The Rosary and the Virgin Mary in Mexico

By: Alfonso Gomez-Rossi  

During the papacies of Leo XIII and Pius X Catholic laity were encouraged to pray the Rosary to remedy the evils caused by modernity. The uses of the Rosary experienced different interpretations in Latin American countries since the sixteenth century, but it was a symbol of Mary since the fifteenth century, and praying the beads was understood as a way to be close to Christ’s mother. Though the symbolism of the rosary is associated with meditating passages of the Virgin’s life and how they connect to Christ, her son, a less well studied aspect of the Rosary is how Catholics consider it a spiritual weapon to defeat sin, the Devil and his minions. In that sense, evil occupies two spaces: it can reside within us to entice us to commit sins and also lives outside of us, in a secular society that poses a threat to the Catholic’s salvation. In Mexico the Rosary was understood as an instrument to ward evil off and improve society. This article will explore how Catholics constructed narratives around it used in Mexico during the first three decades of the twentieth century.

Mexico, Cristeros, Rosary, Papacy, Virgin Mary
2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Alfonso Gomez-Rossi

Professor, Instituto Universitario Boulanger

Doctorate in Creation and Culture Theory from the “Fundación Universidad de las Américas Puebla”; teacher for the “Instituto Universitario Boulanger” also in Puebla, México. Holds a Master in North American Studies from the “Fundación Universidad de las Américas Puebla” and a B.A. in History focused on Latin America and a Spanish Minor from the University of Arizona in Tucson, USA. Currently studying a Master's at the UPAEP in Cultural Goods of Ecclesiastical Origin,