Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Crowley, Nara Maria Ersilia Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-04152010-162352 Title The Expansion of the St. Joseph Altar in South Louisiana Degree Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (M.A.L.A.) Department Liberal Arts (Interdepartmental Program) Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Brody, Jill Committee Chair Clark, William Committee Member Ricapito, Joseph V. Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2009-12-11 Availability unrestricted AbstractCrowley, Nara Maria Ersilia, B.A., The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2001.
Master of Arts in Liberal Arts, Spring Commencement 2010
Major: Liberal Arts
The Expansion of the St. Joseph Altar in South Louisiana
Thesis directed by Professor Mary Jill Brody
Page in thesis,113. Words in abstract, 146
According to folklore, the Catholic St. Joseph Altar tradition dates back to the
Fifteenth century droughts in Sicily. The famine that ensued resulted in prayers to the patron saint of protection, St. Joseph. Two legends evolved from the cessation of the drought - one of thanks for ending the famine, the other for protecting one vital source of nutrition, the fava bean. Two parables influenced the development of permanent traditions known today as the St. Joseph Altar. The two ideals remain intact – one of gratitude, the other of petition.
The Italian Sicilian diaspora of the mid-nineteenth century sprinkled the St. Joseph Altar tradition globally. Sparsely scattered throughout the United States and internationally, South Louisiana offers more celebrations of the St. Joseph Altar than in all of North America. This comparative study explores the impetus that perpetuates and inflates the St. Joseph Altar celebration in South Louisiana.
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