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New World Colonial Franciscan Mystical Practice

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Chapter Summary

This chapter opens the opportunity for further research in a field so important for intercultural dialogue. Mystical practice arrived to the New World earlier than expected. It refers not only to the monastic life practiced by the religious orders - Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians - who by the 1530s were well established in the Americas. Instead, it refers to the devotional, ascetic and mystical practices introduced by these orders not only in the Spanish communities but in the converted native communities. It deserves attention since it provides an opportunity to approach the study of intercultural dialogue within a field almost unexplored up to now. This is the subject of this chapter: namely, to explore the Franciscan contribution to a dialogue on ascetic and mystical practices with the 16th-century Nahuas of central Mexico. It is believed that what the evangelization texts really show is the need for a deeper study of Nahua Christian literature.

Keywords: Franciscan; Mystical practice; Nahua; New World; Spanish communities



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