Chains of virtue: Seventeenth-century saints in Spanish colonial Lima
Wood, Alice Landru
Stroup, John M.
Doctor of Philosophy
Seventeenth-century Lives of colonial saints in Peru reflect the Spanish colony's growing independence and changing missionary strategies. Lives of saints Luis Bertran, Francis Solano, Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo, Juan Macias, Rose of Lima, Martin de Porras and the unrecognized Nicolas de Ayllon reveal the symbolic resolution of alterity as a dominant theme. Concern with alterity appears most prominently in discourses about language and bodies. Hagiography provided Creole communities with religious narratives of self-legitimization and self-definition. This questions a general scholarly assumption that saints of the Early Modern period are the creations of the ecclesiastical powers in Rome. Likewise, the assertion that hagiography is written in order to provide exemplars of virtue for ordinary people is qualified by my study. The Lives mirror two phases of colonial development: the first phase described Spanish evangelization and confrontation with native populations. Saints were strongly identified with Europe and their Lives reflected the cultural struggle with external others and the need to justify Christian missions. Hagiographers focused on the power or language and gave little attention to the physical world of bodies. The second phase was marked by an increasing sense of Creole identity. Hagiographers shifted the focus from words and language--now treated as suspect--to the body itself. Lives of these saints showcased mortifications of the body in order to dissociate the saints from inferiorities associated with their race or gender.
Religious history; Church history; Latin American history