Sisterhood of Boa Morte in Bahia, Brazil melds Catholicism and Candomblé

  • The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death process through the streets of Cachoeira in Brazil. Photo courtesy of Stephen Selka.

The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death, or Boa Morte, in Bahia is comprised of Afro-Brazilian women who practice a combination of Catholicism and Candomblé, a religion with roots in the African slave trade. This unique blending is on display during their weeklong Feast of the Assumption in August. The Feast has attracted media attention and tourism as it has become a destination for African roots heritage in Brazil.

Stephen Selka, associate professor of American Studies and Religious Studies at Indiana University, describes the sisterhood and the feast in an illustrated lecture and explains its significance as both a Catholic feast and a cultural celebration.

Stephen Selka on "Our Lady of the Good Death: Afro-Catholicism and the Brazilian Cultural Heritage," a talk given at the College of the Holy Cross on October 23, 2013.