In the early years before the convenience of air travel, air mail and telephones, life in Puerto Rico was primitive. “The first convents were simple wooden houses with little or no electricity or refrigeration. Bathroom facilities were primitive and usually out-of-doors. The tropical heat made life uncomfortable much of the year for the Sisters, covered as they were from head to toe in the Dominican habit. The Sisters persevered and studied diligently to master the language and to teach English to children who knew only Spanish. They worked as teachers on all levels of education. They also served as catechists and pastoral workers, as ministers to the poor, elderly, the youth and as family counselors.”
Catholic schools were being built in many sections of Puerto Rico just as the number of churches and parishes grew. “Santísimo Rosario School was founded on September 23, 1912 at 11 San Rafael Street. In 1917 Puerto Ricans were given U.S. citizenship. The majority of Puerto Ricans today self-identify as white and Spanish-speaking, 95 percent spoke a language other than English at home. Of those speaking a language other than English at home, 100 percent spoke Spanish and less than 0.5 percent spoke some other language; 85 percent reported that they did not speak English “very well.”(Census.) Contrary to popular belief that the Amerindian population in Puerto Rico is nearly extinct, a recent study indicated that between 52.6% and 84% of the population possess some degree of Amerindian DNA in their maternal ancestry, usually in a combination with other ancestries. In addition, these DNA studies show Amerindian ancestry in addition to the Taíno.