A viceroy and an archbishop take their posts in Mexico. A local nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695), intrigues them. The viceroy and his wife find her brilliant and fascinating. The prelate finds her a symbol of European laxity. He engineers the election of a new abbess, severe and ascetic. The virreina visits Sor Juana often and inspires her to write passionate poetry that the archbishop finds scandalous. The viceroy protects her. After he is replaced and returns to Spain with his wife, Sor Juana faces envy and retribution. A bishop betrays her, her confessor humbles her. Plague, a tribunal, and her confession as "the worst of all" end the great poet's life.