Sofia Guerra: Ida

Odesia por el Laberinto:
Journey of the soul to the New World


“Labyrinths are allegories for journeys representing ventures across time and space, from This World to the Otherworld and back”

Corelyn F. Senn (2002)

Labyrinth within picturesque garden at the Ancient Spanish Monastery. North Miami Beach, FL 2019. taken by
Sofia Guerra

The journey of the soul beings already tainted by sin. According to Catholic doctrine sin entered the earthly world through the actions of one human, and we bare the responsibility for the disobedience of Adam’s second wife as the following generations (Roman 7:9-11).

The second half of the 15th century brought political changes to Spain that would eventually domino into radical historical, political, and religious changes that we see in effect to this day. The marriage between Castilian heiress and Aragon heir, Isabella and Ferdinand II, in 1469 unified the two predominately powerful Catholic kingdoms occupying that then occupied the geographic region of modern Spain. Note: this was not a marriage of love, it was essentially a power move.

The Kingdom of Spain now held one of the largest military fronts of in the developing Western world. The unification of the two largest regional powers during an era wrought with violence and conversion flavored the next two centuries for Europe, and the Americas. The spirit of crusader conquest had received its ‘second wind’ later in the previous century. The Holy Office of the Inquisition was founded in 1478.

For centuries prior to the official founding of the inquisition, Spain had been a multi-religious land. Tensions over land between Moores, Jews, and Catholics accumulated between the 8th and 15th century. The Moores were pushed out with the fall of Granada in 1492. While there were some converts among the marginalized religious populations, the Catholics Monarchs lacked tolerance for this behavior deeming converts illegitimate Catholics due to their lack of ‘blood-purity.’

12th century facade, made in Spain and relocated to North Miami Beach, FL. Part of Ancient Spanish Monastery campus. taken by Sofia Guerra (2019).

Conversion and conquest would become the dominate message emanating from the Kingdom of Spain entering the 16th century. Multiplicity within Spanish Catholicism mimicked the past religious diversity of the Iberian peninsula. The catholic message of the country was far from unified. However, the newly dominating Catholic Monarch were essentially a medieval superpower. With an enormous military front and the backing of the Roman Catholic Church, Isabella and Ferdinand II moved forward with the Inquisition.

Architectural Styles

The architectural style of Medieval Spain encompassed predominate European traditions, such as the Italian Renaissance wall frescos and luminescent Gothic architecture, yet it was distinctly flavored by its Moorish occupants.

From the West, Spain uses the traditional cross-shaped floor plan. This was, and still is the cannon for construction of Cathedrals across Europe and the world after its medieval conception. Vaulted ceilings, sculptural door jams, and catholic narratives typically depict biblical stories of Christ through his passions, and into the last judgment. The aim was to essentially ‘move’ individuals spiritually through intimidation tactics.

Stained-glass windows, vaulted ceilings, and St. Bernard du Clairvoux, Spain 12th Century AD. North Miami Beach, FL. Part of Ancient Spanish Monastery campus. taken by Sofia Guerra (2019).

One may notice that most of the Catholic buildings erected in Spain, and ultimately New Spain, are predominately white. This comes out of the Gothic tradition of luminescence. The white stone and light color reflect purity in spirituality, and promote penance without distractions of decoration.

Architects: Enrique Egas the Elder (Netherlandish, active in Spain, ca. 1455-1534); Diego de Siloé (Spanish, ca. 1495-1563); Juan de Maeda (Spanish, ca. 1510-1576); Alonso Cano (Spanish, 1601-1667); Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo (Spanish, 1669-1725); José B. Begun 1521, main (west) façade 1667, sanctuary (Sagrario) 1704-ca. 1717, Image: 1969. Granada Cathedral, Catedral de Granada, Interior: view of portal to Royal Chapel from north. Architecture; Architectural Elements. https://library.artstor.org/asset/MMA_KEIGHLY_10313359211.

From the East-Moorish and beyond- the Spanish heavily borrow a variety of arch shapes and designs, as well as different forms of ornamentation. Ogee, and lancet arches had long been appropriated by the Spanish to help distinguish themselves from other European styles. The Moorish and Western European elements are so well integrated that it becomes an architectural flavor that is distinct to the Iberian Peninsula.

Architects: Enrique Egas the Elder (Netherlandish, active in Spain, ca. 1455-1534); Diego de Siloé (Spanish, ca. 1495-1563); Juan de Maeda (Spanish, ca. 1510-1576); Alonso Cano (Spanish, 1601-1667); Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo (Spanish, 1669-1725); José B. Begun 1521, main (west) façade 1667, sanctuary (Sagrario) 1704-ca. 1717, Image: 1969. Granada Cathedral, Catedral de Granada, Interior: view of dome of apse. Architecture; Architectural Elements.

Cathedrals in the New World

The first Cathedrals in the New World were put up as symbols of power from the missions sent through the Spanish Inquisition. They became institutions of conversion, education, and exploitation. The first monks of the Franciscan order reached New Spain (The Americas) early in the 16th Century and quickly began headway on building Cathedrals and Monasteries to house the new Catholic presence in the land.

Along with their patrons, the institutions built were distinctly Spanish in origin. Regardless of order, whether it be Franciscan, Dominican or Jesuit the structures still emanated the style seen across Spain’s holy buildings. Across the Atlantic ocean the spirit of Spain had made it, and embedded itself in the white walls, vaulted ceilings, and voussoirs that held up the enormous power of the Catholic church in the new world.

El Laberinto: Origins

Source Unknown

El Laberinto, or the labyrinth, holds pagan origins, and can be traced back to the Island of Crete where the Minoan people lived an arguably decadent life free of strife. The original Labyrinth is associated with the palace of Knossos and the myth goes as follows:

The craftsman Daedalus created a Labyrinth to hold the Minotaur captive. To prevent the beast from attempting to escape and wreak havoc, the Minoan people performed a sacrifice each year. Children would be sent into the Labyrinth and, as one can assume, never return.

An Athenian hero traveled to the Island of Crete and rid the Utopian town of their filicidal habits in exchange for a pardon of Athenian debts to be paid to the King. Entering the the labyrinth under the guidance of the King Mino’s daughter Ariadne, Theseus slays the beast.

So what does this mean for the origins and ultimate symbolism of the labyrinth?

Labyrinth of Batty Langley.
Unknown – “Labyrith,” Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.

It becomes a symbol of an elusive and darkly-rooted theme of playfulness and exploration. In the Cretan myth, the labyrinth acts as a tool to confuse and imprison the half-human-half-animal Minotaur. Children also cannot escape on their own. Only the already renowned ancient hero is triumphant, and even he requires help.

The greenery thickens as one delves deeper into the Labyrinth. Taken at the
Ancient Spanish Monastery. North Miami Beach, FL taken by Sofia Guerra (2019)

The Labyrinth also represents the heroes journey, theme with a long tradition with western culture. It lives in ancient mythologies and modern religions, as well as most stories of struggle in popular culture today. The meandering maze of Crete has not been found. Its story pervades, and since its conception Labyrinths have become features to religious structures ranging in doctrine.

Pilgrimage of the Spirit

The first Cathedrals were validated by the power of the relic they held. Holy relics are often pieces of, or things belonging to the Saints. As pilgrims made their journey to bask in the holiness of these relics they would often meditate on why they were starting this voyage in the first place. Since Cathedrals were often city centers, medieval pilgrims would travel from far and wide for their individual spiritual journey.

Similarly to the pilgrims of medieval Europe, the spirit of exploration and spirituality of Spain made a ‘pilgrimage’ backed by militant and religious power to the New World. This sentiment came to me when reflecting upon the unknown voyage monks took, as well as the unknown exploitation the indigenous people would face upon encountering the newcomers to their land. The rapid change occurring over the megacontinent of the Americas manifested itself in violence and oppression. But in the name of God? The indigenous people had their own religious practices that the Spanish essentially rid upon their arrival by appropriating and changing indigenous beliefs to fit that of Catholic doctrine.

Ancient symbols such as the Labyrinth encouraged the meditative process. It inspired the piety of pilgrims as it provided them not only the time, but a visual symbol to associate their spiritual journey with. Today its meditative qualities are the same, and it is coveted in religions across the globe.

A fork in the road, which way would you go? Taken at the Ancient Spanish Monastery. North Miami Beach, FL Taken by Sofia Guerra (2019)

When I began doing research for this project, I wanted to find the oldest Catholic structure in Florida. I did, and its a 12th Century Spanish Monastery that had been completed IN Spain in 1133. It was reconstructed in Miami in 1950’s. The emblem of medieval Spanish Catholicism, rooted in piety and mediation evokes the mystery, excitement, and drive to find an answer for questions of an individual soul amidst a primordial spirit.

Finding a labyrinth within a picturesque garden was not what I expected I had gone to just observe the architecture, and I wound up taking a journey instead.
Taken in the Monastery Gardens of the Ancient Spanish Monastery. North Miami Beach, FL. Taken by Sofia Guerra (2019).

Citations:

Antonis Kotsonas. “A Cultural History of the Cretan Labyrinth: Monument and Memory from Prehistory to the Present.” American Journal of Archaeology 122, no. 3 (2018): 367. doi:10.3764/aja.122.3.0367.

Fiore, Jan. “A Sanctuary of Peace and Tranquility Miami’s Ancient Spanish Monastery.” Antique Shoppe Newspaper, June 2016. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edo&AN=116635558&site=eds-live.

Senn, Corelyn F. “Journeying as Religious Education: The Shaman, the Hero, the Pilgrim, and the Labyrinth Walker.” Religious Education 97, no. 2 (January 1, 2002): 124–40. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ770581&site=eds-live.

Verstique, Bernardino. FOUR. Religion in Spain on the Eve of the Conquest. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edspmu&AN=edspmu.MUSE9780292799257.10&site=eds-live.

Medical Advancements & Healthcare System

by Keysa Garcia

Overview

Picture [11].

Different technological advancements are being brought to countries with an increasingly high number of individuals who can’t get the correct treatments due to the lack of advancement in their countries healthcare systems.

Top Tier

When looking at the world and it is entirety, our society tends to label countries. For example, Chinese people are labeled as people who eat dogs or that all Mexican foods are spicy. However, when one thinks of Spain they think of lazy people who take 3 hour siestas in the middle of the day. What people don’t know about Spain is that it is amongst the top five researching and developing countries within the medical technology world [1].

Not only is Spain amongst the top five countries, but it flourishes in other medical aspects besides research and development. For example, agrobiotechnology, the application of biotechnology on to agriculture is ranked third in the world. Another example includes, Spain being the fifth largest exporter of health technology and Spain ranking third in reproductive technology.

Reproductive Technology

As previously mentioned, Spain is very advanced in reproduction technology. One of the largest and most well-known fertility centers, Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad (IVI). The Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad is one of the first fertility groups to open up in Europe and all over the world. The institution was founded in 1990, and 65 clinics in 11 different countries; with 35 of the clinics in Spain and 19 in the United States [8].

What most Americans dream of is having a family, and sometimes this isn’t possible. As many American females wish to conceive naturally, many have to turn into in vitro fertilization. In result to this many American fertilization companies relay on any advancements or new techniques that Spain produces. An example of this includes embryo transfers. Medical professionals in the United States transfer embryos by playing a small catheter and releasing the embryo [9]. However, researchers and developers at the IVI have noted higher success rates if this process is down with a guided ultrasound [10]. Findings like these, have lead to merging of Spanish fertilization companies with American Fertilization companies [3].

The embryo transfer process [9].

Pulmonology

When reflecting on the aspects within the Americas influenced by Spain, one can look into the what is taught to students at the high school, collegiate, and graduate level. Michael Servetus (illanueva de Sigena, Aragón, Spain, 29 September 1509 or 1511 – 27 October 1553) was one the first Europeans to describe the functions of the pulmonary circulation [4]. Michael Servetus explains the functions of pulmonary circulation by describing the color of the blood, and the size and location of different ventricles. The functions Michael talks about are all common teachings a student learns in an American classroom setting.

Approximately 35% of deaths that occur in United States are respiratory related, and 75% (a total of 26%) of that is caused by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) [6]. However, when you compare COPD death rates the 26% of deaths in the United States towers over the 6.9% of deaths in Spain [7].

Healthcare System

When looking more in depth about the Healthcare System of Spain, various sources mentioned how Spain started implementing electronic health records (EMR) during the past decade. However, as a current healthcare assistant and healthcare system trainer at the University of Miami, I am always reminded that our system is “faulty” because it’s only 3 years old. My provider states that for every patient within our system there should be four sets of eyes, as he also mentions on he misses writing a patients prescription on a tiny piece of paper.

Nonetheless, Spain has introduced their electronic health records (EMR) within two decades. According to MIT technology review, by the year 2010 more than 95% of Primary Care Physicians were using the EMR and also placing more than 250 million prescriptions. [5]

Videos

Antonia Goggans testimonial about dealing with the Spanish healthcare and comparing it to the United States [2].

Source

[1] Article Post – Medical Research and Development in Spain

[2] Youtube Video – Antonia Goggans Testimonial

[3] Article Post – Merging of Spanish and American Fertilization companies

[4] Article Post – History on Michael Servetus

[5] Article Post – Emergency Medical Records Statistics

[6] Research Article – COPD Background and Statistics

[7] Article Post – COPD Spain Death Rates

[8] Webpage – IVI Locations and Facts

[9] Youtube Video – Visual representation of Embryo Transfer

[10] Article Post – Ultrasound increases Embryo Transfer success rate

[11] Picture – Clipart

Study Abroad Info Session March 2019

THE WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY HOW
OF FIU HONORS EUROPE STUDY ABROAD
WITH PROFESSOR JOHN WILLIAM BAILLY
March 19, 2019 AT 3:30 PM IN RB 120 – 3 HONORS POINTS

Join Professor Bailly for an introduction to the France, Italy, & Spain study abroad programs of the FIU Honors College. Meet students that have completed the programs and have all your questions answered. Whether you are going to Europe in Summer 2020 or considering 2021 or 2022, this session will be helpful.

Check out #fiuhonorsabroad2018 on Instagram for photos from Espana, France, & Italia

LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH PROGRAM

Espana Study Abroad
France Study Abroad
Italia Study Abroad

 

AUTHOR(S) AND LAST UPDATE
Stephanie Sepúlveda & John William Bailly  18 March 2019
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