Skip Navigation

Companions and Guides: Patrons and Saints of the Franciscans in North America

In order to Christianize new population groups, the integration into the world of Christian saints was included as well. Saints set concrete examples for a life as a perfect Christian. Those examples had to be inherited into daily life. Saints and their worship are always shaped by the way of communication by society. Changes in the way of worship always reflect social change as well. Those changes have an immediate effect on the way of worship, which either grows up to, be a big and supra-regional movement or it could even disappear completely in such a transformation process. This is also shown through the influence of the European way of worship on the newly Christianized countries in North and South America. To what extent were the Old World saints adapted into the new faith as part of the enculturation and thereby matched with the changed circumstances respectively connected to a new social and religious context? Interestingly, saints - likewise during the Middle Ages in Europe - played as well a major role in shaping an identity for new societies and their social shades in the ?New World?

Helmut Flachenecker, University of Würzburg