Governing Saints in Puerto Rico

Reinaldo L. Román

in Governing Spirits

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780807831410
Published online July 2014 | e-ISBN: 9781469604688
Governing Saints in Puerto Rico

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During the early years of the twentieth century, Puerto Rico was home to numerous man-gods and woman-virgins. Two of them were Elenita, a woman regarded as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel incarnate, and a brotherhood of itinerant preachers known as the Hermanos Cheos. Elenita, the woman-virgin, and the Cheos, dubbed the inspirados (“inspired ones”) were professed enemies of Kardecism and the “sectarian” denominations that had been spreading through the island since the U.S. invasion. This chapter examines the role of Elenita and the Cheos as mediators and agents of discord between religious practitioners, government officials, and liberal professionals in Cuba in the early twentieth century. It first describes the ministry of the inspirados and considers Fernando Picó's assertions regarding self-appointed apologists, before discussing the antagonism between Spiritists and Puerto Rican man-gods, along with their complex and ambivalent relationship with the Catholic Church.

Keywords: man-gods; woman-virgins; Puerto Rico; Elenita; preachers; Hermanos Cheos; inspirados; Cuba; Spiritists; Catholic Church

Chapter.  13581 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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