Our Lady of the Island: Our Lady of Lourdes grotto reproduction and use in two Newfoundland communities

Kiigemagi, Cynthia A. (2022) Our Lady of the Island: Our Lady of Lourdes grotto reproduction and use in two Newfoundland communities. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Replicated Catholic grottos are local religious shrines fashioned after famous Catholic sites. Many of these reproduced shrines are dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and are designed after global Marian apparition sites, such as Our Lady of Lourdes in southwestern France. Replicated grottos play a part in Catholic communities through collective identity, religious narrative, and individual and communal devotions. Researching the replication of Lourdes's shrines can offer insight into the religious practices of groups and communities and the spiritual nuances of vernacular belief. This thesis examines two replicated Our Lady of Lourdes grottos in Renews and Flatrock, Newfoundland, and Labrador, Canada, by locating how these communities creatively negotiate local devotional sites. The central focus of this thesis lies in both the material context of these grottos and the oral narratives which have developed around them. These memetic edifices developed as a form of “creative theology” by the people and for the people (Cunneen 1996, xvii). I offer three arguments in this work. First, Our Lady of Lourdes reproductions are vernacular (folk) sites similar to the original French grotto site in its initial stages. Second, these replicated grotto sites are ostensive reproductions based on the legendary accounts of Bernadette’s experiences at Lourdes and should be recognized as such. Third, these reproductions are feminine in form and message; therefore, during a time of Church turmoil concerning clerical abuse, they offer an alternative to male-dominated places of Catholic worship. Using historical and ethnographic approaches, this work recognizes replicated Our Lady of Lourdes grottos as sacred spaces that are part of Newfoundland and Labrador's oral, historical, and visual religious culture. As such, they deserve to be recognized within the religious and cultural tapestry of Atlantic Canada.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/15948
Item ID: 15948
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 279-318)
Keywords: grottos, Catholic, Lourdes, outports, Newfoundland, Renews and Flatrock
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: November 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/PW9C-7S43
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Lourdes, Our Lady of--Newfoundland and Labrador--Flatrock; Lourdes, Our Lady of--Newfoundland and Labrador--Renews

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