Little female presence is found within the immense cemetery of Mexican national heroes; our memory barely manages to make out her acting in a few epic actions, and that almost always as comparsas or companions of the immaculate male protagonists of the national epic. There are counted the episodes where women appear as the main protagonists and practically none where they stand as the one who leads the historical course of those who have shaped the conscience of our country, in major events such as independence, reform, and revolution, which They appear as the founding facts of our nationality, according to official history so dear to governments of any sign and which occupy the largest pages of scholars. However, as historical facts, The recollections of women, where the author rescues news about the existence of several private prisons in the city of Puebla, in addition to the gathering of Santa María Egipciaca, a place where certain female supporters (or relatives of supporters) of the movement headed by Miguel Hidalgo.
It was known by Hugo Leicht of the existence of a number of private confinements in our city located within walking distance of each other. On the south side there were three, one on Infantes or Customs Street (today Avenida 3 Oriente) known as “del Curioso”; another, near there, on Calle de la Acequia (currently 4 Sur, between 7 and 11 Oriente) and, finally, not far away, another on Calle del Camarín de la Soledad (now Calle 13 Oriente). Two more were located on the north side; the first in the street of Cerca de Santa Teresa or of the Glass Furnace and the second in the street of Costado de Santa Rosa, both very close, occupying two separate premises in the current avenues 10 Oriente and 12 Poniente. Another, whose location is not known, was the one entitled “Casa de la Mazarrana”, a certainly semi-clandestine prison.
To those described, we must add the aforementioned House of Recollection of Santa María Egipciaca, founded by the illustrious Bishop Manuel Fernández de Santa Cruz near the convent of Santa Mónica (in our days headquarters of the Gustavo P. Mahr school, part of the School Group inaugurated in 1908), where those who worked “in the Independence Movement as spies, informants of the insurgents, providers of supplies for their armies and combatants in the ranks of the rebels arrived.” Although, more realistically, it can be said that the women’s struggle was of equal value to that of the men, even doing work that went beyond the strictly military. Says Barry M. Robinson: “The wives and girls of many rebel men accompanied the armies of Hidalgo and the other insurgent chiefs;… others fought,
Dr. Muriel affirms that several documents give an account of those sentenced to prison in Santa María Egipciaca, rescuing the names of some of them. For example, Josefa Huerta, who was prosecuted for “wanting to induce Lieutenant José Monroy to desert the royalist army and join the insurgent ranks, where her husband, Manuel Villalongín, was a militant.” Condemned by the Council of War meeting in the city of Valladolid (today Morelia), her sentence was commuted to confinement in the Puebla shelter. Her friend, Josefa Navarrete, who was judged “as a cover-up and supporter of the insurgents”, suffered the same fate: eight years in prison. Also, María Josefa Martínez, widow of the insurgent Miguel Montiel,
Likewise, Robinson cites the wife of the insurgent leader Vicente Vargas named Mónica Salas, who was imprisoned along with her two daughters and two granddaughters, in order to convince the rebellious husband to accept a pardon that they offered him. Having achieved this goal, the viceregal authorities released the prisoners, although Vargas returned to his old ways until he was arrested and shot. Along with him, five women who were part of his ranks were caught; Among them was his lover, Rafaela Morales, who was imprisoned along with the others also in Santa María Egipciaca. Here Robinson distinguishes the cases of wife and lover; while for the first her punishment sought to pressure the caudillo’s cooperation, for the second it represented a condemnation directed directly against her.
Although in the end they were granted a pardon, the insurgents suffered the penalty that entailed the disgrace of having been trapped in a house of seclusion, a place that was destined rather to protect criminals, prostitutes, or any other that violated the morality established by the political and ecclesiastical powers.