María Clara is revealed to have been the illegitimate daughter of Padre Dámaso, a Spanish friar, who coerced Doña Pía into illicit sexual relations. Dámaso is made the girl's godfather; Doña Pía had died giving birth to Mariá Clara. Kapitán Tiyago's cousin, Tía Isabel, then came to be the dominant maternal figure in her life. As her beau Crisóstomo Ibarra was studying in Europe, Kapitan Tiyago sent María Clara to the Beaterio de Santa Clara, a convent school where she cultivated femininity under religion. Later in the novel, María Clara discovers the truth that Dámaso is her biological father.