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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Aguas Buenas woman is named Puerto Rico Mother of the Year

Vilma L. Rivera Fontánez


Vilma L. Rivera Fontánez of Aguas Buenas was selected as the 2023 Puerto Rico Mother of the Year, Mother of the Year officials said Tuesday.

She is the 70th woman in Puerto Rico history to hold the honor.

“Rivera Fontánez is a courageous, creative, persistent, and resilient mother who spent over 40 years as a Catholic music minister, and has served in multiple countries as a redemptorist lay missionary,” the organization said in a press release. “Rivera Fontánez, along with honorees from states across the United States, will be recognized during the 88th National Convention of American Mothers Inc. this April in Omaha, Neb.” the organization added. “One honoree will be named the National Mother of the Year during the convention.”

For nearly nine decades, American Mothers Inc. (AMI) has searched for and selected the Mother of the Year in every state, district and territory in the country.

“The hard work and inspiration of mothers are being recognized now more than ever,” said Joyce Stevens, president of American Mothers Inc. “It’s an honor to be part of an organization that’s connecting moms across the nation to celebrate motherhood and uplift their stories of resiliency and strength.”

Rivera Fontánez spent her whole life in the town of Aguas Buenas, and has been married to José C. Agosto since 1984. A Catholic music minister for more than 40 years, she has served as a redemptorist lay missionary in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the United States and Puerto Rico.

“Vilma has not had an easy life, contracting the polio virus when she was two months old and experiencing many hard blows since then,” the officials said. “However, she has faced each adversity with strength. God blessed her with a voice to praise her Creator, as well as the grace of a contagious smile and the passion to enjoy every moment of her walk. Vilma is a companion, a counselor, a cloth for tears, and a loving intercessor before God for her three children: José Carlos, Héctor Raúl (RIP) and Keyla María. Herfour granddaughters are the joy of her home and another reason to thank God every day.”

A full list of Mother of the Year honorees can be found at Nominations for Mother of the Year are accepted annually, from Mother’s Day to Sept. 15.

AMI is a Washington, D.C.-based national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization given the responsibility of searching for and selecting the National Mother of the Year from honorees representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Founded in 1931 as the Mothers Day Committee of the Golden Rule Foundation, AMI named the nation’s first Mother of the Year in 1935.

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