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President Raul Castro Ruz Attends First Beatification Ceremony in Cuba
Beatification Ceremony of Friar Juanino Jose OlalloThe mass was held at the Plaza de la Libertad square, across from the Iglesia de La Caridad Church and was also attended by Vice President Esteban Lazo and other government and Communist Party officials in this eastern city.  

Monsignor Juan Garcia Rodriguez, Archbishop of Camaguey, presented the bishops and representatives of the Diocese of Cuba and other countries; Deacon Miguel Angel Ortiz handed over to President Raul Castro a polyglot bible.  

Meanwhile, Cardinal Jose Saraiva, Emeritus Prefect of the Congregación para la Causa de los Santos (the Saints´ Cause Congregation) and representative of Pope Benedict XVI read the Apostolic Letter on the beatification of Friar Olallo.  

Beatification Ceremony of Friar Juanino Jose OlalloPriest Felix Lizaso, brother with the Hospitable Order of San Juan de Dios presented a brief history of the life and work of Friar Olallo. Following the unveiling of a huge image of Olallo, his remains were taken in procession to the altar.  

In the end of the ceremony William Martin Forkan, Fray Donatus, Superior General of the Hospitable Order of San Juan de Dios extended his gratefulness to Cuban authorities and also referred to the life of Friar Olallo.

Friar Olallo: Bibliographical Information

Friar Jose Olallo Valdes was born February 12, 1820 in Havana. His will to serve the sick and the marginalized made him a member of the San Juan de Dios Brothers Order. At the age of 15, in 1835, he was appointed by the religious order to the San Juan de Dios Hospital, in eastern Camaguey province (formerly known as Puerto Principe), so that he completed his religious and professional formation. With a solid medical training, he was able to work as surgeon and pharmacist.

On May 12, 1873, friar Olallo defied the Spanish soldiers as he took the dead body of Independence fighter, Mayor General Ignacio Agramonte into the hospital to be washed.  

Friar Olallo passed away March 7, 1889 in his humble hospital cell where he never stopped working. In 1901, the city government named a local street and a square after Friar Olallo. The street still bears his name. On November 27, 1999, the Hospitable Order of the San Juan de Dios Brothers founded the Friar Olallo elderly home.

The remains of Friar Olallo were transferred, March 8 2004, from the General Cemetery to the San Juan de Dios Church, where he worked during 54 years in the 19th century.


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