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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Leading Filipino Women: Sister Asuncion Ventura

Sister Asuncion Ventura
Guardians of Orphans
(1853 – 1923)

          This is the story of Sister Asuncion Ventura. She built the Orphanage of San Vicente de Paul, a home for orphans. She devoted her life to helping the poor and the needy.

Cristina’s Youth
          Cristina was born on July 30, 1853 and was the fourth child of Honorio Ventura, a wealthy lawyer of Bacolor, Pampanga. He and his wife, Horcoma Cornelia Bautista, were deeply religious. It was but natural that Cristina should be a child that was quiet and very fond of praying.
         After Cristina entered La Concordia College, she told her parents about her wish to be a Sister of Charity. Her wealthy parents were against this wish.
         But her parents died soon afterwards. After their death, Cristina carried out her wish to be a Sister. She became a member of the Compania de Las Hijas de la Caridad. While she was waiting to become a Sister of Charity, she worked in a military hospital in Manila. She took on the name of Sister Asuncion when she was made a Sister of Charity in 1895.
        She now put into good use the money left by her parents. With the money, she built a home and school for orphans. It was called the Orphanage of San Vicente de Paul. This home was not only for orphans. It was also for children whose parents were very poor. All those admitted in the orphanage were given free food, clothes, shelter, and education up to the seventh grade.
        Sister Asuncion worked hard to make the orphanage a success. It was also known as the “Looban College.” One day the American Governor-General then, Cameron Forbes, visited it. He found Sister Asuncion in the kitchen preparing the food for the children.
        She told the governor about the needs of her orphanage. “We need more kitchen utensils and an ice box,” she said.
        “I will help your orphanage,” said Governor Forbes. “You are helping many poor people.” The governor kept his word. He asked the Philippine Legislature to pass a law giving some money to the orphanage. This was soon done.
        “The charitable acts of Sister Asuncion were many. Every month, she gave money to beggars. She helped people living far away, as those in China. She helped the Escuela Catolico de Paco, another school for poor children. She took care of her poor relatives and friends.
        She never rested in her work of mercy, and worked very hard even when she was already seventy years old.
       When she died on November 22, 1923, she left a will, or paper telling what should be done with her property. In her will she asked her niece, nephews, and other relatives to look after the orphanage. She wanted her work of helping the poor to be carried on after her death.

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