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The Basque SerorasLocal Religion, Gender, and Power in Northern Iberia, 1550-1800$
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Amanda L. Scott

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501747496

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501747496.001.0001

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“Her Duty and Obligation”

“Her Duty and Obligation”

Selecting and Employing a Serora

(p.35) Chapter 2 “Her Duty and Obligation”
The Basque Seroras

Amanda L. Scott

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the duties and obligations of the seroras. Seroras expressed piety through practice and action, which were both utilitarian and highly performative. Their practical role, coupled with the formality that went into their selection and installation, places seroras in a category unlike any other iteration of lay devout female service. There were many factors that led women to the semireligious life and seroría. At the most basic level, however, the vocation remained viable and popular for so long because it responded equally to practical needs of the parish community and the parish fabric, or material infrastructure. Even if it was not always fully condoned by diocesan officials, it was mostly considered a benign outlet for female piety. Different localities had slightly different methods for selecting seroras, and responsibilities and rituals of installation varied according to geographic circumstances or patterns of local power and influence. On the whole, however, the institution was remarkably consistent across the Basque lands. Regardless of where they served, most seroras could expect to perform a fairly standard set of duties and to be remunerated in similar ways by the communities they served.

Keywords:   seroras, selection process, installation rituals, lay devout female service, semireligious life, seroría, parish community, diocesan officials, female piety, Basque lands

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