Would you joined a nunnery in order to pursue education?
That is essentially what Juana Ines of Mexico did. Born to an unwed mother, Juana was sent to be raised by her grandfather on his hacienda.
There, she was taught to read at the age of 3 and to speak and read Latin by the age of 5. She was often caught sneaking into the estate library, which was forbidden for women to read and study any books she could find. She had a love of learning, especially poetry and was writing her own poetry by the age of 8.
By her adolescents she taught herself Greek and Aztec, was being tested by well-known and well taught scholars and was beginning to create a buzz among the scholarly crowd.
Her desire for more knowledge was so strong that she begged her mom to allow her to dress like a man so that she could attend a university. When that wasn't allowed, she turned to nunnery.
As a sister she had more time to study and write. The monastery had an open library from which she had full access to. There she created many writings including several controversial pieces that proposed women should be allowed to gain an education.
The church was not pleased with such writings and one bishop tried to publicly shame her by publishing her criticisms of a priests under a different pseudonym.
One of her clever responses to the opposition that women do not belong in universities but in the home only was, "one can perfectly well philosophize while cooking supper."
Although she never renounced her claims in her works as the church demanded, she did stop writing for a time in order to avoid being censured.
The dedication of Juana to the search for knowledge and truth is inspiring and stands as a testament to the power earnest study can have in your life. And proves that questions, even in the gospel, can be helpful and foster growth.
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