Second of five children born to Manuel Baudilio Rodriguez and Herminia Santiago; one of his sisters is a Carmelite nun, one brother a Benedictine monk, the first Puerto Rican to be an abbot. At age 6, the family store and home were burned to the ground; the family moved in with his mother‘s family, and Carlos spent time with his pious maternal grandmother Alexjandrina Esteras. At age 9 he wrestled a rabid dog that had snatched up his 1-year-old cousin; Carlos was badly wounded in the fight; the cousin is now his 70’s. Carlos suffered from ulcerative colitis from age 13, which interrupted a brilliant scholarly career; he completed high school, but it was several years before he could move on to college.
Carlos never passed up a chance to serve as an altar boy. He worked as an office clerk until 1946, and tried to attend the University of Puerto Rico, but his health prevented it. After a few lessons, he taught himself to play piano and organ, and he loved to spend days hiking in the countryside.
Worked as an office clerk at Caguas, Puerto Rico, and at the University of Puerto Rico Agriculture Experiment Station. Translator, converting English documents to Spanish. Used his translating skills to write, and with his modest salary to publish Liturgy and Christian Culture magazines. With the help of Father McWilliams, he founded a Liturgy Circle at Caguas. With Father McGlone, he organized the chorus Te Deum Laudamus.
His principal apostolic work was at Catholic University Center, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico where he evangelized to students and teachers. Carlos organized another Liturgy Circle (Circulo de Cultura Christiana: Christian Culture Circle), and published Christian Life Days to help university students enjoy the liturgical seasons. Member of the Brotherhood of Christian Doctrine, Holy Name Society, and Knights of Columbus. Taught catechism to high school students. Encouraged liturgical renewal among clergy and laity, and worked for active participation of the laity, the use of vernacular language, and devotion to the Paschal Vigil – all prior to Vatican II.
His health declined further; he suffered from rectal cancer, and the misery of aggressive surgery in 1963. At one point he felt himself abandoned by God, but soon rediscovered his faith, and his enthusiasm. Puerto Rico‘s first Blessed.
- 29 April 2001 by Pope John Paul II
- the miraculous cure of a patient’s non-Hodgkins malignant lymphoma in 1981 is attributed to him
- his Cause is unique, being carried forward by the laity
We need Catholics who are alert to the present moment…modern Catholics who know how to nourish themselves in the past but whose eyes are fixed on the future. – Blessed Carlos
- “Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez Santiago“. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 April 2015. Web. 30 May 2015. <>