Performing Piety, Making Space Sacred with the Virgin of Guadalupe

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The Virgin of Guadalupe, though quintessentially Mexican, inspires devotion throughout the Americas and around the world. This study sheds new light on the long-standing transnational dimensions of Guadalupan worship by examining the production of sacred space in three disparate but interconnected locations—at the sacred space known as Tepeyac in Mexico City, at its replica in Des Plaines, Illinois, and at a sidewalk shrine constructed by Mexican nationals in Chicago. Weaving together rich on-the-ground observations with insights drawn from performance studies, Elaine A. Peña demonstrates how devotees’ rituals—pilgrimage, prayers, and festivals—develop, sustain, and legitimize these sacred spaces. Interdisciplinary in scope, Performing Piety paints a nuanced picture of the lived experience of Guadalupan devotion in which different forms of knowing, socio-economic and political coping tactics, conceptions of history, and faith-based traditions circulate within and between sacred spaces.

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