Kababaihang Rizalista, Inc. (KRI) Sydney chapter hosted a Zoom reading on the life of Jose Rizal's mother to commemorate Mother's Day this weekend.
There were three seminal moments in the life of the late Dona Teodora Alonso that had become topics of public discussion and written about in history books.
The first one was how she was unjustly imprisoned because she refused to identify herself by the surname forced on her under a Spanish law. To humiliate her even further, she was forced to walk 50 kilometers to get to the jail herself.
The second one was how in the hour before Rizal's death, he wrote a poignant note to his mother simply stating her name and signed under his name.
it read: “To my dear mother, Sra. Da. Teodora Alonzo. 6 o'clock in the morning,
December 30, 1896. Jose Rizal."
The third, and the most recent one, was a photo of her standing behind the excavated remains of Rizal where she would be captured hugging her son's skull.
In between these big moments was the life of a mother who led an exemplary life for her children.
She had 11 children to her husband Francisco Mercado. She taught them all how to read and write, to be upright citizens and to chase both spiritual and intellectual pursuits. History books show that she was, in many ways, a modern woman: progressive in her thoughts about equality and entrepreneurial in her dealings with her family's agricultural interests.
Yesterday evening, KRI Sydney hosted a Zoom reading called 'Raising a revolutionary' featuring Josephine 'Jopen' Quintero, Rizal's great-grand niece; Linda Geronimo, lawyer and Blacktown Council councillor; and Violi Calvert, award-winning radio broadcaster from Radio Tagumpay and freelance writer.
The attendees were KRI ladies Nenita Weekes, Jinky Marsh, Marilie Bomediano and Michelle Baltazar.
A video recording of the reading together with the discussion can be found on the organisation's Facebook page below.