Célibes, Mothers, and Church Cockroaches

Religious Participation of Women in a Mexican Village
  • Marigene Arnold


Most analyses of religious ritual in Mexico focus on the mayordomíacargo system (the sponsorship of fiestas) and, more specifically, on the overt public roles played by men in this male-dominated endeavor (see, for example, Cancian 1965). The religious roles taken by women have not been explored to the same degree. Yet, when one considers that Eric Wolf (1958) has analyzed the Virgin of Guadalupe as the “master symbol” of Mexico, one would expect that women’s contributions in the ritual sphere would be great. This chapter explores the symbol of the Virgin and her Mexican cultural meanings, in relationship to roles played by women in Catholic ritual.


Adolescent Girl Married Woman Religious Ritual Religious Participation Public Role 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marigene Arnold
    • 1
  1. 1.Kalamazoo CollegeKalamazooUSA

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