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The Cursillo Movement in America

Catholics, Protestants, and Fourth-Day Spirituality

Kristy Nabhan-Warren

Publication Year: 2013

The internationally growing Cursillo movement, or "short course in Christianity," founded in 1944 by Spanish Catholic lay practitioners, has become popular among American Catholics and Protestants alike. This lay-led weekend experience helps participants recommit to and live their faith. Emphasizing how American Christians have privileged the individual religious experience and downplayed denominational and theological differences in favor of a common identity as renewed people of faith, Kristy Nabhan-Warren focuses on cursillistas--those who have completed a Cursillo weekend--to show how their experiences are a touchstone for understanding these trends in post-1960s American Christianity.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii-x

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Preface: New Beginnings

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pp. xi-xxii

Heather Rankle and Judy Woolverton say they became good friends in Houston’s Tres Dias community and turn to each other for support and guidance. Tres Dias weekends in Texas are “more elaborate” than elsewhere because “well, you know how everything is bigger in Texas!” exclaims Heather, ...

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Introduction: Finding Christ and Community in America: The Significance of Catholic and Protestant Cursillos and the Fourth-Day Movement

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pp. 1-19

The Cursillo Movement in America: Catholics, Protestants, and Fourth-Day Spirituality is an ethnographically oriented history of the weekend Christian Cursillo movement, the “short course in Christianity,” among American Catholics and Protestants. What is today known interchangeably as the Cursillo (Cursillo de Cristiandad, or CdC) short course in Christianity ...

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Chapter One: Los Orígenes Mallorquines: Eduardo Bonnín Aguiló and the Birth of the Cursillo de Cristiandad Movement

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pp. 20-55

Sitting around the table in the office of Fundación Eduardo Bonnín Aguiló (FEBA) in Palma de Mallorca, a group of longtime colleagues and friends of Eduardo Bonnín talked at length about his profound faith, humility, and sense of humor. During the course of our conversations that afternoon in June, these Mallorquín Catholics wept as they shared their profound gratitude, ...

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Chapter Two: Coming to America: The Early History of U.S. Cursillos de Cristiandad

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pp. 56-83

Carlos Calatayud Maldonado made his Cursillo in Ciudad Real in 1956, at the cusp of the Cursillo weekends’ worldwide expansion. Despite Bishop Jesús Enciso Viana’s 1956 pastoral letter that sent Bonnín into exile and forced the three-day Cursillos and group reunions to operate clandestinely, what were now known as Cursillos de Cristiandad, ...

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Chapter Three: A Focus on Christian Experience: The Protestant Cursillos (Tres Dias, Walk to Emmaus, Via de Cristo) and the National Episcopal Cursillo

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pp. 84-126

By the mid-1960s, mainline American Protestants like Bob and Rhoda Franks had heard enough about the Catholic Cursillo weekend to be convinced that they had to experience the three days for themselves. What they were hearing (and seeing) was exciting and intriguing; Catholic friends and relatives talked about changed lives, ...

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Chapter Four: Blooming Where We’re Planted: U.S. Catholics and Protestants Talk about Living Their Cursillo

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pp. 127-165

For the cursillistas interviewed for this book, making their Cursillo was about becoming a better person. They emerged from the intensive three days as renewed men, women, Catholics, Protestants, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives. For Catholic cursillistas like José Herrera, the weekend experience led them to nothing less than an epiphany. ...

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Chapter Five: Teens Encounter Christ: Pioneer in Young Adult Weekend Experiences

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pp. 166-198

It is a humid and warm summer day in Festus, Missouri, when I finally meet Dorothy Gereke, one of the cofounders of Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), in person, after many long distance phone conversations. Ever the gracious hostess, she insists “Never mind, let’s talk now!” when I unintentionally wake her from a late-afternoon nap at the Drury Inn, where we were staying. ...

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Chapter Six: Feeding Bodies and Souls: Kairos Prison Ministry International

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pp. 199-225

We meet on a warm Thursday afternoon in May 2010 at a church in southern Indiana, just a few miles from Rockville Correctional Facility, the women’s medium-security prison where the weekend events will take place. Approximately 1,300 female inmates are housed there. As the time neared for us to drive to the prison, the forty-six women present take a moment to hold hands and pray aloud ...

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Chapter Seven: Maverick yet Mainstream: Christ Renews His Parish and Great Banquet

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pp. 226-244

While the mainline Fourth-Day movements we have encountered so far can trace their roots directly to the Mallorquín weekend Catholic Cursillos, still other movements and encounters have branched off of them. While technically not part of the Fourth-Day movement proper, the offshoots of Fourth-Day movements share in the major aims and goals of the Cursillo weekend encounters that inspired them. ...

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Epilogue: Cursillo Weekends, Fourth-Day Spirituality, and the Future

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pp. 245-254

As we have seen, Catholic and Protestant Cursillos are lay-sponsored, parachurch, church-supported weekend retreats that address individual Christians as important, vital members of the larger Church body. Although some within the Cursillo movement shun the term retreat, in my own experience at a Cursillo ...

Appendix One: Cursillo Chronology

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pp. 255-256

Appendix Two: Glossary

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pp. 256-258


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pp. 259-302


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pp. 303-319

E-ISBN-13: 9781469608037
E-ISBN-10: 1469608030
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469607153
Print-ISBN-10: 1469607158

Page Count: 344
Illustrations: 12
Publication Year: 2013