Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)



First Advisor

Dr. Servando Z. Hinojosa

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Glazer

Third Advisor

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.


Copyright 2004 Katherine Brittain. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American