Discipline, Vocation, and Patronage: Spanish Religious Women in a Tridentine Microclimate

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1999

Publication Title

Sixteenth Century Journal


This article analyzes the impact of Trent in Valladolid through the three lenses that defined the experience of female religious: monastic discipline, vocation, and patronage. The letter of Trent, particularly its insistence on near-universal female monastic claustration, was efficiently imparted in codes of discipline like the constitutions of religious orders. The presence of a diversity of religious vocations in the city and the support that these found among local patrons, however, betray a spirit of Trent that was the product of local interpretation. In fact, enclosure was not universally enforced. Significantly, in an era that witnessed a renewed emphasis on the sacraments and the sacramental powers of male clergy, the citizens of Valladolid founded twice as many female as male foundations in the Tridentine era. This evidence suggests that Valladolid was home to an ambivalent religious climate where the orthodoxy of Trent was unevenly encountered.

Original Citation

Lehfeldt, E. A. (December 01, 1999). Discipline, vocation, and patronage: Spanish religious women in a Tridentine microclimate. Sixteenth Century Journal, 30 (4), 1009-1030.