Hermana Fausta Labrador: “INA NG LUCENA”
BY KATHERINE ANN V. URSOLINO
WHERE I’M FROM, EVERYONE’S A HERO.
People from all over the world now hold Filipinos in high esteem, calling each one a hero in his own way. Thanks to Brillante Mendoza for his Cannes Film Festival Best Director Award, Manny Pacquiao for his seven world titles in boxing, and Efren Peñaflorida for his CNN Hero Award.
International recognition may still be far in the works, but locally, the Lucenahins may now see an addition to the renowned Tagalogs, Manuel L. Quezon and Hermano Pule, in the persona of HERMANA FAUSTA LABRADOR.
The Good Woman of Lucena
A research paper by Sr. Pilar Peñafort, D.C. A book by Monina Allarey. Newspaper and magazine articles by Maria Lourdes B. Abulencia. Much have really been said and written about Hermana Fausta Labrador, the beloved founder of Sacred Heart College in Lucena City.
All these written works, done with a lot of passion and reliable research, only tell people of one thing, that Lola Uta was “Good, good, good. Indeed, truly good.” That was how people of her time described her. They did not suffice with just saying “good”, but had to repeat the word three more times to really emphasize how good Hermana Fausta was to them.
Lola Uta, as Hermana Fausta was fondly called in her later life, also remained humble. Even when she already gained popularity from being the simple young woman who had started a school and owned a pharmacy and a hospital, Lola Uta still maintained humility and only did what she had to do – work for the service of others and for God.
For all the great things she has done, Hermana Fausta was pinned a medal of Condecoracion Papal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by the Catholic Church in 1936, which can be seen in her portrait by no less than the Fernando Amorsolo. In Maria Lourdes B. Abulencia’s “A Portrait of Hope by Fernando Amorsolo” published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Philippine Star on December 2008, she wrote “Amorsolo presents Hermana Fausta’s virtuous persona in a new light. Kind and simple. Humble and noble — deserving of honor and emulation. Hence, he has exalted her to a venerable seat.”
An Inspiring Film “Fausta”
With Amorsolo’s portrait of Hermana Fausta, and Sr. Pilar’s research on SHC’s founder, Necias Chaves Pataunia wrote the screenplay of “Fausta,” the movie which marked another milestone in the history of the school as well as the progressive city of Lucena.
“The film is a tribute to the profound message of Hermana Fausta’s admirable life of total devotion and sacrifice,” says Sr. Fe G. Gedalanga, D.C., president of the school who is at the helm of the movie project. “The time is ripe for her story to be told to bigger audiences of today. She is a much-needed role model especially for our youth.”
A collaboration of artists from Quezon Province, the sweat and blood of the young and future filmmakers from SHC, an outstanding product of the brilliant minds of people behind the scenes, “Fausta” is not only a biopic, but another creative way of telling the story of the old Lucena and Quezon which still called Tayabas then. Thanks to SHC alumnus Director Felino Tañada and the Over-all in Charge of Production Engr. Elda Aranilla, coordinator of SHC Speech and Science Laboratories.
From the premiere night at SM City Lucena Cinema last February and the in-campus film viewing during the College Days Celebration last August, the Vice President for Student Services and External Affairs Dr. Juanito A. Merle now brings the movie “Fausta” to elementary and high schools around the city and nearby towns, including University of Santa Isabel in Naga, reaching thousands of students, teachers and parents. More and more people are now becoming aware of the beginnings of the oldest Catholic school in the province which is almost simultaneous with the birth of the capital city of Quezon Province – that is Lucena City.
In the movie, Hermana Fausta is not only depicted as a woman leading a prayerful life, but also someone of strong will and principle. During the revolution in the Spanish era, she showed her faith and supported the Katipuneros by writing them a letter. Even the second World War in 1941 and the great conflagration in 1944 in Lucena City did not hinder Hermana Fausta from continuing her mission of helping people.
Witnessing to a Glorious Heritage
Part of the 125th Founding Anniversary of SHC is the production of a coffee table book to showcase the rich history and development of the school. This is another memento “Witnessing to a Glorious Heritage” of Sacred Heart College.
It is the History Committee of SHC, headed by the Vice President for Academics, Research, Christian and Vincetian Formation Dr. Josefina M. Parentela, which came up with the idea of publishing such legacy book. This legacy book in the works is filled with photos, shot and layout by Jean Kelvin Herrera, a talented senior Cordian, and the Art Director John Maranan, an alumnus of SHC and also dedicated personnel.
With the Editor Maria Lourdes B. Abulencia, the collection of work from the various writer contributors, who are teachers and Daughters of Charity sisters in SHC, will definitely give a vivid picture of how Hermana Fausta started from teaching catechism to children and eventually grew to the establishment of an escuela, which then became Academia del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, and now Sacred Heart College that offers academic programs and complete facilities – keeping up with the demands of the modern times yet nurturing its magnificent past.
From this coffee table book “Witnessing to a Glorious Heritage”, people will see how Hermana Fausta was and continues to be a “great light who will continue to guide all the generations of Lucena’s citizens”.
A City Ordinance for “Ina ng Lucena”
From the book The Good Woman of Lucena to the indie film “Fausta” to the coffee table book “Witnessing to a Glorious Heritage”, everything seem to have come into its own place and perspective, leading to another magnificent act – Lucena City Ordinance No. 2377 Series of 2009 entitled “An Ordinance Declaring Hermana Fausta Labrador y Zarzadias as One of the Local Heroes of Lucena City and shall be called “INA NG LUCENA.”
Initiated by the school through its President Sr. Fe G. Gedalanga, D.C. and with the help of its SHC alumnus and long time college professor Councilor Wilfredo Asilo, the City Ordinance No. 2377 was unanimously enacted by the 12 Councilors and Vice Mayor Philip M. Castillo on December 7 and approved by Mayor Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr. on December 14.
Before the approval of the city ordinance, a well attended public forum was held on December 4. The audience was able to know the life story of Hermana Fausta and her contributions to Lucena by watching the movie “Fausta” and by listening to the accounts of various resource speakers who have had personal encounters with Hermana Fausta, experiences as alumni or as parents of students in SHC, like Mr. Juanito T. Martinez who was the founder of SHC’s Parent Faculty Council in the college department, and knowledge on the history of Lucena.
A video of Dr. Cesar A. Villariba, a known historian of Lucena City and Quezon Province, was shown wherein he mentioned that among the famous and important women of Lucena, Hermana Fausta is truly a remarkable one. In addition, Dr. Rebecca V. de Ocampo, a former superintendent of Lucena City and Marinduque and now president of Girl Scouts of the Philippines-Quezon Council, expressed her belief that Hermana Fausta could be the model that youth of today is clamoring for. Then Purificacion Jawili, or Tita Puring, shared her fond memories of Hermana Fausta while she was still a young child. “Ang diwa ni Hermana Fausta… ang pagtulong sa kapwa ay dumadaloy” said Tita Puring recalling how “banal” Lola Uta was.
With all the statements attesting to life and works of Hermana Fausta, the principal author Councilor Asilo, together with the co-authors Councilor Felix F. Avillo and Councilor Clarinda S. Cabana, went for these additional provisions: December 19, being the date of birth, be celebrated in Lucena City as “Hermana Fausta Day” with its celebration spearheaded by the Alumni of Sacred Heart College; a monument in honor of Hermana Fausta be erected in a conspicuous place in the city with the help of the City Government which shall be financed by the administration of SHC; and the National Historical Commission be notified of the declaration through the ordinance.
Inspiring and historical, she truly holds a special place in the hearts of the students, the Cordians, and all the city people. Yes, that is Hermana Fausta, “Ina ng Lucena”, the hero.