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June 8, 2018 – During a special ceremony, the Dominican Republic issued a postage stamp honoring Humberto Ruiz Castillo (1897-1966), a noted engineer and architect and father of two Adrian Dominican Sisters, Margarita (Margot) Ruiz, OP, and Teresita (Tete) Ruiz, OP.
During the event – held May 29, 2018 at the University of Santo Domingo – Licentiate Modesto Guzman, Director of the Postal Institute, noted the special significance of commemorative stamps. A citizen receives greater honor when a stamp is issued in his or her name than when a street is named for the person. The street name is known usually only to the neighbors, while stamps travel all over the world. Those who receive the stamp may be interested in the person who is honored.
“We were delighted and profoundly touched by what people at the event said about our father,” Sister Margot said. “Some of the speakers emphasized that he was very honest, disciplined, and generous – an example for all of society. He put his heart into everything he did.” While their nephew, Fernando Ruiz, represented the family at the event, Sister Margot and Sister Tete watched videos of the event.
The stamps depict Humberto Ruiz Castillo on the bottom right-hand corner, surrounded by a variety of buildings that he had constructed. He designed and constructed several Catholic churches, as well as the Colegio Santo Domingo, the grade school and high school opened by Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Humberto Ruiz Castillo taught for many years at the University of Santo Domingo, passing on to his students what he had learned in Europe. He was responsible for introducing Art Deco to his students, who in turn planted those seeds and spread them to new generations. He also co-founded the Dominican Republic’s first association of engineers and architects.
For his many contributions to the Church, Humberto Ruiz Castillo was named Diocesan Architect. At the time, the Dominican Republic encompassed one diocese. In 1949, he was consecrated by the Holy See with the Order of St. Gregory the Great.
Feature photo: A series of commemorative stamps, issued by the Dominican Republic, honor Humberto Ruiz Castillo, designer of the Congregation’s Colegio Santo Domingo and father of Sisters Margarita Ruiz, OP, and Teresita Ruiz, OP.
May 2, 2018, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – Sister Margarita Ruiz, OP, presented a book on the history of 22 congregations of women religious in the Dominican Republic during a public assembly April 12 in the auditorium of the Dominican Institute of Theology in Santo Domingo.
She was chosen to present the book – Memoria Histórica de la Vida Religiosa Femenina en República Dominicana: 1959-1999 (Historic Memory of the Life of Women Religious in the Dominican Republic: 1959-1999) – because of her leadership in coordinating the histories of the congregations and helping to compile and edit the unique history.
Memoria Histórica was the result of a proposal by the Latin American Religious Conference (CLAR) that women religious congregations in Latin America write and share their histories. CLAR sought to commemorate the 40 years of the organization’s existence; make visible the presence of women religious in the nations represented by CLAR; and guide consecrated women in their efforts to re-found their congregations to meet the needs of the world.
Sister Margarita said she experienced “great joy” in writing the history of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates who have ministered in the Dominican Republic. “It really was a group project,” she said, explaining that all of the Sisters who had ministered in the Dominican Republic were involved in gathering the information, evaluating their accomplishments, and judging their response to the challenges they had lived.
Recently, the 22 congregations that had written their history in the Dominican Republic saw the benefit of compiling their histories into one book so they could learn from the events, changes, and reflections of one another, Sister Margarita said. “Everyone is eager to read the book and to be able to recognize the presence of God in the midst of the different spiritualities of the religious who worked in the Dominican Republic during the years when the history was written.”