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For Women's Month, the San Pedro House of Culture (NICH) would like to honour an Outstanding Women of our community for her great contributions on preserving and promoting the traditions of the island. The San Pedro House of Culture is please to introduce Mrs. Tomasita Gomez.

Tomasita Gomez often referred as “Guardian of Traditions” and “Maestra de Resos” is an active cultural leader noted for safeguarding and promoting culture and keeping the religious traditions alive in the island of San Pedro.

Tomasita Gomez was born on March 15th, 1926 in the village of San Pedro in the Belize District. She attended San Pedro R.C. School and at the age of eleven Tomasita was selected to join the church choir because of her singing skills.

Her deep interest in the events of the Catholic Church led her to attend religious classes every Sunday and hymn practice every Friday. Tomasita attended mass every day in May, the month devoted to the Virgin Mary. At this early age, she started doing rosaries with the Sisters of Mercy from St. Catherine Convent who vacationed in San Pedro for two weeks. Apart from her great contribution to the church choir her desire to spread the word of God found her attending almost every religious event on the island and participated in conducting the rosaries, novenas and the litany of saints.

At age fifteen, she found her true talent - sewing. Although she did not receive any formal training in sewing, Tomasita became a self-taught seamstress. She started cutting simple patterns and putting them together to complete a dress. Little by little she added her personal style to them and soon she was recognized as the island's leading seamstress. No job was too little or too big for her. She sewed everything from underwear to full wedding attire for both brides and grooms.

At an early age, Tomasita developed other entrepreneurial skills. Besides being the leading seamstress, she also made cloth flower arrangements which she sold in Belize City. She then ventured into another business as a beautician. Tomasita was the first person on this island to do hair permanents and cutting hair for the young ladies.

In 1952, she was selected from the choir to sing a solo, accompanied by violin, for the Resurrection Mass held at Central Park. She continued to do rosaries and novenas throughout the years and to lead the prayers at the religious events in the community.

Mrs. Tomasita has many good qualities, but her devotion to her faith is probably her strongest. All year long she would be part of the religious ceremonies whether it was the Novena of Guadalupe, Stations of the Cross, Día de San Pedro Procession, Las Posadas, Novena de la Santísima Cruz or Rosario de Las Animas.

At the age of 95 years, Mrs. Tomasita has retired from conducting religious practices as the Maestra de Resos but continues to be the lead source of historical information for the San Pedro House of Culture. Her great knowledge on the history of San Pedro has contributed to the printing of three publications by the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH). These publications include: El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro, The Life of Tomasa Novelo de Paz, Who is San Pedro? and The History of Tourism in San Pedro.

Mrs. Tomasita has been a member of The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal since 1952. She has instilled her values in her family, friends and her community. She is a strong root of the Catholic Religion and has kept the faith alive in our community.

San Pedro House of Culture