Spanish nun Juana Vázquez Gutiérrez,
known as Venerable Juana de la Cruz
Juana was born to farmers in the Spanish village of Azaña (today: Numancia de la Sagra) in Spain on May 3, 1481. She would later tell her community that God had been originally fashioning her as a male in the womb of her mother, but upon the intervention of the Blessed Virgin, she was changed into a female. As proof of this miracle, Juana pointed to her Adam’s Apple (in Spanish “nuez … en la garganta,” literally “nut in the throat”), as evidence of divine intervention. By the time she was 15, her family had identified a man to espouse her, but Juana would have nothing of this plan. Instead, she dressed in men’s clothing and fled her family home, walking to a community of women religious to begin a new life for herself. Each March, Christians continue to recreate her journey annually, pilgrimaging to Cubas de la Sagra (near Madrid) to visit the convent of “Santa Juana” -- officially known as the Convent of Santa María de la Cruz. - Source
I posted about a 'trans' saint on my Tumblr blog - just because I was writing about the subject yesterday here.
I spent too much time on the subject, but I came across this story on Venerable Juana de la Cruz. I found it on a gay blog - I think the information is reliable - but I'm not sure about the interpretation of Juana's writings are accurate. Nevertheless, I wanted to add this to the transgender posts I've done from time to time. As a man I can understand a woman wanting to be a man - but I cannot understand why a man would want to be a woman. Not that there is anything wrong with women. (I'm digging a hole here, aren't I.)
More on Madre Juana
In 1497 Juana professed as a member of the Franciscan sisters there in Cubas, Spain. By 1509, Juana was elected as Abbess of the community and became “Mother Juana.” Her community was unique in that it maintained a parish church and appointed its priest. Juana prudently appointed her own brother. Even more unique was Juana’s role in preaching lengthy locutions, giving detailed elaborations of Bible events and Jesus’ and Mary’s lives. These sermons were eventually collected in the book, El Libro del Conorte. It speaks to Juana’s personal charisma and vision, that in the midst of the Inquisition, she was both preaching and exercising oversight of a parish. To her credit, she sagely named God as the source and inspiration of her sermons, thereby placing the inquisitors in the position whereby if they questioned her, they were questioning God as well.
In one of Juana’s sermons, Jesus says: “And all those who seek in me a father, will find in me a father. And those who seek in me a mother, will find in me a mother. And those who seek in me a husband, will find in me a husband. And those who seek in me a bride, will find in me a bride. And those who seek in me a brother, or a friend, or a neighbor, or a companion, likewise will find in me everything they desire…”
[“E todos los que me quisieredes en padre, en padre me fallares. E los que me quisieredes en madre, en madre me falleres. E los que me quisieren en esposo, en esposo me fallaran. E los que me quisieren en esposa, en esposa me fallaran. E los que me quisieren en hermano o en amigo o en proximo o en conpanero, por semejante me fallaran para todo lo quisieren...”] - Kevin Elphick
I think, no, I know we will hear more about Madre Juana. What is most interesting to me is that evidently she was allowed to preach and offer spiritual direction, if correct, that is an incredible concession to a woman religious in Spain at that time - in fact, it would be today as well. It's an interesting read, as I said, and I'm sure it will inform the development of gay-spirituality today.
As always, I just want to say that LGBTQ concepts are peculiar to modern times, and were not at all known, much less understood in the same way in the past. But I digress.