María de San José’s Oaxaca Manuscript is an excellent resource for examining the ideology of ‘female inferiority’ and the counterforces it generated in early modern Spanish-American colonial texts written by women. Housed at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island, the manuscript [Spanish Codex 39-41] consists of 1,102 folios measuring 21 x 15 cm, divided unevenly into twelve volumes that were written over a period of three decades (1691?–1717). This study examines the materiality of female agency in Volume I, also known as the life story or vida of the Augustinian Recollect Nun, Madre María de San José (1656–1719, New Spain), and the mechanisms of evading religious/male authority.