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Religion / Religión

In English?

In this lesson we reflect on the importance of religious experience for many Latinx in the United States. We also develop our observation skills by analyzing the physical properties of an object and making inferences about its owner.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will learn about the salience of religion in the construction of ethnic solidarity networks in Mexican American communities
  • Students will manipulate and compare a set of digital objects to make inferences about those objects and their historical context
  • Students will become acquainted with the concept of sociolinguistic register and will reflect on the ways in which their own speech varies according to context, interlocutor and communicative purpose

In this lesson, we focus on…

  • Visual literacy: Analysis of a digital object and its context
  • Language: The concept of sociolinguistic register
  • Grammar: Uses of the conditional and the future to speculate about present and past events

Materials

  1. Digital images of front and back of personal rosary belonging to Jesusita Baros Torres.
  2. Digital image of German rosary. 1760-1800. Silver filigree and glass beads. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
  3. Digital images of front and back of memorial card for Jesusita Baros Torres.
  4. Digital image of page one of personal letter from Jesusita Baros Torres to Santos Baros Schubert, dated April 7, 1961.
  5. Digital image of page one of personal letter from Jesusita Baros Torres to Santos Baros Schubert, dated March, 11, 1958.
  6. Library of Congress Teacher’s Guide to Analyzing Books & Other Printed Texts (one-page handout) [pdf]

Pido a Dios por ustedes

Lesson Plan Overview

  1. Antes de empezar
  2. Para continuar la conversación
  3. Mira otra vez, mira más de cerca
  4. Después de leer: ¡manos a la obra!
  5. Focus on Grammar
  6. Focus on Language
  7. Un paso más: en comunidad
  8. Down the rabbit, whole...

Antes de empezar

For Teachers

The focus of this instructional sequence is the importance of religion for many Latinx families and communities. In this lesson, students manipulate a set of digital objects related to the religious practice of one Mexican American woman, and make inferences about her social experience.

Step 1. In class. Begin the conversation by highlighting the diversity of religious experience among Latinx. Highlight the fact that although the majority of Latin@s in the US are Catholic or Christian, there are also Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist Latin@s, as well as Latin@s who ascribe to other systems of belief, and Latin@s who do not practice any religion at all. Consider enriching your class discussion with data from the Religious Landscape Study published online by the Pew Research Center.

Step 2. Without giving them more details, tell students that you are about to show them a personal object belonging to someone for whom religion was very important. Tell them that they will be working in small groups to examine its materials, composition, use, wear, etc. to find out what the object tells them about the life of its owner.

Step 3. Organize students into smaller groups. Display or write on the board 10-15 vocabulary items and 3-5 phrases in Spanish that will help students present their inferences to the rest of the class. A few ideas: Me parece que… , podría ser que…, es posible que…, quizá sea porque...

Step 4. Give students time to manipulate the two digital images of Jesusita Baros Torres’ rosary. Ask them to zoom in on the details, and to look at both sides of the object. Ask them to jot down what they see, what comes to their minds. What is this, and who does it belong to? Does it look like something you own or you know? As your students work, walk among the groups and ask questions that invite them to look closely at the details in the image. For example: Si ves muy de cerca, ¿qué notas en cada nudo? ¿De qué está cubierto? ¿Qué es? ¿Es algún tipo de grasa? ¡Qué interesante! ¿Por qué crees que cada nudo está cubierto de grasa? ¿Te parece un objeto de decorativo, o un objeto que se usó muchas veces?

Step 5. Each group shares with the rest of the class, in Spanish, what they think they know about that object and its owner. If needed, consider reminding students to make use of the vocabulary and the phrases you’ve listed on the board.

Step 6. Tell students that the picture they’ve just analyzed is an image of the personal rosary of Jesusita Baros Torres, a Mexican American woman who migrated to the United States with her two youngest children from Jalpa, Zacatecas, México, in the 1920s Explain that she belonged to her Catholic parish in Fort Lupton, Colorado, until her death in 1976. Invite students to think about the role of religion and community in the immigrant experience. If appropriate, ask your class if anyone has a story that highlights the importance of a religious community in their family’s life.

Para continuar la conversación

For Teachers

In this activity, students compare two images of similar objects and make inferences about their use and the identity of their owners. While doing so, they practice making comparisons and expressing hypotheticals in Spanish.

For this activity you will need to display side-by-side images of Jesusita Baros Torres’ rosary, and 18th Century silver and glass German rosary that belongs to the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Without providing details about the provenance of the second image, invite students to compare both objects and to articulate what they think they know about the function and form of both rosaries. If appropriate, you may consider displaying on the board 3-5 phrases that will help students to make comparisons and express hypotheticals in Spanish.

After every student in class has contributed a comment in Spanish to this comparison, you can let your students know that it is an image of a silver filigree and Murano glass bead rosary made between 1760-1800 in the south of Germany:

Fíjense que este de acá es un rosario muy bonito, de filigrana de plata y cuentas de vidrio de Murano, que fue hecho en el sur de Alemania entre 1760 y 1800. Filigrana, ¿conocen esa palabra? Es una palabra que viene del mundo de la joyería. Es una técnica para trabajar el metal así como en esta imagen.
Alternatively, you may wish to show the image in the context of the museum’s website.


For Students

Ahora vamos a comparar la imagen que acabamos de analizar con la de un objeto similar. Cuando observas las dos imágenes juntas, ¿qué sabes sobre esos dos objetos? ¿qué sabes sobre los materiales con los que fueron hechos? ¿para qué fueron hechos? ¿Qué te dicen esos dos objetos acerca de sus dueños? ¿Cómo lo sabes, qué detalles de cada imagen te hacen pensar eso? Comparte tus respuestas con tus compañeros. Si las necesitas, usa las frases que tu maestr@ escribió en el pizarrón para ayudarte.

Mira otra vez, mira más de cerca

For Teachers

In this activity, students analyze two letters sent by Jesusita Baros Torres to her daughter, Santos Baros Schubert, from Fort Lupton, CO, to Lincoln, NE in 1958 and 1961. These letters, written in Spanish, were the main form of communication between mother and daughter over the course of three decades.

The first letter (L198, dated 1961), highlights Jesusita’s belief in the importance of transmission of the Catholic faith for the wellbeing of her family. The second letter (L196, dated 1958), highlights the importance of religious societies for the wellbeing of ethnic solidarity networks.

After a brief introduction to the digital objects they will manipulate, students will be presented with a set of questions that will help them understand these objects and their historical context. Because you are more familiar with the proficiency level, profiles, and developmental needs of your own students, these questions are to be prepared by you, the teacher. A good resource to help you prepare these questions in a time-effective manner is the Primary Source Analysis Tool , published by the Library of Congress, and freely available in electronic or pdf formats.


For Students

Las dos cartas que vas a leer fueron enviadas por Jesusita Baros Torres a su hija Santos Baros Schubert, de Fort Lupton, Colorado a Lincoln, Nebraska, en 1958 y 1961.

En esa época, las llamadas de larga distancia eran muy caras; recibir y enviar cartas era la mejor manera de enterarse de las noticias de la familia, pedir favores, hacer recomendaciones y mantener vivos los lazos afectivos. En los hogares en los que se hablaba una lengua adicional al inglés, también era una manera de mantener viva la lengua de la familia. Estas cartas, escritas en español, fueron la principal forma de comunicación entre madre e hija durante tres décadas.

Usa las preguntas que te va a presentar tu maestr@ para analizar estos dos documentos.


For Teachers

Present students with the set of questions you’ve prepared to help them work with these digital objects. Remember that you can save time and effort by using the Primary Source Analysis Tool , published by the Library of Congress.

Rosary
  • Title: Personal Rosary
  • Identifier: shan.M001
  • Date:
  • Format: Miscellaneous
  • Creator: N/A
  • Held by: Elizabeth Jane and Steve Shanahan of Davey, NE
View more information about shan.M001

Front and back of personal rosary beads belonging to Jesusita Baros Torres, Fort Lupton, CO. Twine and aluminum. Printed on verso: "I’m a Catholic. Please call a priest" (ND).

Personal Rosary

Memorial card
  • Title: Memorial card
  • Identifier: shan.D008
  • Date: 1976 (circa)
  • Format: Card
  • Creator: N/A
  • Held by: Elizabeth Jane and Steve Shanahan of Davey, NE
View more information about shan.D008

Memorial card for Jesusita Baros Torres. Rice Funeral Chapel, Brighton, CO (1976). Recto: Image of Christ with thorns.

Memorial card

Que le enseñes a tus hijos la religión
  • Title: Letter from Jesusita Baros Torres to Santos Baros Schubert, April 7, 1961
  • Identifier: shan.L198
  • Date: April 7, 1961
  • Format: Manuscript
  • Creator: N/A
  • Held by: Elizabeth Jane and Steve Shanahan of Davey, NE
View more information about shan.L198

Personal letter from Jesusita Baros Torres to Santos Baros Schubert. Sent from Fort Lupton. CO., to Lincoln, NE. One postmarked envelope and three handwritten pages (1961).

Original

  Forth Lupton Colo Querida hija,

la presente es para saludarte, tanto á ti Como á tu esposo y familia, esperando que aygas pasaso bien estos días de la Cuaresma pues nosotros estamos bien con salud Gracias á Dios;

pues como me da gusto, que tu enseñes á tus niños á la religion Catolica; aslos á todos que se confirmen y se confiesen resíban los sacramentos de la Iglesia Catolíca; y tu tambien as tiempo para confesarte y recívir flos sacramentos;

bueno muchas gracias   por los retratos que me mandastes, no mas te falto el Billy boy, el no esta, pero todos esta muy bien grandes que estan ya los muchachos;

Ojala y no se te enfermen; se miran muy bien; yo é estado muy bien no me á agarado la pataleta; Bendito Díos; es porlo que le doy Gracias á Díos;

y mira hija te encargo que no te estes mucho sín escrivir yo me estube desde march 17. para hora es 7, april; pero tu que estas asta 3, meses sín escribír, no creas simpre tengo pena de Uds, tanto que pasa;

bueno pues creo que esto sera todo por esta ves; muchos recuerdos para Bill tu esposo   y para Billy boy y para Robert, y Pamela, y para Elizabeth;

y tu recive el mas fino recuerdo de nosotros Jess y family, Max y tu mamá Jesusita Baros; Torres

Translation

  Fort Lupton, Colorado Dear daughter,

this letter is to greet you as well as your husband and family, hoping you’ve spent a good Lent. We are well and healthy, thank God.

Well, how it makes me glad that you are teaching your children about raising your children in the Catholic religion. Take all of them to be confirmed, and to confess, to receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church. And you too, make time to go to confession and to receive the sacraments.

Well, thank you   for the portraits that you sent me. The only one missing is Billy Boy. He is not in them, but everyone else came out quite well. The kids are very big.

I hope they don’t get sick. They look great. I’ve been quite well. I haven’t had the tantrum health crisis, blessed be God. For this I thank God.

And look, I entrust you ask you to beg of you not to take too long before writing to me. I have not written since March 17, and today is April 7, but you let up to three months go by without writing, and really, I worry about you, with so many things happening going on.

Well, I think this will be all for today. Many regards much love for Bill, your husband.   and for Billy Boy, and for Robert, and Pamela, and for Elizabeth;

and you, receive the finest regards from us, Jess and his family, Max and your mom Jesusita Baros Torres
  814 Pacífic, ave ft Lupton Colo Jesusita B. Torres Mrs. W. F. Schubert 1016, South 40th St. Lincoln 10, Nebr; FORT LUPTON
APR 8
4 PM
1961
COLO.
[illustration]

  Fort Lupton, Colorado Dear daughter,

this letter is to greet you as well as your husband and family, hoping you’ve spent a good lent. We are well and healthy, thank God.

Well, how it makes me glad that you are teaching your children about raising your children in the Catholic religion. Take all of them to be confirmed, and to confess, to receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church. And you too, make time to go to confession and to receive the sacraments.

Well, thank you   for the portraits that you sent me. The only one missing is Billy Boy. He is not in them, but everyone else came out quite well. The kids are very big.

I hope they don’t get sick. They look great. I’ve been quite well. I haven’t had the tantrum, blessed be God. For this I thank God.

And look, I entrust you not to take too long before writing to me. I have not written since March 17, and today is April 7, but you let up to three months go by without writing, and really, I worry about you, with so many things going on.

Well, I think this will be all for today. Many regards [much love] for Bill, your husband.   and for Billy Boy, and for Robert, and Pamela, and for Elizabeth;

and you, receive the finest regards from us, Jess and his family, Max and your mom Jesusita Baros Torres
Sociedad de la Sagrada Familia
  • Title: Letter from Jesusita Baros Torres to Santos Baros Schubert, March 11, 1958
  • Identifier: shan.L196
  • Date: March 11, 1958
  • Format: Manuscript
  • Creator: N/A
  • Held by: Elizabeth Jane and Steve Shanahan of Davey, NE
View more information about shan.L196

Personal letter from Jesusita Baros Torres to Santos Baros Schubert. Sent from Fort Lupton. CO., to Lincoln, NE. Three handwritten pages (1958).

Original

  1 Ft Lupton 11 – 1958 Querida hija,

la presente es para saludarlos á todos; nosotros estamos bien Gracias á Dios; pues ase como 2 semans que recivi tu carta;

pero saves que estaba tan ocupada pues no se sí tu sabras que estamos en una Sociedad; que se llama Socíedad de la Sagrada Familia; y la muerte nos á vesitado; cada semana ay uno de los miembros; y tenemos que asestír á los veloríos y al funerales; hora ay una velorío, yo no se si te acordaras de las mejeres que fuímos á Bolmar á la misa que nos llevo el Bill; se murio una de ellas; y el esposo de otra que se llama Paublita Salas

  2

y este día ay mucha nieve aquí, pero siempre tenemos que asestir al velorio, y al funeral;

bueno tambien te platicare que estamos asiendo otro cuarto no muy grande es de 11 x 12, ojala y lla este acabado cuando les toque venir; lo estan asiendo muy despacío pues este mes de march a estado con mas níeve;

Tambien me dises que esta poco mal el Bill, yo le pido á Dios que descanse ojala que pa cuando esta carta te llege este mejor, dale nuestros recuerdos y que se alívíe son mis mejores deseos;

la Helen todabía no la yaman al trabajo; quien save sí ni baya; porque le dise jess que no baya á trabajar, ya los muchachos estan grandes y el jerry   3 ya empíesa á salir poray, á mi no me ase aparecío, ya esta grande ya le empíesa á salir la el vígote, y la Kathy tambien estan cresíendo muy pronto; pero la Helen sí quiere trabajar de modo que aber quien gana jess ó Helen;

bueno híja muchos recuerdos de todos; y en especial de tu mamá que te deceo bíen en todo

tu mamá jesusita B. Torres

Translation

  1 Ft Lupton – 1958 Dear daughter,

the following is to greet you all. We are well, thank God. Well, it’s been about two weeks since I received your letter,

but you know, I’ve been very busy because, well, I do not know if you know, but we belong to a society called the Society of the Sacred Family, and death has visited us. Every week one of the members dies, and we have to attend the vigils and the funerals. There is a vigil today. I don’t know if you remember the women for whom with whom we went to the mass that Bill took us, in Bolmar. One of them died, and the husband of another called Paublita Salas

  2

and there’s a lot of snow today, but we have to attend the vigil and the funeral.

Well, I will also tell you that we are building another room. It’s not very big, it’s 11 x 12. Hopefully it will be done when you come. They are building it very slowly because this month of March has had a lot of snow.

You also tell me that Bill has been a little sick. I ask God to give him some rest, and I hope that he is better by the time this letter arrives. Give him our regards, and tell him to get better, as are my wishes.

They haven’t called Helen to work yet, and who knows, she may not even go, because Jess is telling her not to go. The kids are grown now and Jerry   3 has started going out. He doesn’t pay attention to me. He is big, and growing a mustache, and Kathy too. They’re growing up very fast. But Helen does want to work, so who knows who will win, Jess or Helen.

Well daughter, many regards much love from everyone, especially from your mom, who wishes you well in everything.

Your mom Jesusita B. Torres
  P.O. Box. 681. Colo ft Lupton Mrs W. F. Schubert 1016, South 40. th St, Lincoln 10 Nebr; FORT LUPTON
MAR 12
1 PM
1958
COLO.
  1 Fort Lupton 11 – 1958 Dear daughter,

the following is to greet you all. We are well, thank God. Well, it’s been about two weeks since I received your letter, but you know, I’ve been very busy because, well, I do not know if you know, but we belong to a society called the Society of the Sacred Family, and death has visited us. Every week one of the members dies, and we have to attend the vigils and the funerals. There is a vigil today. I don’t know if you remember the women when we went to the mass that Bill took us, in Bolmar. One of them died, and the husband of another called Paublita Salas

  2

And there’s a lot of snow today, but we have to attend the vigil and the funeral.

Well, I will also tell you that we are building another room. It’s not very big, it’s 11 x 12. Hopefully it will be done when you come. They are building it very slowly because this month of March has had a lot of snow.

You also tell me that Bill has been a little sick. I ask God to give him some rest, and I hope that he is better by the time this letter arrives. Give him our regards, and [tell him to] get better, as are my wishes.

They haven’t called Helen to work yet, and who knows, she may not even go, because Jess is telling her not to go. The kids are grown now and Jerry   3 has started going out. He doesn’t pay attention to me. He is big, and growing a mustache, and Kathy too. They’re growing up very fast. But Helen does want to work, so who knows who will win, Jess or Helen.

Well daughter, many regards from everyone, especially from your mom, who wishes you well in everything.

Your mom Jesusita B. Torres

Después de leer: ¡manos a la obra!

For Teachers

After completing the pre-reading activities and working with the digital objects selected for this lesson, students are assigned a short reading about the history of the creation of the first Catholic parish in Denver, CO. After reading, students are asked to complete a one-page writing assignment in which they will use conditional and simple future to speculate about past and present events. Before assigning this text, consider presenting students with a model.

Focus on grammar: Use of preterite and imperfect to describe past events

For Teachers

Before students begin to write their texts, review with them the uses of the future and conditional to express probability.


For Students

Ahora vamos a practicar nuestras habilidades de lectura y escritura. Santos Baros, de Fort Lupton Colorado, y William F. Schubert, de Lincoln, Nebraska, se casaron en una ceremonia religiosa que se realizó en Denver, Colorado, el nueve de noviembre de 1946, veinte años después de la fundación de la primera parroquia latina de la arquidiócesis de Denver.

Lee este texto breve sobre el papel fundamental que jugaron las mujeres mexicanoamericanas en la fundación de esa parroquia. Después de leer, escribe un texto de una página en el que respondas las siguientes dos preguntas: ¿Por qué crees que era tan importante para ese grupo de mujeres tener una parroquia en la que se ofrecieran misas en español? Hoy en día, independientemente de su denominación religiosa, por qué crees que hay en todo Estados Unidos iglesias, templos y otras comunidades religiosas que ofrecen servicios en español incluso en localidades donde el porcentaje de la población latina es bajo?

El escribir, no te olvides de emplear los dos usos del futuro y del condicional que acabamos de revisar:

Condicional usado para hablar de algo que podría suceder si sucede otra cosa antes

Condicional usado para especular sobre un evento pasado

Si pudiera conversar con Jesusita, le preguntaría
cómo eran las kermeses de su parroquia en Fort Lupton.

Pablita Salas no vino a la kermés ayer, quizás estaría de viaje.

Futuro simple usado para hablar de algo que va a suceder

Futuro simple usado para para especular sobre un evento presente

La kermés de mañana estará muy bonita.

Pablita Salas no vino a la kermés, quizás estará de viaje.

Focus on language: Intergenerational maintenance and loss of minority languages

For Teachers

In this activity, students learn about the concept of sociolinguistic register and reflect on the ways in which their own speech varies according to context, interlocutor and communicative purpose.


For Students

Para hablar de lengua: Interlocutor, contexto, propósito y registro lingüístico

Independientemente de su nivel educativo o condición social, todas las personas modifican su manera de hablar dependiendo de con quién, dónde, y para qué están hablando. La competencia sociolingüística de una persona es su capacidad para entender y producir su lengua siguiendo las normas y convenciones (sociales y lingüísticas) del evento comunicativo en el que está participando.

Las personas que tienen acceso formal (en la escuela) o informal (en la comunidad), a diferentes formas de hablar y escribir, pueden comunicarse usando un mayor número de registros lingüísticos. Registro lingüístico quiere decir una manera de hablar o escribir condicionada por el contexto. Este contexto incluye, por ejemplo, el estatus social de los hablantes, la situación, el propósito y el lenguaje más (o menos) especializado. Las personas bilingües tienen un repertorio estilístico que incluye sus dos lenguas.

Una diferencia de registro importante es el nivel de formalidad. Los registros más formales de una lengua casi siempre son formas de hablar que se aprenden en la escuela, y se emplean para realizar las funciones sociales más prestigiosas (escribir un artículo científico, dar un discurso, hacer una presentación profesional, escribir un texto religioso, etc.). Los registros más informales son formas de hablar más coloquiales, que usamos con la familia o entre amigos. Por lo general, en una comunidad multilingüe las funciones más formales se realizan en la(s) lengua(s) dominantes, mientras que las funciones más informales se realizan en la(s) lengua(s) minoritaria(s).


Después de leer

A. ¿Qué es un registro lingüístico?

B. Vuelve a leer el texto en inglés que aparece atrás del recordatorio funerario (memorial card) que la familia de Jesusita Baros Torres le entregó a familiares y amigos después de su fallecimiento en 1976. ¿Cuáles son dos o tres pistas (clues) que te permiten saber que está escrito en un lenguaje extremadamente formal?

C. Jesusita Baros Torres habló en español toda su vida, y perteneció durante cuatro décadas a una comunidad religiosa en la que la mayoría de los feligreses hablaba español. Sin embargo, el recordatorio de difuntos, que se distribuyó en su funeral estaba escrito en inglés. ¿Qué te dice este detalle acerca de la comunidad en la que vivía? ¿Qué te dice sobre el mantenimiento y la pérdida del español en las diferentes generaciones de su familia?

Un paso más: en comunidad

For Teachers

In this extension activity, students establish a link between the topic of this lesson and Latinx experiences in their own community.


For Students

Para algunas familias latinas la fiesta de quinceaños es un rito de pasaje muy importante, porque marca el tránsito que hace una joven de la niñez a la adolescencia. Dependiendo de sus tradiciones, de sus gustos y de sus posibilidades, en algunas familias la fiesta es sencilla y se celebra en casa. En otras, es un gran baile con muchos invitados. Para otras, la parte más importante de una fiesta de quinceaños es una misa o servicio religioso en donde la joven, su familia y su comunidad le agradecen a Dios haberle permitido llegar a esa etapa de su vida.

Paso 1. ¿Conoces a alguien que haya celebrado su quinceañera? Pregúntale qué recuerda. ¿Qué le gustó más de la fiesta? ¿Qué le gustó menos? ¿Fue solo una fiesta, o fue también una misa o servicio religioso? ¿Cuál de las dos partes se le hizo más importante? En su opinión, ¿para quién fue esa fiesta de quinceaños, para ella, para su familia, para sus amigos, para su comunidad?

Paso final. En clase. Compartan y comenten las respuestas que escucharon. ¿Cómo se conectan al tema de esta unidad? Si tú misma celebraste tus quince con una fiesta de quince años, incluye tu propia respuesta en la conversación con tus compañeros.

Down the rabbit, whole…

For Teachers

Down the rabbit, whole… is an optional activity designed to be informal, ludic, and open-ended. It involves students going on an internet rabbit hole with the intention of learning more about a seemingly minor detail presented in this lesson. This activity is also intended to reinforce students’ ability to discern between trustworthy and untrustworthy internet sites.

This activity has three rules, which may be modified to suit the type and goals of your class:

¿Qué tienen en común las palabras rosario, misbaha, japa mala y lestovka?