Lucia Rizal Mercado

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Lucia Mercado Rizal – Herbosa (1857-1919) was the 5th child of Don Francisco Mercado and Doña Teodora Alonso and elder sister of the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

Personal Life

Lucia was married to Mariano Herbosa, nephew of Fr. Casañas, a witness of Jose Rizal's baptism. Together, they had eight children: (1) Paz; (2) Delfina; (3) Concepcion; (4) Virginia; (5) José; (6) Teodosio; (7) Patrocinio; and (8) Estanislao. She was widowed young but did not remarry. She died on 25 December 1919 at the age of 62.

Relationship with Rizal

Lucia shared a tight-knit relationship with Rizal, or Pepe, as the family fondly called him. She was one of the first of the Rizal sisters to marry, along with Narcisa. Though not much has been told about Rizal’s relationship with her during their early years, the records in Rizal’s collection of letters portray a rather casual and sometimes humorous exchange of stories between them. Her husband, Mariano, almost always wrote Rizal as well. Her letters to Rizal were mostly about their condition in Calamba, how much the Mercado family and the Herbosa family had missed him since he went away to study abroad, and casual news about their relatives and her children.

Lucia’s close relationship with Rizal was depicted in her letter to the latter dated 13 November 1883, where she told him that she deeply regretted not being able to say goodbye to her brother when he boarded the steamer Salvadora, which was headed to Singapore. That was Rizal’s first travel abroad to pursue his medical studies further after graduating from the University of Sto. Tomas. She mentioned in the letter that she was pregnant with her fifth child, José, Rizal’s namesake. She also described how she was very fond of her son José for being so much like his Uncle Pepe. She expressed how she wanted her son to imbibe her brother’s brilliance, diligence in good work, and disposition.

Lucia also had very high confidence and esteem for her brother’s medical prowess. In her letter to Rizal dated 14 May 1883, she asked Rizal for the best prescription for itch, and described how the itch had been spreading in town at the time.

Lucia’s husband Mariano’s death of cholera brought deep sadness to her. She shared her heartbreak to Rizal in her letter dated 30 May 1890, telling him that great misfortunes had tailed her since her husband’s death, including the refusal of the Catholic church to grant Mariano a proper catholic burial because of his affiliation as brother-in-law to Jose Rizal, who at the time was being incessantly pursued by the Spanish authorities for his anti-Spanish retorts in his writings. Rizal, having known the maltreatment to his brother-in-law Mariano, who was very close to him, published an article in La Solidaridad entitled “Una Profanacion” (A Profanation) on July 31, 1889 attacking the friars for their insensitivity and heartlessness for not granting a proper burial.

During Rizal’s exile in Dapitan, Lucia sent her two sons Teodosio and Estanislao to stay with their uncle and spend time with him in Mindanao. It was described in Rizal’s letter to Lucia dated 12 February 1896 that he was enjoying the company of his nephews and advised his sister to have her children choose their own vocations as he noticed the boys’ interests. It was also shown that Rizal was very much engaged in monitoring the academic progress of his nieces and nephews even from a distance. He corrected the misspelling of the word muchisimo written by Lucia’s second daughter, Delfina, in her letter to her uncle. Rizal later said that Josephine Bracken was delighted to spend time with Lucia’s sons in Dapitan as well.


Lucia Rizal and Mariano Herbosa were blessed with 8 children, Paz, Delfina, Concepcion, Virginia, Jose, Teodosio, Patriocinio and Estanislao. Paz, Concepcion, Virginia and Jose were the only ones who never married. Their second daughter, Delfina, married General Savador Natividad. They had one daughter, Paz Natividad, after Delfina’s eldest sister.

Teodosio, the sixth child of the Herbosas, later married Lucina Vytingco. Together, they had three children: Jose, Lucia and Luis.

Estanislao was married twice. First to Fortunata Mendoza, with whom he had four children, namely: Francisco, Delfina, Rafael and Enrique. Estanislao was married for a second time to Felicidad Montes, and together, they had six children: Paz, Angelina, Eliza, Concepcion, Felicidad and Estanislao Jr. and Mariano.


  • Berango, Antonio R., Buhay at Pag-Ibig ni Dr. Jose P. Rizal sa Tula, St. Pauls, Makati City,
  • Zaide, Gregorio F. and Zaide, Sonia M. Jose Rizal: Buhay, mga ginawa at mga sinulat ng isang henyo, maunulat,syentipiko, at pambansang bayani, All Nations Publishing Co., Inc., 1999

External Links

  • Rizal's letters [1] (Accessed July 5 2011)



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