Madre Maria de San Jose (1656 - 1719)—mystic, chronicler, and co-founder of an Augustinian convent—inscribed her life story within the model of spiritual autobiography set by St. Augustine and Teresa of Avila, but at the same time included her individual story as a seventeenth-century woman of the landowning classes in New Spain. The resulting manuscript records in intimate detail her family life, convent surroundings, and social milieu; it introduces us to a combative and engaging person and gives us a rare and vivid glimpse of a complex society.
Chapter One: Maria de San Jose's World
I. The Palacio-Berruecos Family and the Hacienda Santa Cruz
Religious Vocation and Family Relationships
II. Convent Life
The Spiritual Journey
Chapter Two: Gender, Tradition, and Autobiographical Spiritual Writings
The Tradition of Women's Visionary Writings
Imitation, Models, and Training
Maria de San Jose and Her Confessors
Narrative and Rhetorical Strategies
Men's and Women's "Vidas"
Appendix A: The History of Maria de San Jose's Writing Career
Appendix B: Outline of Volumes I-XII and a Chronology
Appendix C: Short Facsimile Selections of Maria de San Jose's Manuscripts