|Teresa de Jesus Faria
|Ana Maria de Jesus
Request letter from Teresa de Jesus Faria, a slave, to Ana Maria de Jesus, a nun.
The author tells the addressee how distressed she is because she cannot find her confessor. She asks for sound information on his whereabouts.
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.
«Praised be the Lord,
Madam nun, Saturday night I went there to talk to you. I wasn’t lucky to find you at home, and I am certainly very disappointed. I tried many times to talk to Our Father Master. I never found him home. Madam Clara sent me. She says he is away and she doesn’t know when he is coming back, but she thought he would return after the Holy Week. I would know it for sure. Since I can’t find him home, someone told me when I knocked on the stairs: «These people have already moved to the woods! Only the woman remains there!» I was so disappointed and anguished that I can’t explain how I am, since I was very pleased to have Our Father Master as my confessor. Now I am told he left. I want you to tell me, for once, whether it is departure is for sure. But I don’t know how. I still haven’t confessed for the Lent, and I have no one to confess myself to. I tell you with certainty that I am not well without Our Father Master. Let me know how this goes. I want to know what I can do, because I don’t even know how I am. Madam Antónia, many greetings to you come visit me soon. The same to Madam Clara and the girls. May Go keep you for many years. May He give me life to serve you many times. From your servant and maid.
Teresa de Jesus Faria»
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