Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Eduardo Fernández, SJ


Death is and will continue to be a most intriguing reflection topic. It is interesting to note how the topic of death extends its reach to different areas of study which range from the most biological and material to the most philosophical and spiritual. Undoubtedly, death does not cease to be an event rooted in all aspects of our material reality, since life only makes sense in relation to death.

In recent decades in some Latin American contexts, devotion to the personification of death has increased significantly. In a special way, this devotion has gained greater strength and relevance in Mexico, a country in which it has been accentuated in a versatile way of celebrating, going from the simplest prayers to the most extreme commitment, for example, that of consecrating one’s entire families to La Santa Muerte. This phenomenon has caught the attention of sociologists, anthropologists, moralists, theologians, and pastoralists, all of whom seek to understand and clarify its nature.

Although a thorough treatment of La Santa Muerte could be quite extensive and interdisciplinary, this thesis primarily studies the phenomenon from a biblical, magisterial, and the Christian Catholic tradition, similar to an approach surrounding the veneration of saints and devotions pertaining to the afterlife. Among its major conclusions, it makes the case for the need for a more in-depth re-evangelization of Mexican Catholics, given some of the devotions’ anti-evangelical tendencies.

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