What Is the Biography of Teodora Alonzo?

Teodora Alonzo, mother of the reformist Jose Rizal, was born on Nov. 9, 1827, in Manila, Philippines. She encouraged Jose in his fight for freedom against the Spaniards. The Spaniards imprisoned her because of her husband Francisco's defiance against their laws.

Teodora studied Spanish at Colegio de Sta. Rosa. She fell in love with Francisco Rizal Mercado from Laguna. They had 11 children together: Paciano, Saturnina, Narcisa, Olimpia, Lucia, Maria, Jose, Concepcion, Josefa, Trinidad, and Soledad. Jose Rizal was the seventh child in the family and grew up to become a reformist in the Philippine Revolution. Teodora valued education, teaching her children herself before sending them to reputable colleges in Manila.

Her husband, Francisco, was involved in helping compatriots who were abused by the Spaniards. To punish Francisco for his defiance of Spanish laws, the Spaniards exiled him and imprisoned Teodora without trial, on false charges. Teodora supported and encouraged Jose when he became ever more active as a revolutionary.

After they freed the Philippines, the U.S. Government offered Teodora a pension to honor her for standing up for her principles despite her persecution. However, she turned down the pension, saying, "The Rizals offer their lives to their mother country because of their inherent patriotism and not because of money." She lived until the year 1911.