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Alone at the AltarSingle Women and Devotion in Guatemala, 1670-1870$
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Brianna Leavitt-Alcántara

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781503603684

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503603684.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Sex, Honor, and Devotion

Sex, Honor, and Devotion

(p.72) Chapter Three Sex, Honor, and Devotion
Alone at the Altar

Brianna Leavitt-Alcántara

Stanford University Press

Chapter 3 traces how non-elite single women navigated their moral status and developed alliances with the Catholic Church in the shifting religious landscape between 1700 and 1770. Although scholars have examined the ways in which elite women in colonial Spanish America took advantage of loopholes and the distance between public honor and private sexual matters, the experiences of non-elite women remain unclear. Wills highlight how laboring unmarried women invoked feminine ideals other than chastity and enclosure through their enthusiastic participation in confraternities and Third Orders, contributions to the spiritual economy as pious benefactors, and complex alliances with local priests. Much as scholars recognize that race in colonial Latin America was a flexible category and individuals might count multiple racial identities simultaneously or change their racial identity over time, these findings illustrate how poor single women took advantage of alternative feminine ideals and claimed moral status within their communities.

Keywords:   wills, single women, honor, confraternities, Third Order, Guatemala, spiritual economy, Catholic Church, laywomen, gender

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