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Birth: 1848

Death: 1918


From the age of eight, Dolores Rodriguez Sopena, of Velez-Rubio, Spain, suffered from poor eyesight. Subsequently, the appointment of Dolores’ father to the office of judge brought her into the company of high society at the age of seventeen. But disillusioned by the empty vanity of the social functions she attended, Dolores turned her heart to the care of the sick, nursing a leper and two victims of typhoid fever. In the years that followed, she devoted herself to catechizing, teaching, and nursing the needy, eventually founding a lay catechetical apostolate that she named the “Work of the Doctrines.” At the age of fifty-two, a year after making a pilgrimage to Rome, Dolores founded and became the first mother superior of a new religious congregation, the Ladies of the Catechetical Institute, as the consecrated counterpart to her original lay association. She died on January 10, 1918. Her congregation is now known as the Sopena Catechetical Institute.


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