Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago
|Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago|
|Born||November 22, 1918
Caguas, Puerto Rico, United States
|Died||July 13, 1963
Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, United States
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||April 29, 2001, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II|
|Major shrine||Cathedral Dulce Nombre de Jesus, Caguas, Puerto Rico|
|Feast||July 13 (May 4 in Puerto Rico)|
Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago (November 22, 1918 – July 13, 1963) was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Rodríguez was a layperson of the Roman Catholic Church, who was beatified on April 29, 2001. He is the first Puerto Rican, the first Caribbean-born layperson and the first layperson in the history of the United States to be beatified.
Rodríguez was the son of Manuel Baudilio Rodriguez and Herminia Santiago, both from large, Catholic families. He was baptized at the Sweet Name of Jesus Church in Caguas on May 4, 1919. Rodríguez was the second of five brothers and sisters. Two of his sisters married, while another is a Carmelite nun. His only brother, Pepe Rodriguez is a Benedictine priest and the first Puerto Rican to become abbot of his monastery.
Charlie attended the Colegio Católico Notre Dame, located in Caguas. At the age of 12, Rodríguez saved his cousin from a dog attack. He was badly wounded in the attack, receiving severe bites which led to serious intestinal problems. Later, these medical problems caused him to leave university prior to graduation.
At university, Rodríguez became a Catholic lay minister. He professed extreme devotion to the liturgy and worked to reverse the loss of liturgical customs that had been abandoned over generations. He expressed special concern over the Easter vigil, saying that it had lost its ancient character and gravitas. One of his favorite sayings about this feast was "VIVIMOS PARA ESA NOCHE" (We live for that night). This is now the motto on his tomb, which is located in the Cathedral of Caguas, Cathedral Dulce Nombre de Jesús.
Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez died at the age of 44 of intestinal cancer on July 13, 1963. 
In 1981, a 42 year-old mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's malignant lymphoma. She and her husband had been friends of Rodríguez during his college years and knew of his death from cancer. She prayed to Rodríguez for intercession on her behalf. After fully recovering, she publicly attributed her recovery to the miracle of intercession.
In 1991, a priest from Spain, Rev. Mauro Meza, went to Puerto Rico to conduct a seminar. After learning about Rodríguez, he was authorized by the local bishop to take the story to the Vatican. In Rome, Meza initiated the process of inquiry that could lead to canonization. As a result of the findings from this investigation, it was decided that the process to canonize Rodríguez could be started.
Rodríguez is the first Puerto Rican person, the first Caribbean-born layperson and the first layperson in the history of the United States to be beatified. In the entire Western Hemisphere, Rodríguez is only the second layperson to be beatified.
Candidate for sainthood
The probability for Rodríguez being recognized as a saint seems high, given recent changes in canon law and the popular devotion paid to him. The 1983 reform of the Catholic Church's canon law has streamlined the canonization procedure considerably compared to the process carried out previously. The new process was established by Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic constitution of January 25, 1983, Divinus Perfectionis Magister and by Pietro Cardinal Palazzini, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. For Rodríguez to pass from Blessed to Saint, one more miracle (confirmed by the Vatican) is necessary.
- A school in Bayamón is named after him, with the blessed title. The school, originally called Escuela Superior Católica de Bayamón, was renamed in 2001: Colegio Beato Carlos Manuel Rodríguez. Staff from the school witnessed the beatification ceremony.
- List of famous Puerto Ricans
- EWTN page in Spanish on Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez
- El Trece es Buen Dia Obra Dramatica En Dos Actos By Alida Subira Echegaray (Spanish Book)
- "Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez Santiago (1918-1963)". Blesseds: Table of the Beatifications during the Pontificate of His Holiness John Paul II. The Holy See. Retrieved 2007-06-04.
- "CARLOS MANUEL CECILIO RODRÍGUEZ SANTIAGO (1918 - 1963)". www.vatican.va. The Holy See. Retrieved 13 January 2014.