The Cursillo Movement in America: Catholics, Protestants, and Fourth-Day Spirituality

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The internationally growing Cursillo movement, or short course in Christianity, founded in 1944 by Spanish Catholic lay practitioners, has become popular among American Catholics and Protestants alike. This lay-led weekend experience helps participants recommit to and live their faith. Emphasizing how American Christians have privileged the individual religious experience and downplayed denominational and theological differences in favor of a common identity as renewed people of faith, Kristy Nabhan-Warren focuses on cursillistas--those who have completed a Cursillo weekend--to show how their experiences are a touchstone for understanding these trends in post-1960s American Christianity. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork as well as historical research, Nabhan-Warren shows the importance of Latino Catholics in the spread of the Cursillo movement. Cursillistas' stories, she argues, guide us toward a new understanding of contemporary Christian identities, inside and outside U.S. borders, and of the importance of globalizing American religious boundaries.