El Apostolado School


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Founded March 19th, 1897

By Mother Teresa Azcona, R.A.:
(An excerpt from her book: "A History of Hope")

New Inaguration: Cárdenas, Cuba

It was our third inauguration in the City of Cárdenas, province of Matanzas, on March 19, 1897, feastday of St. Joseph, after whom the school was named. God's will was carried out by Mother Carolina who took care of all the details necessary to bring it about.

The school was established on Ruiz Street, in two homes donated by Sra. Angela Malpica de Rosell. The founding religious community consisted of: Mercedes del Valle as Principal, professor Gertrudis Jaspe and Novices Purificación Santana, Concepción Portocarrero and Angela Jhones.

The School, on Jenez & Princesa
Our Chapel's Altar

We now had three communities, and despite the fact that personnel weren't very abundant, our faith in a generous God did not decline; He would take care of sending us apostles to work in His Kingdon at the same rate that we would work to reveal to mankind the love in His heart.

State of War

We were in the midst of the War of Independence, the effects of which were being strongly felt in the provinces of Matanzas as well as those surrounding Havana, very close to our newest schools. For safety reasons, we brought together all three communities in the house on Zanja Street in Havana during the most dangerous times. Our proximity to the Dragones barracks, however, made us feel insecure and brought us some scary moments.

Second Grade and Second Year of High School Classes of 1954

During the American blockade of the island we suffered the resulting scarcity, just the same as everyone else. We had a precarious economic situation as a result of the difficulties that the students were experiencing in trying to attend school, which decreased enrollment. Despite that, we held on to our strong belief that the heart of Jesus desired us as his apostles and would pull us through, brightenning those genuinely clouded horizons. We would cast our eyes toward Mary, Mother of Hope, and remember the words of our Lord: "During those dark nights that you encounter while crossing the ocean of your life, Mary shall be the star that will guide you to port."

The American intervention, which lasted almost four years, created some difficulties in the teaching of religion in the schools, and those who had been doing their religious work in hospitals had to be pulled back into the classroom. Also, some Protestant sects and Churches appeared on the scene during this time.

Despite the atmosphere of de-Chrisitanization and scarcity of priests that came about as result of the war, our desire to work to return the word of God to the people grew through teaching in the schools, transcending the families of our students. The Church in Cuba began to live under the sign of hope, a sign that shone over us from the first days following the founding. According to the Cuban National Ecclesiastical Encounter, "The history of the Church in Cuba began anew at the start of the 20th Century".

We regretted the fact that Bishop Manuel Santander y Frutos, who had had so much to do with our coming together as a congregation, and to whom we owe so much, had to leave the Dioscese of Havana at the end of Spanish domination because he was a Spaniard. Donato Sbarreti, an Italian, was named in his place, a replacement not welcomed by the Cubans, and who himself was replaced in 1903 by Mons. Pedro Gonzalez Estrada.

Some of the 1954 Graduates

The American intervention, which had begun in August, 1902, ended on May 20th, 1902, with the procalamation of the free and independent Republic of Cuba.

Thanks to Maria Antonia (Tony) Peña for
her help in the preparation of this page.
Translation: E. J. de la Fé