Guadalupe and Her Faithful: Latino Catholics in San Antonio, from Colonial Origins to the Present. By Timothy Matovina

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



Oxford University Press


In recent decades, ethnographers, historians, theologians, novelists, essayists, poets, and artists have produced a rich, steady, and sometimes contentious stream of work on the Virgin of Guadalupe. Guadalupe and Her Faithful is a key addition to the existing literature. Written by Timothy Matovina, professor of theology and the director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, the book explores the development of Guadalupan devotion in the vibrant faith community of the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas. Ever since Guadalupe, a mestiza likeness of the Virgin Mary, was said to have appeared to Juan Diego on the Hill of Tepeyac in 1531, clerics and scholars have debated the authenticity of the apparition. This book is not so much about the veracity of the original apparition as it is about the reality of a single faith community's ongoing relationship with Guadalupe. Following Durkheim, Matovina highlights the ways in which adherents of Guadalupe are made stronger so as to feel within themselves “more force, either to endure the trials of existence, or to conquer them”