A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[LINK] On the growing popularity of the cult of Santa Muerte

The National Post shared Ruth Sherlock’s article, originally from The Telegraph, noting the rising popularity of the cult of Santa Muerte in Mexico. This can be seen as a reflection of grim times, but I also choose to see it as a fascinating case study for sociologists of religion.

Holding a scythe in one hand and a globe in the other, the Santa Muerte could be easily mistaken for the Grim Reaper. But to her supporters, this skeletal saint, nicknamed “skinny woman”, has the power to heal illness, bring prosperity and even help them find love.

Known as the patron saint of violent drug cartels for her relative tolerance, Our Lady of Holy Death is perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the Americas.

When Jasmin Marquez was sentenced to life in prison but freed after only a year, she attributed the “miracle” to this smiling skeleton.

Standing reverently before the shrine of the Santa Muerte, she carefully lit a cigarette and let it burn without toking. “It’s for her,” she explained, in a whisper so as not to disturb the other worshippers.

[. . .]

“From Chile to Canada, Santa Muerte has no rival in terms of the rapidity and scope of its expansion,” said Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint.

“In 2001, when devotion to the folk religion first went public in Mexico, Saint Death was unknown to 99 per cent of Mexicans. In just 15 years Santa Muerte has attracted an estimated 10 to 12 million devotees, primarily in Mexico, Central America, and the U.S.”

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Written by Randy McDonald

January 1, 2017 at 10:16 pm

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