"Mexico." by Miss Virginia Villafuerte (1871-).
Publication: Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed. The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U. S. A., 1893. Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Company, 1894. pp. 406-407.
|MISS VIRGINIA VILLAFUERTE.|
Ladies, I wish to manifest to you the honor I feel at your request to have me address you. I am authorized by no official authority to do so.
First: If I am a Mexican, I have not the orders from Mexico to address you in the name of my country.
Secondly: Because this day, named "Mexican Day," is not the Day of the Independence of Mexico, but has been assigned Mexican Day by the order of the general manager of this Fair and the United States when they assigned a day to each nation.
The 15th of September, 1810, is the day in every part of my country we honor as the day of Liberty. A great and noble man by the name of Miguel Hidalgoy Costilla gave us liberty. This hero was to Mexico the father of that country as your George Washington was of yours. In Mexico on the 15th and 16th of September all hearts honor him in city and country alike. In walls and fields, on our plains and mountain-tops, re-echoes "El guto!"–the cry of liberty.
May I say a few words of my country, its customs and its public education for womanhood. In the words of Mrs. Carmen Romero Rubio Diaz, our president's noble wife, whose mental qualities are known to both republics as the leader in ours, of education for woman, the "Angel of the Home" should be placed upon the very pinnacle of educational facilities, every opportunity given to her flights of fancy and imagination until she really occupies the position she should do; and the time will come when the Mexican woman shall occupy throughout the world in art and literature as noble a one as she does today, as the "Angel of the Home" in Mexico.
In the City of Mexico today schools for women exist, whose laurel crowned graduates go forth annually to elevate and civilize the nation in all its parts, and I can but admire the nobility and long suffering of American men who so gallantly overlook the failings of their sister women, place them in offices of all kinds, overlooking their faults, and setting so noble an example to our Mexican Cabelleros.
In the Capitol we have a woman's home, the name of which is "The Protector." This home was founded by Mrs. Diaz (the president's wife) and is maintained by her. It is for the protection of the daughters of the working class. They have their daily food, clothing and education while the parents are at work. This, which at first sight might be looked upon with indifference, to those who have not money has been a blessing, and to the founder a lasting benediction, which comes each day from those who bless her for those favors her hands bestow so bountifully on them. If you have in [Page 407] this country such a hope in each of your very large cities, I am pleased to know of it, for in all densely populated places are the fingers of charities most wanted.
In giving you my thanks for your kind invitation this day, I will promise to speak to my patriotic sisters of the American women, of their life and their enjoyment of all freedom and liberty of their work and how they are respected for it, each holding in society the place sought, in accordance with her capacity.
Senorita Virginia Villafuerte is a native of Toluca. State of Mexico, Mexico. She was born January 6, 1871. Her parents were Jesus J. Villafuerte, of Victoria, Garmica. She was educated in the private college of Mrs. Guadalupe Gonsaller del Pino in elocution and has traveled over part of Mexico and in the United States. Her special work has been in painting and embroidery. Her profession is that of a teacher in primary classes. Senorita Villafuerte is of the Catholic faith. Her postoffice address is No. 24 Calle del Aguila, Mexico City.
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