Deborah E. Kanter | Building Mexican Catholic Respectability in Texas

Oblate School of Theology

Originally Published on OST.EDU

Monday, September 25

Sept 25 | 7:00PM – 8:30PM Central Time | FREE LECTURE | IN-PERSON AND ONLINE OPTIONS AVAILABLEBy Oblate School of Theology

Date and time

Monday, September 25 · 7 – 8:30pm CDT



About this event

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

Deborah E. Kanter | Building Mexican Catholic Respectability in Texas 1902-1940

FREE Public Lecture

In 1902 Bishop John Forest invited Claretian Missionaries to work in San Antonio, the start of over a century of ministry in Texas. These Spanish-born priests established missions and inaugurated parishes throughout Texas during a time of pervasive anti-Catholic and anti-Mexican attitudes. The Claretians persisted, forged connections with larger Catholic networks in their new country in order to best advocate for the Mexican laity. In a hostile and uncertain time, these Claretian-initiated religious communities provided crucial refugios and respectability for Mexican immigrants and US-born Mexicans. We’ll consider two parishes named Immaculate Heart of Mary Church: one in Martindale, a cotton-farming town near San Marcos, and the second in San Antonio’s West Side. The two communities exemplify how Catholic churches became centers of Mexican respectability and uplift. Together, lay people and Claretians used churches to foster strong foundations and respectability for Mexican Catholics in the San Antonio area and beyond.


Deborah E. Kanter is professor emeritus of history at Albion College where she taught U.S. Latino, Latin American, and immigration history. A Chicago native, she lived and worked in Mexico for over four years. She has published two books, Hijos del Pueblo: Gender, Family, and Community in Rural Mexico (University of Texas Press) and Chicago Católico: Making Catholic Parishes Mexican (University of Illinois Press, 2020). She is now researching the history of the Claretian Missionaries who pioneered Hispanic ministry in the U.S., from 1902 on.

This event will be recorded and will be available for viewing afterward on the Oblate School of Theology YouTube Channel.

In-person participants are encouraged to bring a light jacket or shawl, a writing pad and pen, and a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug.

For information or to register by phone, contact Associate Registrar, Victoria Rodriguez, at or (210) 341-1366 EXT 240.