Also of importance was the Oratorian movement, intended to train and support diocesan priests who wished to practise the communal life. Following the rule of the Institutes of Saint Philip Neri, the first of these establishments opened in Peru in the 1670s. The oratory of Saint Michael founded in the Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende in 1734 provides us with an example of their impact. It became a popular centre for lay retreats and in 1743, spawned the school of Saint Francis de Sales which became a centre for educational innovation in the latter eighteenth century.
Another aspect of the eighteenth-century religious resurgence was the promotion of retreats and parish revivals intended to re-evangelize the laity. Many groups participated in the lay retreat movement, including the Oratorians, but the most publicized promoters were undoubtedly the Jesuits. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Society ofJesus introduced lay retreats based on a modified version of the Ignatian spiritual exercises. The retreats proved so popular that the Jesuit province in Mexico opened endowed houses devoted entirely to them in Puebla in 1727 and in Mexico City in 1750. Others were about to open in Morelia, Michoacan and in Guatemala at the time of the Order's expulsion in 1767. Indeed, it appears that the Jesuit retreats were an empire-wide phenomenon. In 1757, the Jesuit procurator of the province of Chile reported that he considered this activity to be one ofthe most important elements of the Society's work because of its impact on family life. In fact, in 1756, 120 women participated in retreats in the very small community of San Juan in the province of Mendoza, Argentina. After the Jesuit expulsion, townspeople lobbied the bishop to have the retreats continued, and when they were restarted using secular priests in 1775,103 men and 115 women took part.
A development about which we know little is the movement for parish-wide missions. Particularly identified with the Franciscan colegios de Propaganda Fide first established in Mexico in 1683, these missions resembled the tent revivals of the twentieth-century United States and were intended to promote moral reform among the laity. A report of one such event in Cuzco in 1739 suggests their flavour. It described a three-week event conducted by Franciscans, filled with daily catechism lessons, preaching on the themes of divine judgement and the need for personal repentance, singing, bells, and public processions of the image of the Sefior de los Temblores through the streets of Cuzco, accompanied by large numbers of flagellants. One preacher was reported to have set fire to his arm during his sermon in order to terrorize the packed church; another flagellated himself with an iron chain as part of his sermon;
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