By Karen Melvin

This publication tracks New Spain's mendicant orders previous their so-called golden age of missions into the consequent centuries and demonstrates they had both an important roles in what Melvin phrases the "spiritual consolidation" of towns. starting within the overdue 16th century, towns grew to become domestic to nearly all of friars and to the orders' wealthiest homes, and mendicants grew to become deeply embedded in city social and cultural existence. Friars ministered to city citizens of all races and social standings and engaged in conventional mendicant actions, serving as preachers, confessors, non secular administrators, alms creditors, educators, students, and sponsors of charitable works. every one order dropped at this paintings a different identification that trained people's ideals and formed diversifications within the perform of Catholicism. opposite to winning perspectives, mendicant orders flourished through the 17th and early eighteenth centuries, or even the eighteenth-century reforms that ended this period weren't as devastating as has been assumed.Even within the face of latest institutional demanding situations, the call for for his or her companies endured throughout the finish of the colonial interval, demonstrating the continuing energy of baroque piety.

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Additional info for Building Colonial Cities of God: Mendicant Orders and Urban Culture in New Spain

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The Council of Trent sought to untangle a complicated church structure by privileging diocesan structures over the church’s many other types of corporate bodies, including mendicant orders, and it specifically prohibited friars from serving as parish priests. Although this mandate did not directly alter the orders’ legal position regarding doctrinas, it did indicate growing preferences within the church for diocesan over mendicant clergy in ministries to the laity. 8 Also around 1570 the first of New Spain’s doctrinas were secularized (turned over to diocesan clergy) when the archbishop of Mexico forced all three orders (although the Franciscans were most affected) to give up some of their doctrinas around Mexico City.

This urban presence can be divided into two periods, a time of expansion and general prosperity from 1570 to 1730 and a period of new institutional challenges from 1730 through the end of the colonial period. The earlier era began when significant changes in the church and in colonial society more generally helped turn mendicants to urban occupations. They opened new convents in cities throughout New Spain, and increasing numbers of friars filled their houses. If the sixteenth century was the mendicants’ golden age in Indian towns, then the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were their golden age in cities.

Dominicans established their most important houses as administrative and educational centers that supported their doctrinas. Augustinians viewed their urban convents as spiritual home bases to ensure that friars complemented their active work with their contemplative responsibilities. Discalced Carmelites, Mercedarians, and Discalced Franciscans also founded most of their houses before 1630. The Discalced Carmelites established seven convents (47 percent of all their houses in New Spain); the Mercedarians, eleven (55 percent); and the Discalced Franciscans, nine (60 percent).

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