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Good Shepherd nun behind ube jam dies at 102

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
Good Shepherd nun behind ube jam dies at 102
Sister Fidelis Atienza, who died on Saturday, is credited with creating Good Shepherd’s popular ube jam.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The 102-year-old nun behind the famous ube (purple yam) jam, among other goodies being sold by the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) community that became synonymous with Baguio City, died last Saturday.

CBCPNews, the official news service provider of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, reported that Good Shepherd Sr. Fidelis Atienza died last March 20.

Atienza started the Marian Bakery in the 1960s and made use of host cuttings for the “crispies,” forerunner of what is known today as “angel cookies.” By 1976, she introduced the ube jam, now one of the convent’s best sellers.

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

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

Sister Fidelis spent most of her years in Maryridge in Tagaytay, accompanying in prayer and counseling the thousands of people who come to the retreat house. And, just a few months after her 100th birthday in 2020, she was transferred to the Good Shepherd Community in Quezon City.

“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 day in and day out, 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,” they added.

Even in her last years, Sr. Fidelis never considered herself ill or infirm, her congregation noted. “Her hands were never weary, she would be seen cutting and collecting plastic wastes and turning them into eco-bricks until her shoulders ached from using scissors.”

Her cremains will be at the chapel of Good Shepherd Convent along Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City, but wake and services will be private. Inurnment at Good Shepherd Columbary, also in Quezon City, is to be announced later

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