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Accepted Paper:

Praying for water: scarcity and the devotion to the Inang maria in the early modern period, Philippines  
Mary Josefti Nito (University of the Philippines Diliman)

Paper short abstract:

This research will tackle Marian hagiographies related to drought and the lack of access to fresh water during the early modern period. This study is also a counter-mapping of the sacred and the profane with water and the changing access and availability of it at the core of the narrative.

Paper long abstract:

The devotion to the Inang Maria is one of the most noticeable traditions in the Philippines. The cult or devotion to her has produced countless rituals such as novenas, processions, and pilgrimages accepted as part of Filipino heritage and culture. This paper is an initial exploration on the geography of belief, local histories and Marian hagiographies during the colonial Philippines. The hagiographies are juxtaposed with the missionary accounts commenting on the indigenous culture they encounter, while narrating their conversion efforts. This research will focus on the hagiographies of Marian apparitions in relation to drought and lack of access to fresh drinking water during the early contact years of colonization. In particular, this paper interrogates the Marian miracles and the consequent fluvial processions and other devotional practices in relation to waterways. The paper will also be looking at the continuities and/or discontinuities in the sacred meaning and functionality of the river between pre-Christian Austronesian roots of the natives and Spanish folk Catholicism brought by the missionaries. Mapping the Marian hagiographies related to drought is another way of looking at the early colonial period of the Philippines, a way of counter-mapping that blends the sacred and the profane, with water and the changing access and availability of it, at the core of the narrative. The conclusions of this study contextualizes the lack of water and the devotion to Mary as an act of appropriation and syncretism by the natives caught between the processes of evangelization and colonization.

Panel Env03
Drier worlds - living with water scarcity
  Session 1 Monday 15 April, 2019, -