Good Shepherd nun behind famous ube jam dies at 102

Sr. Fidelis Atienza | Photo courtesy of the Religous
of the Good Shepherd

SISTER Fidelis Atienza, the Filipina nun behind Baguio City’s famous Good Shepherd ube jam, has passed away at the age of 102.

In a Facebook post, the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) confirmed that Atienza died on Saturday, March 20, at the Good Shepherd Community in Quezon City “after 66 years in religious life.”

“She never considered herself ill or infirmed. Her hands were never weary, as she was still helping turn plastics into eco-bricks until her shoulders ached from too much pushing of plastic into the plastic bottles,” the RGS noted.

In 1951, Atienza entered the Novitiate of the Good Shepherd in Los Angeles, California. She made her first profession in 1954, and her final profession in 1957.

Atienza established the Marian Bakery in the 1960s and made use of host cuttings for the delicious “crispies,” the forerunner of the angel cookies of today.

According to the RGS, Atienza started making the beloved Good Shepherd ube jam during her assignment in Baguio City.

“She was the original mastermind behind the ube jam, enabling the congregation to send thousands of youths to school,” it added.

The Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio City, known for its ube jam, says farmers are having a hard time growing the purple yam, forcing them to make use of white yams. | Philstar.com photo

Aside from Baguio, Atienza’s various ministries included dozens of community apostolates in Cebu, Quezon City, Manila, Hong Kong, France, Rome, and Tagaytay.

In 2019, she was transferred to the Good Shepherd Community in Quezon City where she dedicated “each moment of her day praying for the needs of the Church and the Congregation.”

“She would ask her caregivers to bring her to the oratory every day, spending most of her hours in quiet communion with the Good Shepherd whom she adored all her life,” the RGS said.

“The children in the compound were very fond of their oldest playmate; she was a delight and a source of joy to everyone whom she met,” it added.

Atienza’s remains are at the chapel of Good Shepherd Convent on Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City, but the wake and services will be private. Inurnment will be at Good Shepherd Columbary in Quezon City, to be announced on a later date.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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