Hola From Tenerife

Subscribe to our free newsletter to get an (ir)regular ray of Tenerife sunshine in your inbox. Just enter your email address below.

Delivered by FeedBurner

Close

COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Even with the start of the 'new normality' on 21 June 2020, popular fiestas and most large gatherings and events are still prohibited and social distancing guidelines still in force. Dates listed on this site, therefore, are still subject to cancellation or change and we will update, where we can, when any new information is made available.

Please follow our facebook page for more updates >>

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Tenerife Women

On the right, above the archway, is the small opening from where, it is said,
Sister Ursula, enclosed in the convent, watched church services for the rest of her life.


Sister Ursula's Forbidden Lover

The first story relates to something in the church attached to the Convento de las Catalinas, opposite the Plaza del Adelantado, on the Calle Nava y Grimon in La Laguna. To the right of the main altar, above an archway, is a small opening or window that allows a person enclosed in the room behind to attend mass. Tradition links this opening to an event that occurred in the year 1651, when Jerónimo de Grimón y Rojas, the son of the owners of the house now known as the Palacio de Nava (Nava Palace), the grey stone building next door to the Santa Catalina Convent, ran away with his lover, Sor Úrsula de San Pedro (Sister Ursula of Saint Peter), a nun from the said convent.

The couple had tried to leave the island in an English ship anchored in the bay of Santa Cruz, for which she was disguised as a page, but just before sailing, they were discovered by the forces of the law. Sister Ursula was sent back to the convent and the unfortunate Jerónimo was accused of abduction of a nun and condemned to death. The sentence was carried out in the spring of that year and Sister Ursula was obliged to witness the execution, which took place in the Plaza del Adelantado, from the Ajimez (tower) of the convent.

The head of her lover was stuck on a spike and put on display in the Plaza del Adelantado as a chastisement to the public, for several days. From then, enclosed in the religious order for life, Sister Ursula's only contact with the world outside the cloisters of the convent was to witness church services via that small window above the arch, beside the altar.

The story of Catalina Lercaro

The other tale has become a well-known La Laguna legend. Catalina Lercaro was the daughter of one of the most powerful families in Tenerife: the family of Lercaro-Justiniani of Genoese origin, whose palace in La Laguna, the Casa Lercaro, is now the Museo de Historia y Antropología de Tenerife (Museum of History and Anthropology of Tenerife)

In the rear patio of the palace, one can still see the curbstone of an old well - the well is now non-existent or has been filled in - down which the young girl is said to have thrown herself, rather than have to consummate the marriage that her father arranged for her with a much older man, who it appears was a slave trader. Legend also says that she was interred in this same patio, because, having committed suicide, she was not entitled to a sacred burial. Further, there are many who claim that the ghost of the disgraced Catalina still walks abroad in the old mansion in which she lived and died.

These two stories give us a very clear image of the situation of women in Spanish and Canarian society from the 16th to 18th Centuries, when the only thing girls were prepared for was a marriage (that was usually little more than a "business contract"), passed from the guardianship of father to husband. Women in that era were expected to be obedient, chaste, retiring, shameful and modest, as well as quiet and to be locked away inside homes, always dependent upon a man. Yet marriage was still preferable to spinsterhood, which was seen as the failure of the woman, the only solution to which was that they should profess their "calling" and join a convent, forever, which very few ever escaped.

No comments:

Tenerife Topics

Adeje Almond Flower Route April in Tenerife Arafo Arico Arona Auditorio de Tenerife August in Tenerife Buenavista del Norte Canarian Cuisine Canaries Day Candelaria Carnival 2004 Carnival 2005 Carnival 2006 Carnival 2007 Carnival 2008 Carnival 2009 Carnival 2010 Carnival 2011 Carnival 2012 Carnival 2013 Carnival 2014 Carnival 2015 Carnival 2016 Carnival 2017 Carnival 2018 Carnival 2019 Carnival 2020 Carnival 2021 Carnival 2022 Carnival Queen Santa Cruz Carnivals of the World Chinyero Christmas in Tenerife Christopher Columbus Comparsas Corpus Christi COVID-19 Craft Fairs December in Tenerife Easter in Tenerife El Rosario El Sauzal El Tanque Epidemics in Tenerife Farmers Markets Fasnia February in Tenerife Fiestas El Palmar Flavours of Christmas Garachico Granadilla de Abona Guía de Isora Güímar History of Carnival History of Tenerife Icod de los Vinos Innocent Saints January in Tenerife July in Tenerife June in Tenerife Junior Carnival Queen La Guancha La Matanza de Acentejo La Orotava La Victoria Las Burras de Güímar Los Cristianos Los Cristianos Carnival Los Gigantes Los Gigantes Carnival Los Indianos Los Realejos Los Reyes Los Silos March in Tenerife May in Tenerife Municipal Holidays Municipalities Fiestas Nelson's Attack on Santa Cruz 25 Jul 1797 November in Tenerife October in Tenerife Public Holidays Puerto de la Cruz Puerto de la Cruz Carnival Recipes for All Saints Day Romerías San Andrés San Antonio Abad San Cristóbal de La Laguna San Juan de la Rambla San Miguel de Abona Santa Cruz de Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Themes Santa Úrsula Santiago del Teide Senior Carnival Queen September in Tenerife Simón Bolívar Tacoronte Tegueste Tenerife Carnival Dates Tenerife Disaster Tenerife Fire Tenerife Month by Month Tenerife Museums tenerife prostitution sex escorts Tenerife Rally Tenerife Weather Tenerife Wines Teno Rural Park This Is Tenerife (TIT) Traditional Fiestas Tropical Storm Delta Vilaflor