Chapter

Miraculous Migrants to the City of Angels: Perceptions of El Santo Niño de Atocha and San Simón as Sources of Health and Healing

Patrick A. Polk, Michael Owen Jones, Claudia J. Hernández and Reyna C. Ronelli

in Religion and Healing in America

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167962
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850150 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167962.003.0007
Miraculous Migrants to the City of Angels: Perceptions of El Santo Niño de Atocha and San Simón as Sources of Health and Healing

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Like many other megacities in the United States, the sacred landscape of Los Angeles, California, is composed of numerous cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, storefront churches, temples, and shrines dedicated to nearly every form of religion imaginable. The therapeutic aspects of religiosity in Los Angeles are especially remarkable. Countless ethnomedical practitioners (channelers, shamans, spiritual advisers, etc.), including Latinos, offer alternative or “folk” therapeutic modalities that are based, at least in part, on systems of religious belief. This chapter examines some of the ways that the veneration of a pair of miraculous spirits—El Santo Niño de Atocha and San Simón—is incorporated into Latino vernacular religion and healing traditions in Los Angeles and related to social, familial, and somatic dimensions of migrants' experiences. It seeks to show where, how, and why specific individuals turn to El Santo Niño de Atocha and San Simón to find health in times of illness, solace in moments of misery, and salvation in the face of despair.

Keywords: Los Angeles; Latinos; healing; health; El Santo Niño de Atocha; San Simón; religion; illness; salvation; religiosity

Chapter.  7775 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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