One of the apprentices of Minerva recorded was Sor Juana. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, was a Mexican writer in the seventeen century and she was faced with two options in her life, she could marry an elite Spaniard and take her place in the system or she could enter her religion life and become a nun. She chose the convent life because it put her in the company of woman who largely were in charge of their own institution and resources and she could continue her writing. Thus she entered the Carmelites and then moved into St. Paula which gave her better space for her studies and writing.
But she soon fell into conflict with powerful churchmen who were scandalized by her independent voice. Her own supporter and one she confessed to, was the Jesuit Antonia Nunez de Mirana, who turned against her and began to criticize her as a scandal for her free production of writings.
She maintained in her writings that women were intelligent, capable of knowledge in her first authorship called El Sueno (The Dream), a work about the journey of the soul (her soul) through various stages of development imaged by various mythological deities of the Greek Traditions.Nyctimene was the daughter of Epopeus, King of Lesbos. Depending on which version of the story one reads she was either raped or seduced by her father. Out of shame or guilt she fled to the forest and refused to show her face in daylight. Taking pity on her Minerva transformed her into the nocturnal owl which was the widespread symbol of the goddess. In Metamorphoses, Cornix (the Crow) complains that her place as Minerva’s sacred bird is being usurped by Nyctimene, who is so ashamed of herself that she will not be seen by daylight.
In George Howe and G.A. Herrer’s Handbook of Classical Mythology, Nyctimene dishonored her family by committing incest with her father without his knowledge. The Roman Goddess Minerva took pity on Nyctimene as she was hiding with shame. Minerva changed Nyctimene into an Owl, a sacred bird associated with Minerva.
Minerva, along with Sor Juana’s mother and grandmother, took Sor Juana under her wings and became the patroness to her protegee. Sor Juana, like Nycimene, brought dishonor to her family. She was also a disgrace for essentially being herself, a somewhat dark goddess sort of child. She did not accept the norms of behavior of her time and unlike the other girls her age, she enjoyed her schemes of her own making.
Sor Juana becomes Minerva’s apprentice in her story and in gratitude to her patroness, who had metaphorically saved her from her own father’s wrath, she returned to the root of Minerva’s Temple and the Sacred Minerva Tree.
Sources (of Sor Juana) from the Book: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: Feminist Reconstruction of Biography and Text By Theresa A. Yugar; Illustratioin of the Metamorphosis of Nyctimene Johann Wilhelm Baur