A Heart Unloosed

On the Mexican 200-peso note, in place of the usual frock-coated revolutionary leaders and be-feathered Aztec potentates, is a portrait of a woman, wearing the cowl of a nun.

She’s an attractive woman, but with a gaze that’s steady, even stern: she doesn’t look patient, or particularly warm, but her face is decorating a piece of currency, so you have to think she might be someone worth knowing.

That woman is Sor Juana, Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Hieronymite nun, and one of the greatest minds of the 17th century.

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