Luisa Ozema Pellerano

Professor Luisa Ozema Pellerano de Castro

Profesora Luisa Ozema Pellerano de Castro was a strong and very respected woman. She loved education and led the struggle as an activist for Women’s Rights in the Dominican Republic. Luisa also founded a ladies’ school and a nature conservation group during her short time on this earth. She truly left her mark.

Profesora Luisa Ozema Pellerano de Castro
Profesora Luisa Ozema Pellerano de Castro

Luisa was born in Santo Domingo, on November 9, 1870. Her parents are Manuel María Pellerano Bonnetti (1837-1894) and Doña Teresa de Castro de Lara.

Lusia went to school at Salomé Ureña, the first Institute for young ladies. She loved school and learning. She and her sister Eva were part of the first 14 students that graduated from this school. After graduation, she worked for the school until it closed in 1898.

The Instituto de Señoritas Salome Ureña present day located on Calle 19 de Marzo in the Colonial Zone.
The Instituto de Señoritas Salome Ureña present day located on Calle 19 de Marzo in the Colonial Zone.
Image – The Instituto de Señoritas Salome Ureña present day located on Calle 19 de Marzo in the Colonial Zone.

Together with her sister Eva Pellerano and Lucila, they started the new Instituto de Señoritas / Ladies Institute, which was later called Salomé Ureña. Under her teaching, over 100 ladies graduated to become teachers. She was known to be organized, disciplined and of good character.

In 1907 she married Don Federico Henríquez y Carvajal. He was the brother of former President Francisco Henríquez y Carvajal. They never had children.

In 1914, the school she founded became “Escuela Normal de Señoritas” / “Normal School for Young Ladies.” Not only did she love learning and teaching she had a love for nature and conservation. Along with Doña Mercedes Peynado they formed La Sociedad “Día de Árbol” / Tree Day Society.

The home of Luisa Ozema Pellerano de Castro where she lived with her husband near the school she founded on 19 de Marzo in Ciudad Colonial.
The home of Luisa Ozema Pellerano de Castro where she lived with her husband near the school she founded on 19 de Marzo in Ciudad Colonial.

The Tomb

Profesora Luisa Ozema Pellerano de Castro died on March 28, 1927 at the age of 57. They lay her to rest in the cemetery. Her tomb was in disrepair and a group repaired it to include a bust of this important Dominican personage.

She is interred in the Cementerio Nacional de la Avenida Independencia / National Cemetery on Avenue Independencia. Her tomb is so beautiful and is a touching monument to this strong and important lady.

The monument reads:
Luisa Ozema – Vida de sembradora fué tu vida. Cavaste el surco y esparciste el grano… Descansa en paz: La tórtola ya anida. En los trigales que espigó tu mano. Rough translation-Planting seeds was your life. You dug the trench and scattered the grain. Rest in peace. The turtledove nests. In the wheat fields where your hands worked.

The moving monument to Lusia Ozema Cementerio Nacional de la Avenida Independencia/ National Cemetery on Avenue Independencia
The moving monument to Lusia Ozema Cementerio Nacional de la Avenida Independencia/ National Cemetery on Avenue Independencia

Women’s Rights Movement

After the death of Luisa Ozema Pellerano, many of the graduates, ladies known as Maestras Normales / Normal Masters founded and joined the “Nosotras” Club that was founded on June 14, 1927. Many of these lady artists and intellectuals who belonged to that organization joined Acción Feminista Dominicana (AFD) / The Dominican Feminist Action when it was established on August 14, 1931. Their emblem was “¡En Marcha!” / “On the Move!” and their motto was Justicia y Amor Justice and Love. This group of brave and strong ladies worked for the rights of Dominican women.

Abigail Mejia wrote the following eulogy:
“Quitaos el sombrero, ciudadanos,
el Maestro de escuela se adelanta.
Hoy el Maestro está triste.
Su rostro, bondadoso mira hacia la tierra con amargura, reclamándole algo que le robó a deshora.
Ha muerto Luisa Ozema”

Translation:
“Take off your hat, citizens,
The school teacher comes forward.
Today the Master is sad.
His face, kindly looks at the earth with bitterness, claiming something that stole from him at the time.
Luisa Ozema has died ”

You can see more pictures of monument and tomb of Luisa on the picture collection slide show of Cementerio Nacional de la Avenida Independencia / National Cemetery on Avenue Independencia

References:
Facebook – Historia Dominicana en Graficas

https://listindiario.com/la-vida/2010/04/22/139238/renuevan-mausoleo-de-una-gran-maestra

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