Like many nuns in the Viceregal period, Catalina de Jesús Herrera (1717-1795) wrote a private narrative which recorded her own spiritual growth. Its initial audience was her confessor, Father Tomás de Rosario Corrales, who may have used the narrative to understand, and then to guide, her spiritual development. But, beyond this, Catalina de Jesús' work, part diary, part autobiography, part reverie, distinguishes itself from other nuns' writings of the period for its vivid imagery and frank style.
Visual Culture
In this passage, the Dominican nun Catalina de Jesús Herrera (1717-1795) writes of her dreams. In a part of this section not included here, she wanders through a house she has visited before and sees the sinners caught in the devil's snares, among them monks and priests. She herself is almost trapped, but escapes. In the pre-Freudian world of 18th-century Quito, Catalina de Jesús understands her dream of the house of horrors as a message directly from God to point out to her correct path of conduct. It shows the power visual imagery--even coming from dreams--had in the inner lives of many Spanish Americans.

Library > 16th Century    > 17th Century    > 18th Century