Bless Me, Ultima, is a coming of age novel set in 1940’s New Mexico. Rudolfo Anaya brings the Chicano experience to life in his story of Antonio Márez, six years old when the story begins. Antonio is preparing for his first communion, and becomes preoccupied with the issues of morality and destiny. His mother wants him to become a priest; his father, however, represents another kind of life. After Antonio witnesses the murder of a war veteran, he worries about the dead man's soul, and about his own father, who was present at the death. Through his encounters with the folk healer, Ultima, who comes to stay with the Márez family, Antonio learns that there are traditional beliefs that differ from the doctrine of Catholicism. He also discovers the beauty and mystery of the land, the power of its medicinal herbs, and the unique essence of Mexican culture. As the young boy learns the folk wisdom of his people, he develops a more balanced view of life, and of his own place in it. Since its publication in 1972, Bless Me, Ultima has appeared on multicultural reading lists across the country.