Lady of the Rock: Vision, Faith, and Cult in the Modern Desert


ACLS Fellowship Program


History, Religion, and Gender Studies


“Lady of the Rock” is about ordinary people who are reinventing Catholicism in the California desert. The study focuses on a self-identified visionary and the hundreds of witnesses who gather at Lady of the Rock to watch her monthly sightings of the Virgin Mary. These pilgrims combine orthodox rituals, doctrine, and iconography with modern visual technologies in order to prove the visionary’s authenticity and justify their own extraordinary religious experiences outside of any church. Their attempts help us better understand the ongoing groundswell of American religiosity, shifts in twenty-first-century Catholicism, and the global spread of charismatic religion.