Chicano/Chicana •  History •  Latin America and Religion

$19.95 hardcover

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Crossing Borders with the Santo Niño de Atocha

Juan Pescador

Crossing Borders with the Santo Niño de Atocha journeys through the genesis, development, and various metamorphoses in the veneration of the Holy Child of Atocha, from its origins in Zacatecas in the late colonial period through its different transformations over the centuries, across lands and borders, and to the ultimate rising as a defining religious devotion for the Mexican/Chicano experience in the United States.

It is a vivid account of the historical origins of the Santo Niño de Atocha and His transformations "Everywhere He ever walked," first in the nineteenth century, along the Camino de Tierra Adentro between Zacatecas and New Mexico, to His consolidation as a saint for the Borderlands, and finally, to His contemporary metamorphosis as a border-crossing religious symbol for the immigrant experience and the Mexican/Chicano communities in the United States.

Using a wide variety of visual and written materials from archives in Spain, Mexico, and the United States, along with oral history interviews, participant observation, photography, popular art, thanksgiving paintings, and private letters addressed to the Holy Child, Juan Javier Pescador presents the fascinating and intimate history of this religious symbol native to the Borderlands, while dispelling some myths and inaccurate references. Including narrative vignettes with his own personal experiences and fragments of his family's interactions with the Holy Child of Atocha, Pescador presents the book "as a thanksgiving testimony of the prominent position the Santo Niño de Atocha has enjoyed in the altarcitos of my family and the dear place He has carved in the hearts of my ancestors."

Visit the author's website at to learn more and to see images of the Santo Niño de Atocha included in the book.


Juan Javier Pescador is professor of history and a photographer. He teaches Chicano history and Mexican cultures in the United States at Michigan State University, East Lansing.


" Crossing Borders with the Santo Niño de Atocha is a rich, ethnographically informed case study of saint devotions. It is a much welcome addition to American Catholic Studies and borderlands religion in particular as it shows Iberian origins of American Catholic expressions of faith."


American Catholic Studies

6 x 9 in. 280 pages 51 halftones, 3 maps