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Father Ramon Ortiz

Pastor and activist Ramón Ortiz was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1813. He attended seminary in Durango, Mexico, and was ordained to the ministry in 1833. After his ordination he spent several years in Mexico, working and ministering to Indians and mestizos in several of the small mining villages. From 1838 to 1896 he was pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission at El Paso del Norte (Ciudad Juárez) and the surrounding missions.

Father Ortiz is remembered for his efforts to promote peace between the citizens of Mexico and the United States before, during, and after the Mexican War. He served as Mexican congressman in 1848, and as a commissioner to New Mexico in 1849. The following year he made many efforts (largely unsuccessful) to help the Mexican settlers in the area to retain their land on the Texas side of the border.

Father Ortiz died on March 11, 1896. He was buried in the churchyard of the San Jose Mission near Juarez, and newspapers reported that thousands of mourners attended his funeral, one of the largest in the history of the Paso del Norte area.

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critical thinking
What difficulties do you think Father Ortiz faced when he tried to promote peace between the U.S. and Mexico? Why?

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From the Handbook of Texas Online


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Fidelia Puckett, "Ramon Ortiz, Priest and Patriot," Western American, April 4, 1936.