The Spanish and Catalan surname Molina is an habitational name from any of numerous places named Molina, in particular the one in Guadalajara province. The name is first recorded in Spanish documents dating to the 12th Century. The name is first recorded in the New World in the 16th Century when Martin de Molina is recorded as sailing to the Americas in 1527. A notable bearer of the name was Blessed Mercedes de Jesús Molina (1828 - 1883) from Baba, Ecuador. She was a missionary who devoted her life to the care of abandoned children and founded the order of the Sisters of Mariana de Jesús. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 1 February 1985.
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