Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez Santiago

Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez SantiagoMemorial


Second of five children born to Manuel Baudilio Rodriguez and Herminia Santiago; theirs was a pious family as one of his sisters is a Carmelite nun, one brother a Benedictine monk, the first Puerto Rican to be an abbot. When Carlos was six years old, the family store and home were burned to the ground, and the Rodriguezes moved in with his mother‘s family. Carlos spent time with his pious maternal grandmother Alexjandrina Esteras who was a significant influence on him. At age 9, Carlos wrestled a rabid dog that had snatched up his 1-year-old cousin; Carlos was badly wounded in the fight, bit his cousin survived to live a long life. 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 receiving a few lessons, he taught himself to play piano and organ, and 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. Part of his works was as a translator, converting English documents to Spanish. He then used his translating skills to write, and with his modest salary to publish, the magazines Liturgy and Christian Culture. With the help of Father McWilliams, he founded a Liturgy Circle at Caguas. With Father McGlone, he organized the chorus Te Deum Laudamus.

Carlos’s principal apostolic work was at Catholic University Center, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico where he evangelized to students and teachers. He organized another Liturgy Circle (Circulo de Cultura Christiana: Christian Culture Circle), and published Christian Life Days to help university students enjoy the liturgical seasons. A member of the Brotherhood of Christian Doctrine, Holy Name Society, and Knights of Columbus, he 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.

As the years went by, his health declined further. He suffered from rectal cancer, and the misery of aggressive surgery in 1963. At one point in this misery he felt himself abandoned by God, but soon rediscovered his faith and enthusiasm, and was an example to all of joy in the midst of suffering.





Additional Information


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

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodriguez Santiago“. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 January 2019. Web. 27 November 2021. <>