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Religions 2018, 9(8), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080233

Holy Mothers in the Vietnamese Diaspora: Refugees, Community, and Nation

Department of Sociology, Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento, CA 95823, USA
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract

Holy mothers, specifically the Vietnamese-looking Our Lady of Lavang and Caodai Mother Goddess, are the crucibles of faith for many Vietnamese Catholics and Caodaists. Based on ethnographic data collected in California, which has the largest overseas Vietnamese population, I argue that Vietnamese refugees and their US-reared descendants have been able to re-centralize their fragmented communities through the innovative adaptation of holy mother worship. In particular, Vietnamese Catholics in the US have transformed the European image of Our Lady of Lavang into a Vietnamese woman and exported it to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Vietnamese American Caodaists have revived traditional religious rituals for the Caodai Mother Goddess which were repressed and prohibited for many years under communism in Vietnam. Through their shared devotion to holy mothers, these Vietnamese American faithful have also rebuilt relations with co-ethnic co-religionists living throughout the world. For both the Vietnamese Catholic and Caodai groups, holy mothers have emerged as emblems of their deterritorialized nation in the diaspora. View Full-Text
Keywords: Virgin Mary; Our Lady of Lavang; Mother Goddess; Holy Mother; Catholicism; Caodaism; diaspora; nation; refugee; Vietnamese Virgin Mary; Our Lady of Lavang; Mother Goddess; Holy Mother; Catholicism; Caodaism; diaspora; nation; refugee; Vietnamese
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Ninh, T.-H. Holy Mothers in the Vietnamese Diaspora: Refugees, Community, and Nation. Religions 2018, 9, 233.

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