"Saints, Spirits and Madonnas," a Fairfield University lecture to explore Latina culture



Image: Michelle GonzalezReligion serves as an entry point into the history and culture of Latinas, revealing their distinctive worldview.

Author and scholar Michelle A. Gonzalez, Ph. D., will speak at Fairfield University about this multifaceted subject in a lecture entitled, "Saints, Spirits, and Madonnas: The Everyday Religion of Latina Culture," on Wednesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. The talk, free and open to the public, will take place in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. It is co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, Campus Ministry, the Center for Catholic Studies, the Office of Mission and Identity, Women's Studies, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies (Dr. Gisela Gil-Gui).  

Dr. Gonzalez, assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami, will also explore the everyday religious practices of Latinas as a window into broader issues and themes in Latina culture. "The focus will be on the manner in which the intersection of folk Catholicism and Indigenous and African spiritualities has come to shape domestic and public Latina religious rituals."

Dr. Elizabeth Dreyer, professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield, organized the lecture after working with Dr. Gonzalez on a nine-book series entitled "Called to Holiness: Spirituality for Catholic Women." The series, edited by Dr. Dreyer, explores and celebrates women's spirituality and was funded by a consortium of donors associated with FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities). Dr. Dreyer authored the first volume of the series, "Making Sense of God: A Woman's Perspective," which was named book of the year by the National Council of Catholic Women. Her book also received an award from the Catholic Press Association, along with two other volumes of the series. Dr. Gonzalez is the author of the fourth volume, "Embracing Latina Spirituality: A Woman's Perspective" (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2009). For more information, visit www.calledtoholiness.org.

Dr. Gonzalez's teaching and research interests include Latin American, Latino/a, and African-American religiosity, as well as feminist theology, theological anthropology, and theological method.

She is also the author of "Sor Juana: Beauty and Justice in the Americas" (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003); "Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity" (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006); and "Created in God's Image: An Introduction to Feminist Theological Anthropology" (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007).

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 25, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 249