Bayanihan and Belonging: Filipinos and Religion in Canada

April 05, 2018

The talk will provide an overview of Filipino religiosity in Canada today.  Dr. Marshall will draw on research participant narratives, archival research, and fieldwork in Canada and the Philippines to explain the link between Filipino religious beliefs and practices, migration and belonging.  In particular she will discuss research findings that most Filipinos remain Catholic after migration and define themselves religiously through public and private devotion and practices and through affiliations to certain churches, deities, saints, groups, and festivals. She will pay particular attention to the religious underside—the beliefs and practices which are often hidden. These might be a special coin conferring blessings and protection – an anting-anting – buried deep in a pocket. At other times the underside refers to private devotional or healing practices, including songs, prayers to religious and non-religious figures such as Santo Niño and Dr José Rizal, pilgrimages, and actual embraces of a saint’s image for intercession. In Canada, Santo Niño devotion at church and beyond it, along with Catholicism, has provided Filipinos with a nationalist spiritual identity that has enabled them to live apart from kin. The talk will end with a discussion of the future of Filipino religiosity in Canada.


Alison R. Marshall is Professor of Religion at Brandon University, Co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Religion and Migration Unit, and a former board member of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre. Marshall’s current research examines Asian history, religion and migration.

Dr. Marshall is the author of The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement in Manitoba (2011) Winner of the 2015 Canadian Society for the Study of Religion Book Prize and the Manitoba Day Award, and Cultivating Connections:  The Making of Chinese Prairie Canada (2014) both with University of British Columbia press.  Marshall’s new book Bayanihan and Belonging: Filipinos and Religion in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2018) examines the history and cultures of migrants from the Philippines from 1880 to 2017.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

6:00 - 8:30pm

SFU Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings Street
1600 Canfor Policy Room

Please register here.