This week’s readings are super interesting to me and right on brand with my final project! I’m going to discuss my favourite article of the two “Sarita Colonia Comes Flying”.
I thought this article was super interesting because it demonstrates very clearly what powers people believe Sarita Colonia possesses from the perspective of someone who is a passionate believer. As a reader who believes in religion and few superstitions, I am initially tempted to judge this person for believing in something that sounds so foreign to me but then when I reflect on my own beliefs and superstitions.
However, when taking a moment to reflect, I understand that the value we ascribe to a particular belief system is subjectively biased and that my beliefs aren’t any less “unrealistic” or “absurd” than the next. I believe that how realistic the powers of supernatural beings are to us are influenced by our experiences, social norms, and cultural surroundings. In Vancouver, believing in something like the powers of Sarita Colonia or of “the grandfather” is probably not very common or accepted in our culture because we don’t have exposure to similar superstitions. However, in Peru, due to Sarita Colonia having a large following and other similar superstitions also having believers in Peru, the powers of Sarita Colonia are much more accepted as a common truth. The idea that murderous ghosts and Saints are just accepted in some mainstream societies is still crazy to me – I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a serious conversation about a ghost with a police sergeant.
Another thing I thought was interesting about this article is that despite Sarita Colonia having died as an ordinary and common person, she was made the saint of some of the most marginalized people in Peruvian society. This is rather peculiar because what could an ordinary woman who died from malaria have in common with the suspicious and shamed? My theory is that perhaps she was made the saint of Peru’s most overlooked populations because she was also overlooked and viewed as unimportant to society prior to her canonization.
As a regular young woman who met a tragic end, she had no apparent impact on society during her life. Maybe part of the appeal of Sarita Colonia is that while she was just a regular person who died a tragic death in this world, she was able to become an extraordinary being in the next world, despite how insignificant she was initially deemed by society. Maybe she is symbolic for second chances in life and death – a kind of hope symbol for those deemed unimportant by our world.
Discussion question: Why Sarita Colonia? Why would they have picked her of all people to become a saint? Do you think it was just random popular imagination that canonized Sarita Colonia or is there a reason behind it?