for Indian converts, Marie de l'Incarnation and several other nuns established an Ursuline house in Quebec, which soon took in both native women and European immigrants. The Ursuline nuns were joined by Augustinians, and the number of convents grew. By 1725, one out of every hundred residents in New France was a nun. The numbers of women in convents in Latin America may have been even higher. One in five of the female population of Lima in the seventeenth century lived in convents, though most of these were servants, slaves, or lay sisters, not professed nuns. In Latin America, it was often difficult for upper-class women of European background to find a spouse acceptable to their families, and the convent appeared as the only honourable alternative. In the Portuguese colony of Bahia, for example, more than three-quarters of the daughters of leading families went into convents. They often took their servants and furniture with them, and paid little or no attention to the Tri-dentine rules on enclosure. Bishops throughout Latin America complained regularly about the number of servants employed by nuns and the number of visitors present in convents at all hours of the day.
Though the Ursuline house in Quebec took in both immigrants and indigenous women, most convents in colonial areas accepted only European women as professed nuns, with indigenous or mixed-blood women allowed in only as lay sisters or servants. The first convents solely for native women did not open in the Philippines and in Mexico until the early 1700s. Lay organizations for indigenous women and men were more common. Lay confraternities dedicated to the Rosary were established in Melaka and the south-east coast of India by Portuguese missionaries, whose members carried out charity work among the poor and sick, cared for their own members, and encouraged their members to give up non-Christian religious and cultural practices. Alexandre de Rhodes (1591-1660), a Jesuit missionary in Vietnam, set up communities of celibate men and women as catechists (the later called 'Amantes de la Croix'), who cared for the ill as well as attempting to win converts. They took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but were not technically members of religious orders, so that, like the Daughters of Charity, the women among them were able to participate in an active mission out in the world. Women who were members of religious orders carried out their teaching and missionary work from within their convents. Even the most permeable Latin American convent walls allowed people in more easily than they allowed nuns out.
Among Protestants, women were not as active as missionaries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as they would be in the nineteenth century. Among radical or Pietist groups such as the Quakers, Moravians, and Methodists, however, women did occasionally teach and preach to indigenous
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