Pèlerinages et Miracles À Guadalupe Au XVIe Siècle

Article excerpt

Pèlerinages et miracles à Guadalupe au XVIe siècle. By Françoise Crémoux. [Bibliothèque de la Casa de Velázquez, Vol. 17.] (Madrid: Casa de Velázquez. 2001. Pp. viii, 260. euro 27,04.)

In Pèlerinages et miracles à Guadalupe au XV^sup e^ siècle, Françoise Crémoux aims to uncover the "history of lived religion" (p. 2) at the renowned Marian shrine of Guadalupe, located in Extremadura in western Spain. Guadalupe's statue of the Virgin Mary-purportedly created by St. Luke and owned by Pope Gregory the Great-was transported to Spain and successfully preserved despite Mediterranean tempests and Islamic invasions; when the statue was rediscovered in the fourteenth century, prayers to it resulted in miracles, which quickly inspired royal patronage, papal privileges, and thousands of pilgrims. In the best Annales tradition, Crémoux seeks to resurrect the spiritual universe of those pilgrims in the sixteenth century. Her way into the pilgrims' world is through the miracles they recounted, which were transcribed, edited, and collected by the Jeronimite monks who ran Guadalupe's monastery and shrine.

In the first five chapters, Crémoux takes the reader through competing accounts of the Virgin's transmission and discovery; describes her manuscript sources; explores the geographic provenance and chronological fluctuations of the pilgrims; assesses the pilgrims sociologically, with an eye to their age, sex, and social class; and evaluates the kinds of miracles they were seeking or relaying. On the positive side, many of Crémoux's conclusions are valuable if not wholly startling. She finds that more men than women made the pilgrimage; that adults predominated as pilgrims, in comparison to the elderly or adolescents; that exceedingly few pilgrims came from the Kingdom of Aragon, and that pilgrims who were not Spanish tended to be linked by maritime networks throughout the Mediterranean. Pilgrimages to Guadalupe possessed a rhythm, with the greatest quantity occurring in May and September-a fact Crémoux attributes, undoubtedly correctly, to good weather and Marian feastdays. Moreover, out of the 747 pilgrims' accounts that she has evaluated for the period 1510-1599, by far the majority occurred before 1560, a finding which she ties to Trent's cautions about the veneration of saints and the cultural rigidity that allegedly occurred under Philip II. …