|Author(s)||Ana da Cruz|
|Addressee(s)||António de Santa Catarina|
Note from Ana da Cruz to António de Santa Catarina, a priest.
The author explains to the addressee how she wanted to have him as her spiritual guide. Unfortunately, her confessor disagrees with the arrangement.
Father Bernardo da Silva Amaral was a priest who lived in Pernambuco (Brazil), although he was born in Lisbon. He was arrested in Recife in 1772, when he was 46 years old, under the suspicion of having made heretic propositions and of abusing women ("solicitação"). Several women testified against him. They said he used to teach that neither kisses, hugs or caresses were sins, they were rather a way of serving God, so he kissed, hugged and caressed them. He was accused of going to bed with several of them, sometimes mother and daughter at the same time, and was also seen bathing with them. Most of the private letters used as exhibits against him were exchanged between this priest and the mother and daughter pair. The letters exchanged with the mother are partly in cipher, but the court could not force the defendant to explain how to decode them.
«Venerable father and sir,
I was told you were here and my sister and I were at the church. I talked to the Father as you told me to and I firstly did what you told me, to ask Our Lord to inspire me in his divine will. I wished I could continue as before, you being the director and the Father the confessor. However, Father doesn’t want to and I didn’t wish to consecrate him confessor. I know very well that you are ready for it. Now, this is the remedy: we forget it, as long as you see whether it is inconvenient or not. If I leave this place one day, I shall take advantage and Our Lord will be the one to repay you all the good you wish me. I wish I didn’t have to talk about this with Father. I am sure he wouldn’t consent on it. However, to obey you, I did. And, as for the rest, I am ready to take your instructions.
Your servant, Ana da Cruz»