March 12, 2021, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – Humberto Ruiz Castillo (1897-1966) – respected engineer and architect and the father of Adrian Dominican Sisters Margarita “Margot” Ruiz, OP, and Teresita “Tete” Ruiz, OP – was honored recently during a special Mass marking the beginning of a renovation project on a chapel he designed.
Humberto Ruiz Castillo designed a chapel located in the Palacio Nacional and dedicated to Archangel Raphael. The Palacio Nacional houses the executive offices of President Luis Abinader and Vice President Raquel Peña de Antuña. The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop of Santo Domingo Francisco Ozoria Acosta.
Sister Margot said the special event also focused on her father’s work. She and Sister were unable to attend, but their nieces and nephews represented the family. Members of her family were also asked to provide anecdotes about the architect for a book that will be written about his life and work.
“We are so proud,” Sister Margot said. “After the ceremony, my nieces and nephews were so proud to know that their grandfather was so good, so appreciated, and so intelligent.”
Humberto Ruiz Castillo designed and constructed several Catholic churches, as well as the Colegio Santo Domingo, the grade school and high school opened and staffed by Adrian Dominican Sisters. He also had a profound impact on his students at the University of Santo Domingo, passing on what he had learned in Europe and introducing them to Art Deco. In addition, he founded the Dominican Republic’s first association of engineers and architects.
Humberto Ruiz Castillo has long been recognized for his contributions to the Church and to the Dominican Republic. In 1949, the Vatican consecrated him in the Order of St. Gregory the Great, one of the Orders of Knighthood bestowed by the Vatican in recognition of meritorious service to the Church. He was also named Diocesan Architect.
In addition, the Dominican Republic issued commemorative stamps in his honor in May 2018. On that occasion, Sister Margot recalled, her father was remembered as someone who was “very honest, disciplined, and generous – an example to all society. He put his heart into everything he did.”