Nuns Gone Wild

In Mexico, Spain and its rulers imposed many reforms and restrictions. To oppose these restrictions, Mexican nuns wore escudos; these were medallions to represent their solidarity with the new culture and religious authority in Mexico. Often times, the escudos depicted an extremely raw nativity scene. One of the most controversial topics involving the escudos was the practice of nuns wearing these massively elegant medallions on their clothes. Many high ranking church officials believed the nun’s luxurious clothing and the oversized escudos was contradictory to their vows of living a modest life. The nuns were accused of trying to attract men to the church with this sinful way of dressing. As Spain and the church hierarchy began to crack down on reforming the convents across the new land, the escudos became a sign of resistance to conformity. The unreformed convents displayed the escudos on their chests.

Pictured above is a Spanish-influence drawing of a medallion. The angel statue praying behind it signifies the church’s attempts at conforming the nun’s clothing and lifestyle. Escudos would have been large, much like the drawing, but would show a saint or a Bible scene. The escudo showed solidarity between the unreformed convents in Mexico.