Professor Matovina publishes book on Guadalupe devotion

Author: Arts and Letters


“Guadalupe and Her Faithful: Latino Catholics in San Antonio, from Colonial Origins to the Present,” by University of Notre Dame theologian Timothy Matovina, has been published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most revered icon in the Catholic Church of Latin America. Arising from miraculous apparitions of Mary reported in 16th century Mexico, devotion to her is particularly strong among Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Matovina’s study of the devotion and its implications is focused on the community surrounding the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio. It examines the manner in which the devotion continued to thrive in the community for three centuries and under five governments, enabling devotees to negotiate political turmoil, war, social turbulence and ecclesiastical change during San Antonio’s evolution from an agricultural settlement on the northern edge of New Spain to a vital American city.

“The basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited pilgrimage site in the Western Hemisphere. After Jesus of Nazareth, her image is the most reproduced sacred icon in the Americas,” Matovina said. “I have participated in the Guadalupe feast and devotion for more than two decades and never cease to be amazed at its intensity and meaning in people’s lives. My hope is that this volume will illuminate the beauty, strength, and critical understanding of this fascinating faith expression and help animate its ongoing celebration and development.”

Rev. Virgilio Elizondo, visiting professor for the Institute for Latino Studies and of theology at Notre Dame and former rector of San Fernando Cathedral, said Matovina’s new book is “a tour de force of religious history with a deeply theological soul.”

An associate professor of theology, Matovina is the William and Anna Jean Director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. He is the author or editor ofeleven previous books, including “Presente! U.S. Latino Catholicsm from Colonial Origins to the Present.”

Contact: Timothy Matovina at 574-631-5441 or

Originally published by Michael O. Garvey at on October 31, 2005.