New Book: Carmen Dolores Hernández’s “En busca de Isolina”


Puerto Rican writer and literary critic Carmen Dolores Hernández recently published En busca de Isolina [In Search of Isolina] a biography about Sor Isolina Ferré (Ponce, 1914-2000), a tribute highlighting the extraordinary life of the selfless Roman Catholic nun, celebrating the centennial of her birth. Known as the “Mother Teresa of Puerto Rico” and “El Ángel de la Playa de Ponce,” Sor Isolina (sister of the late governor of Puerto Rico, Luis A. Ferré) received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her humanitarian work. Her life was dedicated to working with the disadvantaged.

As part of her religious work, Ferré traveled back and forth between Puerto Rico and the United States, working with needy communities. She served as a Mother Superior in my hometown, Cabo Rojo, and spent years in Brooklyn, working with street gangs and other at-risk groups.Ponce,After working as a member of New York City’s Committee Against Poverty, to which she was appointed by Mayor John Lindsay, Ferré decided in 1969, to set her permanent residence in Ponce, specifically in the poor sector of La Playa. Here, she founded a small hospital and a school named Centro De Orientación De La Playa. Later, this project was expanded to become part the health centers named Centros Sor Isolina Ferré.

Author Carmen Dolores Hernández explains that “She was a saint, but did not set out to be a saint; she lived her life as we all live our lives—day by day, minute by minute, task to task.” She writes: “I think the key to understanding the success of the Sor Isolina Centers is that she combined all that human richness and wisdom, all that spirituality, with professional knowledge of what the community is and how you can build on it. I realized—as I was studying Isolina—that besides being a saint, besides being a great woman, besides being a wise person, she was a scholar, a woman with a master’s degree in sociology. She put all those tools and strengths at the service of community.”

For more information about the book (in Spanish), see

For purchasing information, see

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