Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


Global Studies

First Advisor

Kathryn Poethig

Second Advisor

Richard Harris


My capstone focuses on how religion— in particular Folk Saints such as La Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde— can give solace and hope to Mexican migrants, mostly Catholics, when they cross the border into the U.S, and also after they settle in the U.S. Knowing that the chances of not only surviving in the borderlands, but also being able to assimilate without fear of deportation, are slim; many migrants look to their faith for motivation, protection and esperanza (hope). There are significant misconceptions about borderland saints and their followers. Yet, they are an important source of spiritual and psychological support for many migrants. It is difficult and often frightening to leave one’s homeland and migrate to somewhere unknown, most often without one’s family. However, their spiritual beliefs can give migrants hope and the mental strength to make their challenging journeys.