Border of Death, Valley of Life: An Immigrant Journey of Heart and Spirit / Edition 1

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This is a powerful, first-hand account of a religious ministry that reaches out to console, heal, and build the lives of poor and desperate immigrants who come to the United States in search of a better life. Daniel G. Groody talked with immigration officials, 'coyote' smugglers, and immigrants in detention centers and those working in the fields. The picture that emerges starkly contrasts with the negative stereotypes about Mexican immigrants: Groody discovered insights into God, family, values, suffering, faith, and hope that offer a treasury of spiritual knowledge helpful to anyone, even those who are materially comfortable but spiritually empty. This book has a message that reaches across borders, divisions, and preconceptions; it reaches all the way to the heart.
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Editorial Reviews

America - Allan Figueroa
It is a remarkable study that requires follow-up by other scholars of spirituality, practical theology, community development and social ethics.
Peter C. Phan
Millions of U.S. immigrants—and not only Mexican immigrants—owe Groody a debt of gratitude not only for his personal love and care for them but also for his profound and touching reflections on how immigrants can turn their sufferings of living in a foreign land into a source of spiritual transformation. His chapters on Corazon rehabilitado and Corazon animado are the richest writings on the spirituality of migration I have been privileged to read. I wish this book had been available when I came to this country as a refugee. It should be put in the hands of every immigrant and refugee as well as in the hands of those who work for and with them.
Roger Cardinal Mahony
Anyone who is serious about the challenges facing our increasingly multicultural Church in the United States will welcome Father Groody's insights. By opening up for us the riches of a Mexican immigrant spirituality, he helps us better understand and respond to the Gospel imperative to welcome the stranger in our midst.
Michael Downey
Daniel Groody speaks at the intersection of the grassroots and the academy, spirituality and theology. Weaving sharp speculative skill together with a passion for people struggling to create a home in an alien land, Groody provides a thoroughgoing systematic reflection rooted in the spiritual experience of Mexican immigrants on the border. An invigorating reading of Christian faith from the heart of a suffering people.
David Carrasco
In Border of Death, Valley of Life, Daniel Groody unveils a hidden image, i.e. the heart of the humanity of Mexican immigrants. This unveiling shows how Mexicans, guided by the living images of Jesus and La Virgen de Guadalupe move from broken hearts to flowering hearts, from strangerhood to spiritual community. Seldom, if ever, have the dangerous crossings and spiritual crossings of Mexican immigrants been rendered so honestly and so hopefully as in this book. The diverse and profound voices of the border crossers is joined to the pastoral voice of the author to suggest that a living theology has been created in the desert of Aztlan.
Sandra Cisneros
Daniel Groody has succeeded in translating the heart of the immigrant into a profound, compassionate spiritual narrative. He beautifully weaves together the life of the spirit with a passion for justice as he writes about the humanity and dignity of the undocumented immigrant. Not only does he speak about the transformation of a people but also he completely transformed the way I think about Catholic theology and spirituality. I deeply respect, admire and celebrate the work of this creative and inspired theologian.
Theory Digest
Describes the Mexican immigrants' life in detail, gives a moving account of their religious devotion, especially at a four-day retreat, and shows the profound influence on their culture of devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Way
This thoughtful and moving book, written with both scholarly care and pastoral commitment, documents the suffering, hope and spirituality of poor Mexican immigrants in the United States. Groody's direct experience of the reality he describes, and his academic gifts, lend a rare authority to his writing.
Western Historical Quarterly
Border of Death, Valley of Life represents a pioneering work of the spiritual lives of Mexican immigrants. Groody's book is clearly written, and photographs documenting the border crossing, religious shrines, and retreat activities provide a visual perspective on the topic.
The Journal Of Religion
Groody is to be commended for lifting up the evangelizing witness of a people that have all too often been designated as needing only to be evangelized.
The Journal of Religion
Groody is to be commended for lifting up the evangelizing witness of a people that have all too often been designated as needing only to be evangelized.
Cruz Bustamante
Border of Death, Valley of Life is an engaging and thoughtful look at the physical and spiritual struggles of Mexican immigrants. Through personal stories, the reader walks in their footsteps, experiences their emotions and fears, and observes the beginning of their spiritual renewal.
Catholic Telegraph
Groody argues that spiritual as well as physical cures are needed for people who risk death in an inhospitable desert, who undergo the psychological death of leaving their families and culture and who experience alienation in a society often rejecting them in a language they do not understand.
It is a remarkable study that requires follow-up by other scholars of spirituality, practical theology, community development and social ethics.
— Allan Figueroa
This volume on Mexican immigrant spirituality is drawn from the author's own experiences working with Mexican immigrants as well as his study of the Valley Missionary program in Coachella, California. Groody (theology, U. of Notre Dame) first describes the context of poverty and migration of the immigrants, then examines the spiritual changes they experience, examining conversion experiences, and discussing at length the Mexican concept of n/>. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., is assistant professor of theology and the director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. A priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Groody has lived and worked among immigrants in various parts of Latin America, especially along the U.S.-Mexican border. He was the executive producer of the documentaries Strangers No Longer and Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey, which was accepted into various international film festivals, won national awards, and aired on PBS.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Corazon Destrozado, The Crushed Heart: The Dynamics of Mexican Emigration and Immigration Chapter 2 Corazon Rehabilitado, The Rehabilitated Heart: The Dynamics of Healing and Empowerment Chapter 3 Corazon Animado, The Animated Heart: The Dynamics of Conversion and Transformation Chapter 4 Corazon Florido, The Flowering of the Heart: The Dynamics of Inculturation and Mission Chapter 5 Appendix: The Nican Mopohua—The Guadalupe Story
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