A brief note about the life of Catalina de Erauso, the “lieutenant nun.”. Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World is Catalina de Erauso’s memoir about her experiences during the early s in Spain and. Lieutenant Nun is an autobiography that was written by Catalina de Erauso list of the characters in Lieutenant Nun and in-depth analyses of and Catalina.

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Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun – HeadStuff

The stories of the nun-ensign fit both aspects of the literary tradition. This is her story. The story of Catalina de Erauso had been an inspiration. He was taken back to the ranch and nursed d to health by the owner, a Native American widow. There she met a doctor and professor Mr.

She also gained an amnesty from the laws against wearing male clothing. Following a review by catwlina group of matrons, they determined it was true that she was a woman and a virgin, the bishop protected her and she was sent to Spain.

She worked in the Peruvian town of Trujillo in a store, but had to leave after injuring a relative of her employer in a duel.

She even claimed to have fried out and flattened her breasts with a certain ointment. Some have thought she committed suicide; there is certainly the possibility that she again fled in order to establish a new identity, since much of her life had been a struggle to maintain autonomy and anonymity.

His Holiness [Pope Urban VIII ] was clearly amazed at my story and graciously gave me leave to go on wearing men’s clothes, urging me to live upright in the future, to avoid injuring my neighbor, and to fear God’s vengeance respecting His commandment—Thou shalt not kill.

Imprisoned for feuding with a fellow novice this was to become a habit for hershe stole the convent keys, then emulated the likes of Joan of Arc and Hua Mulan by running away, cutting her hair short, and disguising herself as a man.


History remembers her as many things: Equally warlike and amorous, Catalina de Erauso was a warrior and adventurer of the 17th century whose mystique has only ripened with age. An encounter with his father who was searching for him, but failed to see through his disguise rattled his confidence, while a spell in jail for fighting nearly exposed his secret.

When Catalina returned to Spain crowds of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the Lieutenant Nun. The daughter of a prominent 16th-century Spanish military family many of whom were colonizers of the AmericasCatalina de Erauso was born on the craggy coastline of Basque Country in the town of San Sebastian.

Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. She returned to New Spain inusing the name Antonio de Erauso, where she worked as a mule driver on the road from Veracruz.

Subscribe to our newsletter. It is also true that the picaresque evolved out of the real adventures of people who revolted against the social strictures of a highly structured society and survived by their wits and agility. She went to the fight with another person, and in the fight the man’s friend was killed.

Catalina seems to have been a fairly personable fellow, as he never had any difficulty finding work and seems to have aways done well at it. These records from her appeal preserve a great deal of the verifiable information about her. There is little doubt that her story has been enhanced, and that the “nun-ensign” is now the stuff of legend. Here as elsewhere, she was a solitary soul, as well as a fierce patriot and soldier, and during this period she was seemingly quite happy.

Home Women Encyclopedias almanacs transcripts and maps Erauso, Catalina de — Several sailors died there because of the weather. She eventually entered into a convent in Lima after confessing her sex to a bishop.

Erauso, Catalina de (1592–1635)

Sir, all this I have told your Lordship is not so. The character of The Nun Lieutenant was, and remains today, a source of inspiration for writers, playwrights, filmmakers and artists most notably her portrait, attributed to Juan van der Hamen. In English, the memoir is available through the Early Americas Digital Archive ; the translation, by Dan Harvey Pedrick, can be accessed by clicking here.


However, after mistakenly killing her own brother Captain Miguel de Erauso Catalina deserted the army and fled towards Peru. Then they were translated into several languages and versions of the theme, as idealized by Thomas De Quincey, entitled The Ensign Nun in English.

She took the book. Her father was a soldier, serving in Flanders, when he was gravely wounded in battle and made a vow to the Virgin of Atocha.

Once back in Europe, however, somewhat worried about the state of her soul, she determined to travel to Rome in search of religious guidance. From the abbeys and squares of Spain to the outposts and wilds of the Americas, she earned her epithet of La Monja Alferez: The book was published in France in under the title of The Nun Lieutenant. See more of his writing and blogging at www.

At age 19, she embarked for Mexico, dreaming of the conquest and conversion of “heathen” Indians to Christianity by means of the sword.

Her father was an officer in the Spanish army, and from an early age Catalina wanted nothing more than to also be a soldier. Her past adventures were given the blessing of the Vatican, and she received the pope’s authorization to dress in men’s clothing whenever she wished. Nothing if not bold, she petitioned the king for reimbursement for services rendered as a soldier.

There is no surviving manuscript, nor is there any copy of a supposed seventeenth-century printed edition.