Date of Award
Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)
Dr. Servando Z. Hinojosa
Dr. Mark Glazer
Dr. Grant Benham
The Fidencista Movement is a religion in process . Like in many other medico-religions whose primary ministry is healing, women hold the highest positions of authority. The shamanic channeling of the spirit of the folk saint, Niño Fidencio , plies Fidencistas' belief in the spirit world and ameliorates physical and emotional healing. Fidencistas are concentrated in the Texas/Mexico borderland region where they are facing a passing of traditionalism, the social matrix in which folk healing thrives. However, the signature of the Movement, the penitential trek up the Vía de Dolores in Espinazo, is a cohering bi-annual ritual that fortifies devotion to El Niño . The thesis is primarily an ethnography based on two years of fieldwork and participant observation, corroborating current shaman and medico-religion studies.
University of Texas-Pan American