The FedEx Saints: Patrons of Mobility and Speed in a Neoliberal City

Maria José A. de Abreu

in Things

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239450
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823239498 | DOI:

Series: Future of the Religious Past (FUP)

The FedEx Saints: Patrons of Mobility and Speed in a Neoliberal City

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This essay accesses the role of traditional imagery in an age of electronic media through the example of the rising popularity of St. Expeditus among Catholic Charismatics in São Paulo, Brazil. Known for the expedient delivery of petitions, St. Expeditus, the “saint against procrastination” or “Fedex Saint”, occupies a dual position. On the one hand, it allows Catholic Charismatics in Brazil to balance a desire for liveliness and movement – in agreement with a theology of pneuma (as breath or spirit). On the other, it allows them to reestablish that principle of liveliness within a particular Catholic tradition of engagement with graven images. Having chosen to adopt electronic media technologies as devices that by virtue of their material properties would allow them to structure the image within a “regime of passage”, St. Expeditus, it is argued, embodies the paradox of stillness and motion upon which liveliness, ultimately, depends.

Keywords: Icon; Materiality; Still; Motion; Paradox; Electronic media; Catholic; Charismatics; Brazil

Chapter.  6746 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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