Mendive, Forever the Teacher

His name refers us to that deep and fertile bond he held with José Martí

By: Ana Margarita Sánchez Soler

Another anniversary of the death of Rafael María de Mendive will be commemorated on the 24th day this month. His name refers us to that deep and fertile bond he held with José Martí. Mendive was his teacher, one who was able to provide the basic, but also spiritual, education for Martí.

When men leave this world, we almost always think about their work. In the case of Mendive, his work has incalculable resonance. He sowed sensitivity in the student. For that reason in each text, from the small and great”Pepito” are the contributions of who was essential in his intellectual and human growth.

This date is the right moment to observe closely the apprentice-disciple bonds as a cardinal relation of any individual. Of course Mendive had his own work as a poet and writer, but among his most outstanding pedagogical exercise is the education given to Martí.

Rafael María de Mendive studied at the Seminary of San Carlos and there he studied Philosophy and Law. His house on Prado Street would later become one of the favorite haunts for his students. Debates on the most dissimilar topics of colonial Cuba would be elementary in the shaping of patriotic stances.

Mendive was for his disciples that necessary motivation in the eagerness to open eyes and take a sharper look to the island. Martí was one of the first to commit himself to the thought of his guide. From him he would obtain forever the passion for letters, study as an imperishable condition.

When talking about the Mendive-Martí relationship, many articles record some words written by the national hero in a letter to his great friend Enrique Trujillo y Cárdenas. In that letter he said: “And how does he want that I say in some lines everything good and new that I could say of that lover of beauty (…) he never wrote but about truths of his heart or about pains of the Fatherland? … “

To remember Rafael María de Mendive today, there’s nothing better than recalling his most faithful disciple

Translated by ESTI

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