In Borderlands Saints, Desiree A. Martin examines the rise and fall of popular saints and saint-like figures in the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. Focusing specifically on Teresa Urrea (La Santa de Cabora), Pancho Villa, Cesar Chavez, Subcomandante Marcos, and Santa Muerte, she traces the intersections of these figures, their devotees, artistic representations, and dominant institutions with an eye for the ways in which such unofficial saints mirror traditional spiritual practices and serve specific cultural needs. Popular spirituality of this kind engages the use and exchange of relics, faith healing, pilgrimages, and spirit possession, exemplifying the contradictions between high and popular culture, human and divine, and secular and sacred. Martin focuses upon a wide range of Mexican and Chicano/a cultural works drawn from the nineteenth century to the present, covering such diverse genres as the novel, the communique, drama, the essay or cronica, film, and contemporary digital media. She argues that spiritual practice is often represented as narrative, while narrative-whether literary, historical, visual, or oral-may modify or even function as devotional practice."
Rutgers University Press
Secular Sanctity in Chicano/a and Mexican Culture