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 (pĕn′ĭ-tĕn′tā, -tē)
A member of a Roman Catholic brotherhood in parts of the Southwest, of Native American and Hispanic origin, that celebrates the Passion with rites involving fasting and self-flagellation.

[Spanish, from Latin paenitēns, paenitent-, penitent; see penitent.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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In fact, in the first and longest section of Assumption, "A Difficult Likeness," the informed reader occasionally hears echoes of Watershed, for instance, in Assumption's depiction of intraunit tensions within the FBI, and watches Everett recycle a few names and one notable plot element from The Body of Martin Aguilera--e.g., Fonda's Funeral Parlor, the Archeletra and Hireles families, and the theft of a dead body by a group of Penitentes, a small, lay confraternity of Roman Catholic men in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado given to self-flagellation.
This integrated ethnographic and theological study of the Penitentes of Arroyo Seco, N.M., focuses on participants' interpretation of practices (such as flagellation), which others often regard as superstitious, if not masochistic.
En efecto, todo comenzo con su tesis doctoral en la Facultad de Teologia de la Universidad de Navarra, dirigida por el profesor Saranyana, que verso sobre el Directorio para confesores y penitentes del III Mexicano (Luis Martinez Ferrer, Directorio para confesores y penitentes.
The Morada, like the independent and hybridized Penitentes its name evoked, attempted to synthesize a number of different strands of poetry and fiction responding, in part, to southwestern landscapes and cultures, and also to the aesthetic impulses of international modernism.
Friday about the religious iconography of the Penitentes Brotherhood in the American Southwest.
One group that has particularly embraced this spirit is the Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, commonly known as the Penitentes. It was founded in the early 19th century and flourished in New Mexico.