Blessed with Tourists: The Borderlands of Religion and by Thomas S. Bremer

By Thomas S. Bremer

Greater than one million travelers stopover at non secular landmarks in San Antonio, Texas, every year, staring at and occasionally engaging in non secular actions there. The San Antonio Missions nationwide old Park--managed by means of the nationwide Park carrier, in cooperation with the Catholic Church--is one in all enormous quantities of spiritual areas in the United States and around the globe the place travelers became a well-known presence. In Blessed with travelers, Thomas S. Bremer explores the intersection of tourism and trade with faith in American, utilizing the missions and different San Antonio websites as major examples.Bremer recounts the historical past of San Antonio, from its local American roots to its improvement as a spiritual heart with the expansion of the Spanish colonial missions, to the trendy transformation of San Antonio right into a vacationer vacation spot. utilising either ethnographic and ancient techniques, Bremer examines the recommendations of position, identification, aesthetics, and commercialization, demonstrating quite a few ways in which smooth industry forces impact non secular groups. by means of deciding upon vital connections among non secular and touristic practices, Bremer establishes San Antonio as a particular resource for someone looking to comprehend the interaction among the spiritual and the secular, the conventional and the fashionable.

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83 Yet despite infestations, hardships, and persistent inconveniences, increas                     ;  ing numbers of travelers made their way to San Antonio. Most of the visitors in the nineteenth century saw the city through the aesthetic lens of a tourist’s eye, and many remarked on the beauty of its attractions. Word of ‘‘the beautiful country about San Antonio’’ reached Francis S. Latham, a newspaperman from Memphis, Tennessee, as he traveled in Texas in . He described his own first impressions of the city, which he viewed from a hilltop about a mile away: ‘‘The famous and sanguinary city of San Antonio de Bexar broke upon our view.

They closely observed the land, its flora, fauna, and people, and recorded their observations in diaries. And they named places with the names of saints, which not only bestowed a religious meaning on the significant features of the landscape but also marked their claim to those places on the Catholic calendar. Hence the name ‘‘San Antonio de Pádua’’ encompassed itinerant practices that, among other things, brought European religion to the place by the river and thereby marked the location both spatially and temporally.

62 But they also foretold the end of the missions as key instruments in the colonial enterprise. New policies and rapidly shifting political realities made the missions largely irrelevant and somewhat burdensome for the colonial government. Moreover, drastically attenuated numbers of mission residents and the diminished prospect of new native converts gave the missions few justifications for continuing. In , the process of secularization began at San Antonio’s missions when the colonial governor of Texas, Manuel Muñoz, ordered the secularization of Mission San Antonio.

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