"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Catolicos, Chicano(a) Activism, G-dog, Los Padres, Las Hermanas, Catolicos Por La Raza, Liberation Theology, La virgen de Phoenix, Mother Antonia and other titles

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With Mario T. Garcia's 2010 book Catolicos: Resistance and Affirmation in Chicano Catholic History it sparked memories of other books based on Catholic Chicano(a) activism. Starting with Catolicos, here are a few:

Catolicos: Resistance and Affirmation in 
Chicano Catholic History
(Univ of Texas Press Jan 2010 ISBN-10: 0292718411)
Mario T. Garcia

Description is as follows: Chicano Catholicism -- both as a popular religion and a foundation for community organizing -- has, over the past century, inspired Chicano resistance to external forces of oppression and discrimination including from other non-Mexican Catholics and even the institutionalized church.

Chicano Catholics have also used their faith to assert their particular identity and establish a kind of cultural citizenship. Based exclusively on original research and sources, Mario T. García here offers the first major historical study to explore the various dimensions of the role of Catholicism in Chicano history in the 20th- century. 

This is also one of the first significant studies in the still limited field of Chicano religious history. Topics range from how early Chicano Catholic intellectuals and civil rights leaders were influenced by Catholic Social Doctrine, to the role that popular religion has played in the lives of ordinary men and women in both rural and urban areas.

García also examines faith-based Chicano community movements like Católicos Por La Raza in the 1960s and the Sanctuary movement in Los Angeles in the 1980s. While Latino/a history and culture has been, for the most part, inextricably linked with the tenets and practices of Catholicism, there has been very little written, until recently, about Chicano Catholic history. García helps to fill that void and explore the impact--both positive and negative -- that the Catholic experience has had on the Chicano community. 

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Chicano Liberation Theology: The Writings and Documents of Richard Cruz and Católicos por la Raza [Paperback]Kendall Hunt Publishing; 1 edition (September 1020)
ISBN-10: 0757571891
Mario T. Garcia 

Publisher's description: "[García's book] focuses on the role of religion in the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. 

This was the most widespread and significant civil rights, identity, and empowerment movement by Mexican Americans in the United States. This book highlights the most important faith-inspired urban movement to bring about social change inspired by Catholic social teachings. 

Chapter topics include: The Chicano Movement and the Catholic Church; The Origins of Católicos Por La Raza; Católicos in Action; Oral Histories; Richard Cruz: People's Attorney; Reflections by Richard Cruz. This is an edited collection of the writings and documents of Richard Cruz and Católicos Por La Raza, along with additional supporting material and interviews with former Católicos members."

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 G-Dog and the Homeboys: Father Greg Boyle and the Gangs of East Los Angeles 
(Univ of New Mexico Press Sept 2004 ISBN: 0826335365), 
Celeste Fremon,
Foreword by Tom Brokaw.

Father Greg Boyle admits that East Los Angeles can be a grim place: "A great many kids in my neighborhood don't plan their futures; they plan their funerals." But the Jesuit priest refuses to accept eulogies as his major job assignment. 

Working since 1986 in the poorest parish in the Los Angeles diocese, "Father Greg" has run Jobs for a Future, an ambitious, albeit cash-strapped program that has helped thousands of gang members discover a life beyond the death mill. G-Dog and The Homeboys presents the story Boyle's u n c o n v e n t i o n a l ministry and its e x t r a o r d i n a r y successes.

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PADRES: The National Chicano Priest Movement 
(Univ. of Texas Press June 2005 ISBN 0292706782)
 Richard Edward Martínez

From the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to the 1960s, Chicano/Mexican American
Catholics experienced racism and discrimination within the U.S. Catholic church, as white priests and bishops maintained a racial divide in all areas of the church's ministry. 

To oppose this religious apartheid and challenge the church to minister fairly to all of its faithful, a group of Chicano priests formed PADRES (Padres Asociados para Derechos Religiosos, Educativos y Sociales, or Priests Associated for Religious, Educational, and Social Rights) in 1969. Over the next 20 years of its existence, PADRES became a powerful force for change within the Catholic church and for social justice within American society. 

This book offers the first history of the founding, activism, victories, and defeats of PADRES. At the heart of the book are oral history interviews with the founders of PADRES, who describe how their ministries in poor Chicano parishes, as well as their own experiences of racism and discrimination within and outside the church, galvanized them into starting and sustaining the movement. Martínez traces the ways in which PADRES was inspired by the Chicano movement and other civil rights struggles of the 1960s and also probes its linkages with liberation theology in Latin America. He uses a combination of social movement theory and organizational theory to explain why the group emerged, flourished, and eventually disbanded in 1989. www.utexas.edu/utpress

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The Virgin of El Barrio: Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican American Activism  
(Qualitative Studies in Religion) (New York Univ Press May 2005 ISBN 0814758258)
Kristy Nabhan-Warren. 

In 1998, a Mexican American woman named Estela Ruíz began seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in south Phoenix. 

The apparitions and messages spurred the creation of Mary’s Ministries, a Catholic evangelizing group, and its sister organization, ESPIRITU, which focuses on community-based initiatives and social justice for Latinos(as). Based on ten years of participant observation and in-depth interviews, The Virgin of El Barrio traces the spiritual transformation of Ruiz, the development of the community that has sprung up around her, and the international expansion of their message.

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The Church in the Barrio: 
Mexican American Ethno-Catholicism in Houston 
(Hardcover)(Univ of North Carolina Press Feb 27, 2006 ISBN 080782996X)
Roberto R. Treviño

In a story that spans from the founding of immigrant parishes in the early 20th century to the rise of the Chicano civil rights movement in the early 1970s, Treviño discusses how an intertwining of ethnic identity and Catholic faith quipped Mexican Americans in Houston to overcome adversity and find a place for themselves in the Bayou City. http://uncpress.unc.edu/default.htm.

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Emerging Voices Urgent Choices: Latino-a Leadership Development from the Pew to the Plaza 
(Paperback)(Brill Academic Pub, Religion in the Americas Series, V. 4, Jan
2006 ISBN 9004148167), Edwin I. Hernandez, Milagros8Pena, Kenneth G. Davis. The strength of U.S. 

Hispanic churches is an untold story documented in Emerging Voices, Urgent Choices: Essays on Latino/a Religious Leadership. In this pioneering volume, experts from various disciplines examine the remarkable contribution of Hispanic churches to U.S. society and the challenges their leaders face in serving the country’s growing Latino population. 

Chapters analyze success stories in Latino/a ministry, specific issues for Catholic leadership and Protestant denominations, and the political and community-serving activities of diverse congregations. 

Together, the essays demonstrate how Hispanic churches of every denomination are generating social capital in neglected communities. The book updates previous research on religion that largely ignores U.S. Latino/as, and adds a new dimension to Latino Studies scholarship by recognizing the important role that religion plays in Hispanic life. www.brill.nl.

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Las Hermanas: Chicana/Latina Religious-Political Activism in the U.S. Catholic Church 
(Temple Univ Press Oct 28, 2005 ISBN 1592134831)
Lara Medina. 

"Las Hermanas is an original piece of research and writing. Medina provides important knowledge about a Latina religious group and sheds light on the historical context out of which Las Hermanas emerged. 

This book adds to our understanding of the diversity of religious experiences in the U.S. as well as broadens our understanding of the 1960s social movements. Las Hermanas is a significant contribution to the developing historiography concerning the Chicano Movement as well as a welcome corrective to the male-centered historical treatment of the movement." — Professor Mario García, Department of History and Chicano Studies, University of California,Santa Barbara. www.temple.edu/tempress.

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The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia's Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail  
Penguin Press HC, The (May 5, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1594200564
Mary Jordan

The winners of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting tell the astonishing story of Mary Clarke. At the age of fifty, Clarke left her comfortable life in suburban Los Angeles to follow a spiritual calling to care for the prisoners in one of Mexico's most notorious jails. 

She actually moved into a cell to live among drug king pins and petty thieves. She has led many of them through profound spiritual transformations in which they turned away from their lives of crime, and has deeply touched the lives of all who have witnessed the depth of her compassion. 

Donning a nun's habit, she became Mother Antonia, renowned as "the prison angel," and has now organized a new community of sisters-the Servants of the Eleventh Hour--widows and divorced women seeking new meaning in their lives. "We had never heard a story like hers," Jordan and Sullivan write, "a story of such powerful goodness."

Born in Beverly Hills, Clarke was raised around the glamour of Hollywood and looked like a star herself, a beautiful blonde reminiscent of Grace Kelly. The choreographer Busby Berkeley spotted her at a restaurant and offered her a job, but Mary's dream was to be a happy wife and mother. She raised seven children, but her two unfulfilling marriages ended in divorce. 

Then in the late 1960s, in midlife, she began devoting herself to charity work, realizing she had an extraordinary talent for drumming up donations for the sick and poor.

On one charity mission across the Mexican border to the drug-trafficking capitol of Tijuana, she visited La Mesa prison and experienced an intense feeling that she had found her true life's work. As she recalls, "I felt like I had come home." 

Receiving the blessings of the Catholic Church for her mission, on March 19, 1977, at the age of fifty, she moved into a cell in La Mesa, sleeping on a bunk with female prisoners above and below her. Nearly twenty-eight years later she is still living in that cell, and the remarkable power of her spiritual counseling to the prisoners has become legendary.

The story of both one woman's profound journey of discovery and growth and of the deep spiritual awakenings she has called forth in so many lost souls, The Prison Angel is an astonishing testament to the powers of personal transformation.

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting team, the extraordinary and inspiring story of Mother Antonia, the remarkable woman who at middle age found her life's calling by bringing the transformative power of her spiritual guidance to the most hardened criminals.

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