Father Felix Varela

Father Felix Varela


1788-1853

This Cuban priest dedicated his life to the service of others, especially young people. In 1811 he was named Profesor of Philosophy of the Seminary of San Carlos and San Ambrosio of Havana, where very quickly he distinguished himself as a great educator. During his professional career, Varela introduced numerous innovations in teaching and defended the principle, then considered strange, of giving women the same education as men.

In 1821, he was elected "Diputado" to the Spanish Court. There, with others, he presented a proposal to obtain the abolition of slavery. When the courts were dissolved, Varela sought refuge in the United States, where he published, among many other things, El Habanero and two great worksCartas a Elpidio. In this last work, Varela defended the necessity of a strong religious formation as a base for the flowering of the civic virtues and the happiness of a nation and of a people.

Father Felix Varela was a great defender of liberty, but above all, he was an exemplary priest, who lead his ministry in New York city, for more than 25 years. Because of his abilities and his dedication, he was named Vicario General of the New York Diocesis.

Varela spent his last years in the city of St. Augustine, Florida, where he had retired due to illness. In 1853, being considered by many a saint, he died, "tan cerca de Cuba como pudo" , as Jose Marti said decades later in remembering this man who taught Cubans to think.

Fundacion Padre Felix Varela