Catalina de Erauso



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Few characters born in San Sebastián are as extraordinary and interesting as Catalina de Erauso, to whom Juan Pérez de Montalbán gave the nickname by which she was known: “The Lieutenant Nun”. It was said of her “to carry the sword as bravely as life” and was a conqueror, servant, thief, maid, merchant, hitman, confessed murderer of at least ten men, novice, virgin and rebel. He lived on the razor’s edge almost all his life, having great fame on two continents.

A woman born in 1592 and baptized in the Church of San Vicente (so she was a koxkera), spent more than a decade in the Dominican convent of San Sebastián el Antiguo and then cloistered in that of San Bartolome. There she was mistreated by the nuns, until she got tired of all and escaped. From that moment and during the rest of her life, Catalina de Erauso dressed in men’s clothes and dedicated herself to discover the world in a way that she was not allowed. After wander around Euskal Herria, meeting his parents who did not recognize her, she ended up embarking to America.

(Photo: Patrimonio nacional/ San Sebastian in those days)

We could write a lot about her adventures in America. Of the men she killed in duels, of the lady she avenged with a barber’s razor or how she reached the rank of Alferez during the conquest of Chile. But we prefer to reserve that pleasure for you, so you discover the very interesting life of the Alferez nun, baptized as Catalina de Erauso but who also signed as Antonio de Erauso from the moment that Pope Urban VIII gave her permission to maintain her masculine identity. Today The Lieutenant Nun is for many an icon, a rebel who faced a world whose rules refused to comply and a character worthy of a novel.