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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Leading Filipino Women: Fausta Labrador


Fausta Labrador
Helper of the Needy
(1858 - 1942)

            Fausta Labrador lived only to help other people. She did not want anything for herself. She taught the people of her province that anyone can help the needy if he or she was willing to serve others. The life of Fausta Labrador can be a good lesson to all of us


Fausta As A Child
        Fausta Labrador was born in Lucena, Quezon on December 19, 1858. Her father was Policarpio Labrador. Her mother, Nemesia Zarsadias, died when Fausta was very young.
       As a child Fausta always went to church to hear mass. After mass she stayed in the church for a long time. She was a thin and sickly child who often fell ill while studying.
       She studied in the Santa Rosa College when she was twenty years old. Afterwards she returned to Lucena. She was now very religious. When the priest saw that she went to church very often, he gave her some duties to perform. She opened the church very morning. She was also asked to toll the bell, to fix the candle lights, and take care of the church equipment.
       Fausta practiced what she prayed. She started a hospital for the poor. To get money for it, she went from house to house every day asking contributions.
      She helped other needy people. She comforted and advised unhappy wives left by their husbands. She asked husbands not to gamble and drink alcoholic drinks.
      In 1907, when Manuel L. Quezon was governor of the province, Fausta went to see him. She asked for permission to visit the prisoners at the provincial jail. “Why do you want to visit them?” asked Governor Quezon. “I would like to teach them how to pray,” she answered. “Fine! You can see them every day,” was the governor’s reply. Since then her name was often on the lips of many unfortunate people.


Hermana Fausta
       Fausta was always ready to call a priest to attend the dying or get a doctor for a sick person.
      She was affectionately called Hermana Fausta by the people of Lucena. They tell a story of how Hermana Fausta tried to call a doctor to attend a very sick person. The doctor was playing tennis and would not see a patient until his game was finished. When Hermana Uta called him, he asked, “Is he dying? Do I have to go to him right now?” Hermana Fausta answered, “If he is dying, what is the use of seeing him? You better not come at all.”
The doctor left his game and went with her at once.


A Rich Man Helps
       A rich Spaniard of Lucena learned about her work of helping people. This man, named Don Gregorio Merchan, gave Hermana Fausta and her sisters a house and a piece of land which she could use to help other people.
       Hermana Fausta turned this house into a school. She taught children and old people reading, writing, and counting. On Saturday she taught them religion. As payment for teaching them, she accepted only vegetables and fuel which were used in her school.
Later on she taught sacred history, good manners, grammar, and arithmetic. In 1912 she started teaching English.
       Her school was recognized by the government in 1912. It was given the name of Jesus Sacred Heart Academy. The pupils then paid fifty centavos a month. This school progressed from year to year until it included the intermediate grades and the high school.


Hermana Fausta Retires
      When Hermana Fausta reached the age of seventy-three she thought of retiring from work. But she wanted to be sure her school would be taken care of. So she asked the permission of the Bishop of Lucena to turn over the school to Sisters of Charity.
      Bishop Verzosa readily consented. He asked the help of some Sisters of Charity from Europe. They arrived and received the school from Hermana Fausta.
      The industrious and aged teacher now spent the rest of her days visiting the school. The children loved to watch for the visit of the kind, old lady in gray.
     When she died on September 14, 1942, the whole province of Tayabas (now the Quezon province) mourned. They had lost one of their greatest women. A part of Jesus Sacred Heart College has been named the Hermana Fausta Labrador Memorial Hall in honor of this great teacher.

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