You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Dora Rodriguez, a woman of faith, ‘A Light to the World’
Dora receives her Lumen Centium Christifidelis Laici (A Light to the World) award from San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller.
Apple Pie and SalsaSeptember 4, 2013 2,806 views 2 comments
This is the first of a two-part story of Dora Rodriguez, a remarkable woman.
My friend and sister in Christ, Dora Rodriguez, received a very special award on Jan. 31 of this year. It was presented to her by San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller at a special awards ceremony in San Antonio. It is called the Lumen Centium Christifidelis Laici (A Light to the World) award. It was started two years ago. Dora is the second recipient from Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
The award is bestowed upon a Catholic layperson from each parish who has demonstrated participation in the Catholic Church’s mission to bring Christ to all. The individual is nominated by his or her pastor and confirmed by the archbishop. They agree that “the individual has used his/her talents to deepen the life of the church in the parish or has served in an extraordinary way the ministry of the parish.”
And Dora has done that -- mostly, but not limited to -- through her music ministry throughout the years.
From the early age of 8, Dora went with her parents and siblings to work in the fields of Montana. There she met a man who played the guitar. She spent a lot of time listening to and watching the man. Her father noticed her interest in music and bought her a guitar. She mostly taught herself by trial and error and other people showed her different chords. Soon she was playing traditional church songs taught by her parents and grandmother. She continued playing for her own pleasure and for her family until the age of 13. Then she decided it wasn’t “cool” anymore. She was still going with her parents to work in the fields and continued to do so until the age of 19 when she married José Rodriguez.
She had known him for some time and “had her eye on him,” but he had other interests. But by then the two families were working together, so he had to notice her. They were married in 1954. They continued going to Montana during the summer months. José had a regular job at Southern Steel in San Antonio at that time. Dora says that he always had a job to come back to.
They started a family but continued to migrate north with their families. But now they had their own farms to work. Their work took them to Montana and Wisconsin, where they worked for the Heinz Co., and Nebraska and Arkansas, where they picked cotton. As the family grew and the children started school, José and Dora made sure they did not head north until school was out, and they made it a point to be back home before school started. Their children’s education was very important to them. It was something neither one of them had been given the opportunity to obtain.
Dora picked up her guitar again after making her Cursillo in 1964. She started playing at the ultreyas (Monday night meetings) in church with Pablo Ximenez. Then they started playing at Masses. At first the choir consisted of Pablo, Dora, and her four sisters. They did some awesome harmonizing together. Others, like me, joined the choir and it grew. Even Scott Donaho (before he became a deacon) and his wife, Mary Jane, joined the Spanish choir.
Dora and I reminisced at length about some of the events and functions at which we sang. We sang at many weddings, anniversaries, and ecumenical services. We sang downtown around Christmastime, and went caroling, choosing especially the shut-ins. We would do serenatas (serenades) at night for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, sometimes getting home just in time to shower and make it to the 8 a.m. Mass. We also sang at a Mass at the Rancho de las Cabras when it was discovered. And Dora was always available. Her family was very supportive.
After Tom and Anne-Marie Kane joined the Spanish choir in 1979, we sang at a Mass at the Texas Folklife Festival. We attended workshops. At one, we premiered the Mass by singing a new composition by a German lady. Tom quit music for a year in 1985 and later went to an English choir. He returned to play with the Spanish choir (now the bilingual choir) in 1994 and is still doing it. Many other musicians have played in our choir through the years, too numerous to name. Dora is grateful for their contributions.
Even while raising their family of 11, Dora continued to give of her time and talents. Dora stopped going to work in the fields after her last child was born. José and the older children continued going for several years.
In 1976, Dora started working outside the home. She credits Head Start for the privilege of sending two or three of her children there, affording her the opportunity to work. She worked for different agencies, but her longest stint was with the Community Council of South Central Texas. She worked well into the ’80s.
In 1975, she and her sister, Josie, and their families started a tradition that would last for 27 years! They befriended two families at Thanksgiving by providing a meal for them at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall. Their children grew up and they all joined in the cause. The event got bigger every year. They started doing it at Christmas, too. They not only provided a meal for needy families, but they had Santa Claus pass out gifts. And, of course, they were treated to Christmas carols by Dora and her sisters. When people couldn’t come anymore, they would go to the poorest parts of the county and distribute food, clothing, and blankets to the needy.
Dora was busy doing other things, too. In 1980, she and her four sisters, Antonia (Toña), Josie, Amelia, and Frances, decided to go to school. All five of them received their GED certificates, something they and their families are very proud of.
Watch for the second part of this story in a coming issue.
Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
September 4, 2013 1:19pm
Share your comment or opinion on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Section A: General News Archives
American Legion ceremony (May 25, 2016)
Annexation for fire services will be on November ballot (May 25, 2016)
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts to honor fallen heroes (May 25, 2016)
Camino Real plans Open House events (May 25, 2016)
Chief Hull resigns from Poth police (May 25, 2016)
County sets sights on new tax (May 25, 2016)
Court Update (May 25, 2016)
Editorial: Grim choices have put America in a grave situation (May 25, 2016)
Editorial: On the other side of politics in a world of digital divide (May 25, 2016)
Fire, EMS services — Who’s got you covered? (May 25, 2016)
It’s okay to take control (May 25, 2016)
Letter: Free ride over hard work … a no-brainer! (May 25, 2016)
Letter: Housing Foundation expresses gratitude (May 25, 2016)
Letter: Mainstream media ‘brainwashing’ Hispanic/Latino voters (May 25, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Wilson County Memorial Hospital District (May 25, 2016)
Memorial Day office closures (May 25, 2016)
One viewpoint: Making Floresville marketable with recreational facilities (May 25, 2016)
Parish plans Cemetery Ceremony (May 25, 2016)
Police arrest man in case of burned body (May 25, 2016)
Police Blotter (May 25, 2016)
Police ticket six for violating cell phone ban (May 25, 2016)
Post 539 service (May 25, 2016)
Poth electric vehicle users could be in for a 'shock' (May 25, 2016)
Poth High School students earn awards (May 25, 2016)
Severe storms shred Wilson County (May 25, 2016)
SSCA ceremony (May 25, 2016)
Teacher salaries, student lunch prices on the rise (May 25, 2016)
Tejano music to fill the air during Labor Day event (May 25, 2016)
Turner: New businesses coming to Floresville (May 25, 2016)
Berger earns Ph.D. from Columbia University (May 18, 2016)
Brahma Happenings (May 18, 2016)
Burning body spurs murder investigation (May 18, 2016)
Can I negotiate? (May 18, 2016)
Court Update (May 18, 2016)
Editorial: Narrow views promote intellectual, moral dry rot (May 18, 2016)
Editorial: The political climate in America goes from bad to worse (May 18, 2016)
Falls City ISD’s new K-12 building almost complete (May 18, 2016)
Floresville parks master plan would relocate ball fields (May 18, 2016)
Floresville parks plan wins council approval (May 18, 2016)
Foundation awards $9K in grants (May 18, 2016)
Foundation opens health grant process (May 18, 2016)
Graco recalls booster seats (May 18, 2016)
Grass fires on the rise (May 18, 2016)
Letter: An open letter to Congress (May 18, 2016)
Letter: Illegal immigration: Who will laugh last? (May 18, 2016)
Letter: What Hispanic vote? (May 18, 2016)
Lone Star Greys to meet (May 18, 2016)
Meeting Watch: La Vernia City Council (May 18, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Poth ISD (May 18, 2016)
Police Blotter (May 18, 2016)
Police recover one of two stolen trucks (May 18, 2016)
Register for free watercolor lesson (May 18, 2016)
Stockdale campus to get upgrade soon (May 18, 2016)
Stockdale City Council approves electronic payment processing (May 18, 2016)
TAMU-SA matches student scholarships (May 18, 2016)
Time to make plans to attend Jubilee (May 18, 2016)
Want fire protection? Attend May 19 hearing (May 18, 2016)
Acme Gold Buyers marks fifth year in Floresville (May 11, 2016)
All Veterans Job Fair (May 11, 2016)
Cemetery group to meet (May 11, 2016)
Children’s Alliance enhances care services (May 11, 2016)
China Grove mayor, police chief trade barbs at meeting (May 11, 2016)
Commissioners lukewarm toward hot coffee at library (May 11, 2016)
Competency and integrity (May 11, 2016)
Court Update (May 11, 2016)
Coy to get Ranger Cross (May 11, 2016)
Cub Scout Roundup (May 11, 2016)
Donate blood in May (May 11, 2016)
Editor: Trump’s candidacy sets in motion affliction in future elections (May 11, 2016)
Editorial: The voters have spoken — well, some of them have! (May 11, 2016)
Former Sutherland Springs VFD considered as a substation (May 11, 2016)
Free caregivers class starts May 26 (May 11, 2016)
Information sought in Walmart theft (May 11, 2016)
Lack of super majority vote keeps Clean Water Rule flowing (May 11, 2016)
Leetter: The government is a terrible investor (May 11, 2016)
Letter: Injection well site is near river, creeks (May 11, 2016)
Letter: Stop being negative (May 11, 2016)
LV youths win new wheels at Bike Rodeo (May 11, 2016)
Meeting Watch: La Vernia ISD (May 11, 2016)
Mineral rights workshop set (May 11, 2016)
Miss LV Pageant, Bluebonnet Parade, graduation fill La Vernia calendar (May 11, 2016)
New Wilson County justice center nears completion (May 11, 2016)
Personalized brick for Veterans Memorial (May 11, 2016)
Police Blotter (May 11, 2016)
Precinct 3 primary runoff is May 24 (May 11, 2016)
Rangers to honor Lorenz (May 11, 2016)
Rohrs takes over Floresville athletics (May 11, 2016)
Tanneberger qualifies for Executive Club membership (May 11, 2016)
Voters respond: One bond passes, another fails (May 11, 2016)
Wednesday morning crash injures nine (May 11, 2016)
AACOG plans public meeting (May 4, 2016)
Accident injures two drivers (May 4, 2016)
AgriLife offers tips to protect from Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (May 4, 2016)
Behind the lens: Solitary stillness (May 4, 2016)
Celebration Mass June 12 (May 4, 2016)
Cemetery association meeting (May 4, 2016)
Condos are fine, but do your research (May 4, 2016)
Court Update (May 4, 2016)
Crime Stoppers aids police anonymously (May 4, 2016)
DA, DPS bust nets 86 charges (May 4, 2016)
Debate over citizens comments dominates Floresville council (May 4, 2016)
Dwellings At Home offers lodge, ranch furnishings, more (May 4, 2016)
Editorial: Overbearing city council threatens boards’ independence (May 4, 2016)
Editorial: Taking personal responsibility will bring possibilities (May 4, 2016)
Editorial: Trump is the same old song with one more verse (May 4, 2016)
FEDC tables recommendation of master parks plan (May 4, 2016)
FELPS tornado repair continues as FEMA help stalls (May 4, 2016)
Floresville Chamber Luncheon May 18 (May 4, 2016)
Hall of Fame inductees: Joe Kotwig, Malcolm and Beverly Talley (May 4, 2016)
Letter: Alamo Colleges: A bust for Floresville (May 4, 2016)
Local nursing homes plan Senior Olympics May 9-13 (May 4, 2016)
Look twice for motorcycle riders (May 4, 2016)
Lyssy’s vault earns gold, sets records! (May 4, 2016)
Medicaid, CHIP application assistance (May 4, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Wilson County Commissioners Court (May 4, 2016)
National Day of Prayer May 5 (May 4, 2016)
Police Blotter (May 4, 2016)
Ramirez promoted to colonel (May 4, 2016)
Reserve a seat for SA Tea Party (May 4, 2016)
Tanneberger tops in sales (May 4, 2016)
Treviño prepares to take reins of East Central athletics (May 4, 2016)