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Mary, Mother and Warrior

Mary, Mother and Warrior

Linda B. Hall
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    Mary, Mother and Warrior
    Book Description:

    A Mother who nurtures, empathizes, and heals... a Warrior who defends, empowers, and resists oppression... the Virgin Mary plays many roles for the peoples of Spain and Spanish-speaking America. Devotion to the Virgin inspired and sustained medieval and Renaissance Spaniards as they liberated Spain from the Moors and set about the conquest of the New World. Devotion to the Virgin still inspires and sustains millions of believers today throughout the Americas.

    This wide-ranging and highly readable book explores the veneration of the Virgin Mary in Spain and the Americas from the colonial period to the present. Linda Hall begins the story in Spain and follows it through the conquest and colonization of the New World, with a special focus on Mexico and the Andean highlands in Peru and Bolivia, where Marian devotion became combined with indigenous beliefs and rituals. Moving into the nineteenth century, Hall looks at national cults of the Virgin in Mexico, Bolivia, and Argentina, which were tied to independence movements. In the twentieth century, she examines how Eva Perón linked herself with Mary in the popular imagination; visits contemporary festivals with significant Marian content in Spain, Peru, and Mexico; and considers how Latinos/as in the United States draw on Marian devotion to maintain familial and cultural ties.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79742-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. A Note on Translation and Orthography
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    I have wanted to write this book for years. During the seven years that I spent in Colombia, 1961–1968, I was fascinated with the enormous reverence for the Virgin Mary that pervaded that country. I was particularly intrigued that this reverence crossed gender lines, with men as fervent as women if not more so. In a country troubled terribly by violence, this feminine vision of unconditional love, peace, and forgiveness held a power like no other. In the years since my return, I have observed the same fervor in many other parts of Latin America and among Latino populations...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Spanish Reverence
    (pp. 17-44)

    In order to understand the impact of the Virgin Mary in Latin America, it is essential to understand the way in which her cult and image fit into the sacred landscape of Spain, metaphorically and literally. Muslim invasions had pushed well into the north of the peninsula during the late seventh and early eighth centuries, and Christian resistance grew in the following centuries. The Virgin would be increasingly linked with the efforts to force the Moors south again, an effort which would be completed largely by the end of the thirteenth century. The final elimination of Muslim control, however, would...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Discoverers, Conquerors, and Mary
    (pp. 45-80)

    It was Isabel’s and Fernando’s mission of Christianity and conquest that led to the voyage of Christopher Columbus to America, and Columbus carried this intense devotion for Mary across the ocean. In a real sense, his mission was a continuation, both spiritually and spatially, of the Spanish Reconquest of the peninsula. But the discoverer was by no means the only European to bring the Mother of God with him as he encountered what was for him a New World. Virtually all of the leaders who initially came to explore and conquer shared the reverence for Santa María that characterized the...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Our Lady in Mexico: Catechisms, Confessions, Dramas, and Visions
    (pp. 81-106)

    The cult of Our Lady became firmly established in Latin America during the colonial period, that time between the Discovery and Conquest in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and the wars of independence in Latin America in the early 1800s. At the same time, she became associated and conflated with, as well as changed by and changing, indigenous notions of the sacred. The Spanish brought the Virgin Mary to their New World as a comforting presence, a focus of reverence, an emblem of Spanish nationalism, a war leader who inspired them to victory against the Muslims. They had placed Mary’s...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Mexico: Images, Fiestas, Miracles, and Apparitions
    (pp. 107-136)

    Reverence for the Virgin spread rapidly through the proliferation of her images, the almost immediate development of parades and festivals in her honor, the miracles that began to occur in relation to her images and sacred spaces, and even her appearances to indigenous peoples and to the Spanish. The sense of her presence, enhanced with images, rituals, visions with or without the use of hallucinogens, and otherwise inexplicable occurrences, might very naturally lead to a belief that she had actually physically appeared. She was already felt to be present in images and to be present with the believer, with images...

  10. CHAPTER SIX The Andean Virgin
    (pp. 137-168)

    The Virgin Mary came to the Andes with the conquerors. From the Spanish excuses for the massacre of 1532 at Cajamarca—involving the supposed unwillingness of Atahualpa to accept the story of the Virgin birth—to the Virgin’s decisive appearance in battles, she soon made her mark on the victories in that region as well. After he and his men took Atahualpa prisoner at Cajamarca, Pizarro headed almost immediately for Cuzco, the center of Inka power. Entering the city on November 15, 1533, he took possession in the name of the Spanish crown but appointed Manco Inka as emperor in...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN The Virgin as National Symbol: The Cases of Bolivia, Mexico, and Argentina
    (pp. 169-206)

    During the three hundred years of Spanish rule in Latin America, the advocations of Guadalupe in Mexico and of Candelaria, especially Copacabana, in the region of the Andes that would become Bolivia, gained power and reverence. By the time of the independence movements at the beginning of the nineteenth century, both were strong, both were centers for pilgrimage, and both would be invoked for their aid in the wars on the insurgent side as well as on the Spanish side. In fact, these advocations would be contested between opponents. The Virgin as warrior had returned vividly to the struggles. When...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Evita and María: Religious Reverence and Political Resonance in Argentina
    (pp. 207-242)

    Although the devotion toward the Virgin of Luján had been heavily and perhaps rather cynically oriented toward state building, state power, and the deliberate construction of national identity, that did not mean that devotion to the Virgin and a sense of her nurturing goodness did not exist apart from that project. On the contrary, Argentina was a Catholic nation in which heavy immigration from Spain and Italy in the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth reinforced Mary’s significance. The same kinds of family separation, of feeling out of place and endangered, existed for these immigrants as they...

  13. CHAPTER NINE Marian Celebrations at the Turn of the Millennium
    (pp. 243-272)

    As the twentieth century has drawn to a close and the twenty-first has begun, Marian devotion continues as strong as ever. Celebrations of the Virgin’s majesty are widespread, especially in Spain, Italy, and Latin America but also in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States and among other populations elsewhere in the world. The connection between the celebrations of Mary and issues of identity are just as clear as they were in the time of Bernal Díaz del Castillo and Hernán Cortés; these identities may be national, local, or highly personal. The rituals are beautiful and affecting, even for those who...

  14. CHAPTER TEN Mary Moves North: Aspects of National Identity and Cultural Dissemination
    (pp. 273-290)

    For centuries, as we have discussed, the Virgin Mary has been associated with Spanish Christian imperial projects, in Reconquest Spain, then in the Spanish discovery and conquest of Latin America, and later in combating independence movements in that continent; the leaders of those movements also invoked María. The Virgin has also accompanied Latinos into the United States, and the identification of migrating populations with several advocations of the Virgin associated with countries or regions of origin is rising along with their numbers. International agreements such as NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which increase contact between the United States...

  15. CHAPTER ELEVEN Conclusion
    (pp. 291-300)

    A number of themes emerge, it seems to me, from the discussion above. Perhaps the most important is that the Virgin, throughout the regions and historical times that we have investigated, is a figure of identity and relation. Whether she links migrants to their country of origin, or individuals within the family, or members of a community, or children to their mothers or the memory of their mothers, she dissipates solitude, provides strength, and reinforces connection. Those who feel alone feel her presence in situations of unfamiliarity or danger; those in trouble call on her for help.

    She may be...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 301-336)
  17. Glossary
    (pp. 337-338)
  18. Bibliography of Works Cited
    (pp. 339-352)
  19. Index
    (pp. 353-366)