Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a most imaginative woman of enduring beauty and intellectual prowess. She held court with the famous and waited patiently for Prince Charming all the while impressing those around her with her powers of intuition and discernment.
As she waited in the court, it dawned upon her that there must be more to life than sitting around concerning herself with the vanity of all vanities — her beauty. After all, she was smart and she could hold her own in any of the conversations held in the court.
After much thought, she decided to leave the security of the king’s court and dedicate her life to the pursuit of knowledge and generosity. She put severe restrictions on her time so she could study.
She restricted her diet so she would not be “dull of mind” and reminded herself that the talents and abilities she possessed were a gift from God.
The gifts increased her fortune and she shared generously with others and her influence grew throughout the kingdom. Many were amazed and thankful for her kind generosity but others mocked her simple and seemingly unrewarding lifestyle. But she persisted and found much joy and peace in using her gifts to help others.
She soon was swept away by the richness of a simple and frugal life and decided to sell off her fortune to make the lives of the poor and impoverished more tolerable. More than a few people were repulsed at her lack of judiciousness and common sense, but she would not have it any other way.
One day, her sisters became very sick and she was heartbroken, so she spent the rest of her days caring for her dying sisters and eventually became sick and died herself.
And so it was for Sor Juana Ines’ de la Cruz.
A life dedicated to more than what was just expected of her, and a story I share with students who I hope will do the same.
At least that’s what I think.