Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2022.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Mary McGann


The land is home for both the living and the dead among the Shona people. The relationship between the land and the people expresses a mutual embodiment. In this mutual embodiment, the Shona people nurture the land, protect the land, pray with it, and celebrate it. This research seeks to answer the question: “How does Shona Christian burial practice express the relationship between the people and the land in which they live?” In answering this question, this research argues that Shona Christian burial practice is a microcosm of the macrocosm, representing an ongoing connectedness with the land. It is an experience that is relational, dialogical, and participatory.

This research engages ecological sensitivity towards the land to recognize humanity’s oneness with the land in life, in death, and in prayer. By realizing that God communicates with people in, through, and with nature, one becomes more caring towards the land. Thus, I advocate developing an attitude where people care for the land by praying with the land. By using Shona Christian burial practice as an example of this relationship, I also highlight how this relationship ought to inspire the Shona people to share in each other’s grief and the grief of the land. Thus, the ritualization of the Shona Christian burial practice becomes one way to inculturate liturgy and the people’s relationship with the land. Ritualization also raises awareness for ecologically transformative action.

Available for download on Saturday, June 26, 2032

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