Julia Torres Fernandez (1904-1988) was the first woman of any denomination ordained in Puerto Rico and the first Hispanic woman to be an ordained an elder in The United Methodist Church. She was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and was a teacher before her 1961 ordination. Later she established and directed a school for underprivileged children in her hometown, a school now known as the Colegio Metodista Julia Torres Fernandez. She was well known for her work with children and youth on the island; she often worked with Sister Isolina Ferre Aguayo, a Roman Catholic nun known as “the Mother Teresa of Puerto Rico.” In The United Methodist Church, Torres was active in United Methodist Women’s organizations and was involved with the Women’s Division. She taught at the School of Missions and wrote articles for El Interprete, a Spanish-language program magazine produced by United Methodist Communications. “Her eyes danced like the stars,” wrote the Rev. Yolanda Pupo-Ortiz in a tribute after her death. (The Iglesia Metodista de Puerto Rico – Methodist Church of Puerto Rico – was started in 1900 by what is now The United Methodist Church and because fully autonomous in 1992).
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A web page for the Colegio Metodista Julia Torres Fernandez(Spanish)
The Iglesia Metodista de Puerto Rico (Spanish)