Our Lady of Everyday Life: La Virgen de Guadalupe and the Catholic Imagination of Mexican Women in America
For Mexican Catholic women in the United States, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe-La Virgen-is a necessary aspect of their cultural identity. In this masterful ethnography, María Del Socorro Castañeda-Liles considers three generations of Mexican-origin women between the ages of 18 and 82. She examines the Catholic beliefs the women inherited from their mothers and how these beliefs become the template from which they first learn to see themselves as people of faith. She also offers a comprehensive analysis of how Catholicism creates a culture in which Mexican-origin women learn how to be "good girls" in a manner that reduces their agency to rubble.
Through the nexus of faith and lived experience, these women develop a type of Mexican Catholic imagination that helps them challenge the sanctification of shame, guilt, and aguante (endurance at all cost). This imagination allows these women to transgress strict notions of what a good Catholic woman should be while retaining life-giving aspects of Catholicism. This transgression is most visible in their relationship to La Virgen, which is a fluid and deeply engaged process of self-awareness in everyday life.
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