Date(s) - 15/10/2019
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Carmelite Library


October Spiritual Reading Group: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz with Emily Frazer

Meet ‘The Tenth Muse’ Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

Come and join us in a discussion about The Tenth Muse, the ‘Mexican Phoenix’ of Latin America, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a seventeenth -century nun, a survivor of The Spanish Inquisition, a feminist, an intellectual, a poet who spent the last years of her short life banned from her books, her writings and all intellectual life. Why and how did this happen to a woman, a nun, and a poet so intellectually praised and celebrated during her lifetime?   In this discussion we will reflect upon:

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz as Latin American poet, playwright, writer of theological, philosophical and scientific treatises, self-taught musician and songwriter and music theorist. Sor Juana is also considered to have written the first feminist manifesto.

Sor Juana as illegitimate child and child prodigy – what it was like for her growing up without a father. This amazing child who learnt how to read at three-years-old and could master Latin and reading most of her grandfather’s library before her mid-teens.

As I will never be a woman
who as wife may serve a man
I know only that my body,
not to either state inclined,
is neuter, abstract, guardian
of only what my soul consigns.
–          Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Romance 48
Featured in Sor Juana, or, The Traps of Faith by Octavio Paz (p. 221)


·         We will delve into and explore the research conducted by Nobel Prize winning laureate Octavio Paz in his historical work, Sor Juana, or, The Traps of Faith (1988). We will look at his Harvard University research that he presented on Sor Juana and on life in Seventeenth-Century New Spain.

·         Ultimately we will explore the lifetime of this celebrated nun of the Order of Saint Jerome. We will look at her intellectualism, explore the books she read in her personal library of 4000 titles, and look at her poems and plays and how these secular writings waged a feministic war against the clerics of her age, where because of her womanhood and her passion for learning, she ultimately paid the price.

Through a rare privilege
and notable exception,
God granted to the Will
the right to take free action
(in acting for free choice,
which works to good or ill,
influence cannot force,
but predispose, the Will),
and the rest must fall to you,
whose influence conjoined
to some brings misery
and some exalts with joy.
–          Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Loa V (378)
Written for the Celebration of the Birthday of Charles II
Featured in Sor Juana, or, The Traps of Faith BBy Octavio Paz (p. 206-207)

Emily Frazer has just been received into the Melbourne Lay Carmelites Community. She has a special interest in all things Carmelite and loves to write and share her interest with all.

Please book using the form below and pay cash at the door.


Bookings are closed for this event.