Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, known in his life as "Charlie", was born in Caguas Puerto Rico on Nov. 22, 1918. While attending the Catholic University Center of Rio Piedras, he founded the Christian Culture Circle. His illness, ulcerative colitis, started when he was 13. Because of the unreasonable bowel troubles, he was forced to retire from full time study. He began work as a clerk at the University of Puerto Rico until he finally rededicated all of his time to the Catholic University Center.
One of the driving principles behind Carlos' life was a focus on the resurrection of Christ. With true understanding of Christ's resurrection, he held the Easter Vigil as a crucial part of life. His Christian Culture Circle promoted Christian Humanism. These ideas combined the past and future, the matters of this world and those outside of it. He endorsed fulfillment by personal involvement. Through his life, he dedicated himself to translating English liturgy to Spanish for his fellow Puerto Ricans. He organized many study groups and encouraged involvement of the laity in promoting the faith, something with the Vatican would also encourage years later.
In 1962 he confessed to his brother, who was a Benedictine monk, that he was not ready to die. With his illness escalating, he knew his time was near. Over time, he experienced a "Dark Night of the Soul", where God seemed absent. Shortly before his death, he found peace with God. He died of cancer on July 13, 1963.
In 1981, a woman living with non-Hodgkins malignant lymphoma prayed to Rodriguez for intercession on her behalf. Her lung cancer healed. Since he wasn't a martyr, this miracle opened the way for beatification. On Dec. 8, 1992, the process began, finishing on June 1, 1993. Father Romualdo Rodrigo became the postulator of the cause of beatification and was charged with proving Rodriguez's worthiness. One July 7, 1997, Pope John Paul II decreed Charlie's heroic sanctity and service in life.
He is the first Caribbean born layman to be beatified. If another miracle is attributed to Charlie's intercession, he will be a candidate for canonization and will become a Saint.