The New Wine: Spirit, Transformation, and Gender in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1960-1990

Jacob Aaron Waggoner, University of Texas at El Paso


The Charismatic Catholic Renewal (CCR)—known in Mexico as the Renovación Cristiana en el Espíritu Santo—saw Roman Catholic believers experience ecstatic spiritual practices native to neo-Pentecostalism. At first highly ecumenical, CCR emerged from loosely organized prayer meetings in the late 1960s and early 1970s to become a coherent movement by around 1975. Like many developments after the Second Vatican Council, CCR represented an effort to revitalize the Church by re-centering and empowering the laity. Reflecting a broader reactionary shift in the 1980s, the Renewal gradually shed its potentially liberating elements. This transition was especially notable in the context of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands—the focus of this study—where paradoxes and disparities of the emerging global capitalist system were glaring. The several distinct nodes of the Renewal blended, competed, and coexisted in the region: the Benedictine community at Pecos, New Mexico; the Misioneros del Espíritu Santo in Mexico City and the resulting Sistema Integral de la Nueva Evangelización; the Open Arms Community of El Paso; and the cross-border ministry of Richard Thomas. The trajectories of these communities and the experiences of their believers provide insight into the Renewal’s contribution to society and the Church, as well as into the flaws and limitations of their deeply gendered belief systems and the institutional Church.

Subject Area

Religious history|Latin American history|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Waggoner, Jacob Aaron, "The New Wine: Spirit, Transformation, and Gender in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1960-1990" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10684214.