Folio (31.2 cms. x 21.6 cms.), 1 sheet. Watermark of a cross within a shield with, below, the letter R.
An interesting document for Mexican convent economics and the lives of nuns. A 3,000 pesos dowry of a novice, one Magdalena de San Juan, legitimate daughter of Jácome Alfonso and Francisca de Arévalo (both deceased), is to be paid to the (Hieronymite) Convent of St. Jerome (and St. Paula) of Mexico City. The nun was to receive 700 pesos to have for the rest of her life, with any left over to return to the monastery on her death. 3,000 pesos in 1620 was probably on the upper end of what was an entry charge to a convent (A. Lavrin, ‘Brides of Christ, conventual life in colonial Mexico’, Stanford, 2008, p. 24). The majority of Mexico’s women religious where members of the mostly white colonial elite and the size of the dowry suggests that Sor Magdalena was one of them. Permission for the present agreement was given by the Archbishop of Mexico, Juan Pérez de la Serna (1573-1631). This prelate helped to establish the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and faced tensions between white creoles and Spaniards, and between secular and religious clergy which led to a rebellion in 1624. The present document is also signed, by royal notary Andrés Moreno (active 1591-1640). The Hieronymite Convent of St. Jerome and St. Paula of Mexico City was founded in 1585. Between 1669 and 1695 it housed the poet and scholar Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz.