, 2014),1.
  2. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000),1. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  3. ^ Merry E. Wiesner, New Approaches to European History, 3rd ed., vol. 41, Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 226,Published Book
  4. ^ Elizabeth Rhodes, “Luisa de Carvajal's Counter-Reformation Journey to Selfhood (1566-1614),” Renaissance Quarterly 51, no. 3 (Autumn, 1998): 887-911, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2901749, 890.
  5. ^ Nancy Bradley Warren, The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700, Reformations (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 117. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucm/detail.action?docid=3571202,
  6. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000), 3. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061.
  7. ^ Owen Rees, “Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza and Music in an English Catholic House in 1605,” Boydell and Brewer (2010), http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdhjd.20. 271.
  8. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000), 6, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061.
  9. ^ Elizabeth Rhodes, “Luisa de Carvajal's Counter-Reformation Journey to Selfhood (1566-1614),” Renaissance Quarterly 51, no. 3 (Autumn, 1998): 887-911, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2901749, 895.
  10. ^ "Reformation Texts with Translation". Marquette University Press. Retrieved 24 February 2013
  11. ^ Nancy Bradley Warren, The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700, Reformations (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 118, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucm/detail.action?docid=3571202.
  12. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000),12. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  13. ^ Owen Rees, “Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza and Music in an English Catholic House in 1605,” Boydell and Brewer (2010), http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdhjd.20. 271.
  14. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000), 4. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  15. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000), 12. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  16. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe. The Toronto Series, trans. Anne J. Cruz, vol. 29, The Life and Writings of Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza (Toronto: Iter Inc. :, 2014), 201.
  17. ^ http://www.biblioteca.unlpam.edu.ar/pubpdf/aljaba/v05a09lagunas.pdf.1.
  18. ^ Owen Rees, “Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza and Music in an English Catholic House in 1605,” Boydell and Brewer (2010), http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdhjd.20. 271.
  19. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe. The Toronto Series, trans. Anne J. Cruz, vol. 29, The Life and Writings of Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza (Toronto: Iter Inc. :, 2014), 68.
  20. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000),21. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  21. ^ Nancy Bradley Warren, The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700, Reformations (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 137, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucm/detail.action?docid=3571202
  22. ^ Nancy Bradley Warren, The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700, Reformations (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 137, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucm/detail.action?docid=3571202
  23. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000), 26, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  24. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000),28. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  25. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000), 29. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  26. ^ Maria Pando Canteli, “Tentando Vados: the Martyrdom Politics of Luisa Carvajal y Mendoza,” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 10, no. 1 (Spring/ Summer 2010): 117-41, http://www.jstor.org/stable/23267355. 121.
  27. ^ HOLLOWAY, ANNE. “‘Con La Pastoril Zamarra Cubierta’: The Spiritual Poetry of Luisa De Carvajal y Mendoza.” The Potency of Pastoral in the Hispanic Baroque, NED - New edition ed., Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK; Rochester NY, USA, 2017, pp. 75–120. JSTOR
  28. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000),221. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061
  29. ^ Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Reformation Texts with Translation (1350-1650). Women of the Reformation, trans. Elizabeth Rhodes, vol. 2, This Tight Embrace (Milwaukee Wisc.: Marquette University Press, 2000),124. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docid=3017061