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The Alabados of New Mexico

Edited and Translated by Thomas J. Steele, S. J.

Publication Year: 2005

The 126 bilingual alabados are organized by theme, including the Christ child and holy family, passion narratives, sacraments, and prayers, etc. Steele includes complete texts and extensive commentaries. He has devoted decades to collecting and studying New Mexico's alabados and his annotations are enriched by his access to many versions of each hymn.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright, Dedication

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Table of Contents

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pp. xii

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pp. xiii

I have the privilege of being a member of La Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, known in common parlance as the Penitentes. Several years ago I was with my hermanos in the Morada del Rito in northern New Mexico during Holy Week. We were finishing...

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pp. 1

Pope John Paul II called for a “New Evangelization.” Three hundred years ago in eighteenth-century New Spain, the Franciscan friar Antonio Margil de Jesús (1657–1726) began an evangelization by alabados. He walked from the city of Mexico to Costa Rica to Texas and back, teaching people...

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The Sources of the Alabados

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pp. 3

The newly ordained Franciscan friar, Antonio Margil de Jesús (1657–1726), sailed from Spain to Veracruz in 1683 and threw himself into every possible sort of activity for the conversion and sanctification of anyone who would listen. He especially made a practice of teaching Catholic doctrine...

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Late Medieval Spirituality

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pp. 8

Spirituality may be defined as the personal human experience of believing in what some Christian community holds and teaches, the experience of praying, especially in a group, so as to get into personal conscious touch with the sacred personalities, and the experience of living by norms the...

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Living the New Spirituality

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pp. 11

Members of any religion must believe the sacred narrative of that religion for if they do not, they fail to belong. In traditional societies the members will perform ceremonies to express their belief physically, in public or in private. Sacred story and ritual, belief and holy ceremony, are consequently...

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New Mexican Spirituality

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pp. 18

In the realms of heavenly and earthly holiness, God the Father is the original archetype “from whom all fatherhood is named in heaven and on earth” (Eph. 3:15). Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, Our Father Jesus the Nazarene, was the titular patron of many confraternities in Spain and the...

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The Alabados as Poetry

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pp. 22

The author of the Lamy Rules of 1856, among the earlier surviving documents pertaining to the Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus the Nazarene, was almost certainly Father Dámaso Taladrid. The Taladrid-Lamy eleventh rule required the Hermano Mayor in charge of each chapter of the...

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The Music of the Alabados

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pp. 27

As someone foreign to this communal field of meaning, I initially listened with a critical ear to the music itself, but I did not achieve the experience it was intended to evoke. When I was able to go beyond this, I found an understanding of the music as a tool...

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Collectors and Singers

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pp. 32

The individuals named below have worked in the past or are continuing to work to preserve the texts and tonadas of the alabado tradition of New Mexico, seeing to it that as few songs as possible are lost to posterity...

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The Alabados

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pp. 34-388

As mentioned in the introduction, after the eleventh century people began to focus on the changeable humanity of Christ, and in this section we see him being born and growing up. The Hispanos and Pueblos of New Mexico still retain that same tender affection for the Christ Child and...


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pp. 389-393


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pp. 394-399

First Lines and Titles

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pp. 400-401

E-ISBN-13: 9780826329691
E-ISBN-10: 0826329691
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826329677
Print-ISBN-10: 0826329675

Page Count: 415
Illustrations: 23 halftones
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Alabados.
  • Hispanic American Catholics -- New Mexico.
  • Hispanic American Catholics -- Religious life.
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