Talk:Folk saint/Draft

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 Definition A deceased person or spirit that is venerated as a saint but who has not been officially canonized by the Church. [d] [e]
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Historical Perspective?

I was reading this article, and I got to wondering about the way the term 'Folk saint' gets used in anthropology or the social sciences more broadly. Is the term only used for objects of popular veneration in modern-day Latin America, or is the term used more broadly for objects of veneration that fall outside of the Catholic mainstream?

I ask because I'm curious about the way that the concept gets read back into history. Before about 1000, of course, there was no official process of canonization in the Western church (I don't know about the east, off the top of my head). Do saints from before 1000 count as folk saints, or is the use of the concept restricted to Latin America (or other present-day Catholic areas)? Brian P. Long 14:34, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

That's a good question. Folk saints tend to arise in a colonized context when local religions or traditions are subsumed by Catholicism. In fact, more than a few of the canonized saints seem to have had lives as regional deities or cultural heroes long before they were venerated by Christians. This phenomenon is certainly not restricted to Latin America but the Cathlicism of Latin America is highly syncretic in some ways and seems to keep producing more saints. The essential difference is that folk saints are not recognized by the Church but people petition their spirits nonetheless.
As far are saints from before 1000, I'm not sure. I suspect they were venerated in much the same way as folk saints, which is to say according to local custom rather than official doctrine. But there was no official list to compare them against, so it is hard to say that they stood in contrast to official saints the way folk saints do. I have a book here on the history/hagiography of a few canonized saints during the colonial period in Latin America that might shed some light on the process of passing from unofficial to official.
I'll have a look at some of my sources and a think about how to make the article clear on this point. Please feel free to pitch in if you have any ideas.--Joe Quick 15:08, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
There's still some work to be done, but I think the article is coming together now. What do you think of my adjustments, Brian? --Joe Quick 19:23, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
I think this looks good. The article has me thinking about some things related to saints, syncretism, and official sanction in the first thousand years of the church, but I don't yet have a good way to work these things into the article. I'll let you know if I do. Thanks, Brian P. Long 16:09, 9 March 2009 (UTC)


I am nominating this article for approval since it appears complete and appropriately encyclopedic. It would be good to be joined in this nomination by an anthropology editor or someone in religion. Roger Lohmann 15:05, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

I would think it would need at least a brief description of the Protestant/Reformation viewpoint on folk saints. David L Green 01:29, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd love to but I've never heard or read anything about that perspective. Could you help? --Joe Quick 02:49, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I am not an author on this piece; only trying to shepherd it through to approval, but it strikes me that the the Reformation viewpoint on saints would be very appropriate in the general entry on saints. But Martin Luther's recognition of the Roman/pagan origins of Catholic/Christian saints and consequent characterization of the veneration of saints as 'idolatry' doesn't really apply here. (There may also be other facets of the Protestant/Reformation viewpoint relevant here that I'm not aware of.) In any case, the article offers a cultural rather than a doctrinal perspective; it struck me that folk saints arose in a largely Latin American context where there was no significant Protestant cultural presence to speak of until late in the 20th century, long after this folk-culture configuration took root. Thus, including that point here could be construed as assuming a Protestant viewpoint not consistent with the CZ neutrality policy.
There would certainly be room here in a later revision for fuller exploration of the colonial and native cultural mix that produced these folk saints, and variations in African and other colonial cultural regions, but that shouldn't deter approval of the first draft. Because of the paucity of other material on the subject, this article already appears #1 on a Google search for "Folk saint". Given the CZ editorial philosophy, it is important to add our imprimatur to what is really a very fine article.
Roger Lohmann 12:32, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Toward Approval

I see that editor Roger Lohmann has nominated this article after making what looks to be only these edits, which I think all pass as copy edits. Therefore a single editor approval is in order and set for June 27th, 2009. Keep an eye on the version number as the date approaches as the version in the Template is the one that becomes the approved version. As Roger eludes to, other editors are encouraged to sign on as well and can only increase credibility. D. Matt Innis 02:03, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I left a note for Robert Stockman earlier today about joining in on approval. I brought the article to his attention a little while ago and we were briefly in communication about it but the discussion never really went anywhere. Hopefully, he can join in on approval now. --Joe Quick 02:52, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Roger, do you want to include Shamira's edits in the approved version? They look good to me. --Joe Quick 19:18, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Good thing you brought that up, I was literally just about ready to start the approval process. Now I'll hold off until I get a final word. Hayford Peirce 19:37, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Oops, was I not supposed to do that? I have a bad habit of copyediting when I read. Shamira Gelbman 20:07, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
It's certainly not a hanging offensive. I'll let you, Joe, and Roger hash it out. Hayford Peirce 20:26, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
That was a good thing. It's the kind of edit that the time between nomination and actual approval is meant to allow. The nominating editor just needs to update the version to be approved to include any new edits that he/she thinks should be included in the approved version. --Joe Quick 20:29, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay, so I'll wait until Roger does his thing. Hayford Peirce 20:44, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

I have no problem with Shamira's edits, and most of George's, but I do have two small questions (on which I don't have any settled views: First, dead or deceased seems to be a stylistic toss-up for which I don't have any clear sense of which we ought to prefer. More importantly, while I can see where George want's to go with replacing the Catholic church reference with "any church" I guess I wonder if in this case this doesn't change the original author's intent ever so slightly: The article as I read it isn't about folk saints in general, but about folk saints in the Latin American Catholic tradition. Thus, I wonder if this is the best way to handle it, or if we should move the generalizing references to links and related articles. I'll leave George's edits for someone with authorial (or other editorial) insights. ...said Roger Lohmann (talk)

point of order

Strickly from a technical perspective on the approval mechanics, the rules suggest that we need to perform the mechanics when the date comes using the version that is in the ToApprove section of the metadata template. It does allow us to add any copy edits that may have occurred after that version. It is really important, though, to realize that copy edits can change the meaning of the text in ways that the lay person (constable) may not realize, and therefore we need to err on the side of being conservative. In a case such as this, I would think that the rules want us to approve this article today - with or without Roger's instructions. I feel comfortable that Shamira's are copy edits because she has only changed the order of the words with the link remaining the same, but I think we also allow our Approvals Manager to make determinations in cases where there might be some question. So, what say ye, Approvals Manager? Which version do we freeze? Roger can always request a change when he returns. D. Matt Innis 18:34, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, whatever you decided, please make certain that the Poor Old Kop on the Beat understands *exactly* what is to be done. Unless Matt wants to do this particular approval.... Hayford Peirce 18:37, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I was away at a conference and my internet connection wasn't what I was expecting it to be, so I've belatedly just gotten back to these issues. I'll take a look at them in the morning. Meanwhile, assuming nothing has been frozen yet, I've set the Approval Date ahead to July 1. Please be aware that I've found another editor who is willing to consider joining me, but is currently on vacation. He thinks he can get to it early this week, but I may wind up moving it back another few days to accommodate him. So, just hold off on freezing anything for now. Roger Lohmann 23:00, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I won't do anything at all until I have an absolute green light from you -- it's incredibly frustrating to be away from home and not have the Internet working just the way we've grown accustomed to! Hayford Peirce 23:04, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, for sure wait if there could be another editor. Religion maybe? As far as Matt's question to me as approvals manager, I think I should excuse myself from doing anything in that role for this article because I was also the primary author of the article. --Joe Quick 02:38, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
It is, in fact, a religion editor who was on vacation last week, which is part of the reason for extending the deadline. Part of the confusion of roles that seems to have arisen about this one is that I had originally contacted Matt alerting him to it because I thought you would be excusing yourself from the approval process. It looks like everyone who needs to know is aware of these circumstances, so we should be cool at this point, but handling these kinds of subtleties of the approval process with no face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact can be tricky! Roger Lohmann 14:01, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Hayford, what I intend to freeze is the latest version incorporating these changes (and any more like it that may come along) and once we get the second editor issue squared away. Roger Lohmann 14:23, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Looks to me like the process is working wonderfully. Roger did tell me about Joe being an author here, and I FORGOT! I agree that the change from Catholic to "all religions" is definitely a content issue that needs editorial agreement (as it apparently has). Bottom line is that everything is progressing according to design and seems to be working well. I will step back and let you all do what you do best! Great work!D. Matt Innis 19:08, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

My first edit

Hello, all. I've taken the liberty of making my first edit to the lead of this article. I did so when I noted that the whole thing is being considered in the approval process. I think my corrections are fairly obvious, but if they are not, kindly let me know.

The article still needs editing. This is not to denigrate the work that has been done before, but a new eye would catch some errors and questions before it is approved.

In particular, I wonder about the emphasis on Catholicism. Surely the Orthodox and Protestant churches have "folk saints" as well. If not, the lack thereof should be explained. That aside, I would like to work over the remaining paragraphs and, one hopes, tighten or improve them. I look forward to your remarks. Sincerely, your friend, George Garrigues 03:30, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for diving in with your edits, George! That's exactly the sort of behavior the Approval process is meant to provoke, in my view. One of the real (quite astounding, actually) insights on which the wiki project is based is that new pairs of eyes always see errors to be corrected and questions to be answered. (Even after approval, which is what the Draft and revision process is all about). So, if you see other things that need to be mended, have at it.
In response to your third paragraph, do you have any specific suggestions, ideas or language? Surely, the Protestant tradition has venerated figures, but as I understand it many parts of Protestantism (and specifically Lutheranism and Calvinism) involved, explicit, theological rejection of the Catholic model of sainthood. I'm less certain of the Orthodox traditions. My thought at this point would be that this is complex enough it deserves consideration in a separate (and linked) set of one or more Related Articles. Roger Lohmann 13:56, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your work, George. Some of the edits you made changed the meaning in a way that made the text subtly inaccurate, but others were really helpful. Thus, I reworked some of your changes but preserved many of them.--Joe Quick 14:25, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, I worked on the rest of it in my best copy-editor mode, and I will leave it to you and others to bring it into shape. I am more interested right now in doing some writing of my own. It's an interesting article and will undoubtedly get a good spot on any Google search since the subject is not treated very well elsewhere. Sincerely, George Garrigues 17:20, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Updated Permalink

I've updated the permanent link for the Main page of this article to the version incorporating Shamira and George's edits, minus Joe's exceptions to a few of George's changes. There have been no recent changes to the Subpages, so the version there remains correct. Now I'll wait to see if any other matters come up, and what our candidate second editor thinks of this. Roger Lohmann 15:31, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I just went through and fixed up a few errors that crept in in the process of copyedits. I'll read it again before the approval deadline arrives, but I think I'm happy with it now. --Joe Quick 20:43, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Orthodox regions

I just found an article about a Russian folk saint in the New York Times: The description is eerily familiar; one could switch out the Russian for Argentina and it would make as much sense. I'll see if I can find others in other regions and incorporate them into the article to show the universal traits. It'll be done by the 1st, I promise :-0 --Joe Quick 20:49, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

One more:,5120976
I guess it's technically the first already, so I didn'y quite keep my promise above, but I think I've done what I can now. Future versions of the article can be expanded if need be. Do the newest changes look good to you, Roger? The version number will need to be updated in the metadata template again. --Joe Quick 05:16, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

APPROVED Version 1.0

Congratulations, Joe and all those who contributed to this very interesting article. Any undetected errors can be noted here or simply corrected on the Drafts page, and any suggestions for additional discussion or improvements should be added to the Drafts page. Meanwhile, this interesting contribution will probably continue to pop up as #1 on Google searches of Folk Saint until some anonymous troll pastes it into that other online encyclopedia. Roger Lohmann 20:47, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Added an allusion to Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist folk saints

I was exchanging messages with Roger Lohmann about this article. As a religion editor, I agree with him that the article generally conforms to encyclopedic style, tone, and coherence. I do not know anything about folk saints and have no time to check the article for accuracy, but I do know that Muslim saints tombs exist in Morocco--I visited one--and that Hinduism and Buddhism, I believe, has a similar phenomenon. So I have added a sentence making it clear that this article deals primarily with saints in historically Catholic regions of the world, since we don't have anyone who can add sections on Muslim and other folk saints. Perhaps some day we'll have separate articles on those phenomena; wouldn't that be great?

I have also offered a few very small grammatical changes.

Robert Stockman 20:48, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Just before approval, I added a sentence referring to the parallel figures in Islam, though I didn't have time to elaborate it. I might see about starting a new article on similar phenomena in other religious contexts soon, though I have a few other ideas that I'd like to tackle first. --Joe Quick 15:48, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
In imperial China there were shrines (usually not explicitly Buddhist, I think) to such people, many of whom were officials who had governed a locality for a few years and then moved on; those were erected sometimes to praise, and to be a site for praying for further benefits from, a good official; and sometimes as a means of criticizing a new, bad official by comparing the previous guy favorably to the current one. In fact, it was not uncommon for such shrines to be built to people who were still alive (these are called "living shrines"). I know of a couple of China scholars who are working on that latter phenomenon right now and I'll try to put something together on that when they start publishing their findings. Bruce M. Tindall 18:18, 6 February 2011 (UTC)