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Possessed by the Virgin – Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Marian Possession in South India - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Possessed by the Virgin: Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Marian Possession in South India

Kristin C. Bloomer


This book is an ethnographic account of three Roman Catholic women in contemporary Tamil Nadu, south India, who claim to be possessed by Mary, the mother of Jesus. It follows their lives over more than a decade, describing their own, the researcher’s own, and devotees’ understandings of the women’s healing and possession practices along with questions about agency, gender roles, authenticity, and social power. It asks, how is it that some experiences of “possession” (a word introduced to India by Christian missionaries, which the book complicates through Tamil renditions) are recognized as aut ... More

Keywords: Blessed Virgin Mary, Marian possession, spirit possession, ritual, Tamil Nadu, Roman Catholicism, gender, agency, Hinduism, healing

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190615093
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190615093.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kristin C. Bloomer, author
Associate Professor of Religion, Carleton College