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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

In memory of a former APAC President.

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Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation,
273 Santolan Road,
San Juan, Metro Manila,
Philippines.

The members of APAC join the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation in commemorating the life and death of Sr Leontina Castillo OSA in late March 2015; she was APAC President in 1984-1987. The following material was kindly supplied to the APAC website by the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation. To see a full list of APAC Presidents since the year 1977, click here.

A Tribute to Mother Leonie (Sr. Leontina Castillo, OSA)  

A life dedicated for service and love, a true witness to the mission of Christ and the church to serve the people especially the poor--Mother Leonie witnessed the living faith through her humble and enduring service to the cooperative movement.  She blazed the trail for the youth involvement in the cooperatives by pioneering the organization of the Laboratory Cooperatives for the Augustinian schools in 1975.  She always believes in the potential of young people and the need for them to be exposed in the cooperative system early in life.  Her passion and vision prompted her to establish Cooperatives Education and Development Center (CEDC), a secondary federation that organizes, monitors, evaluates, and helps sustain Laboratory Cooperatives and Credit Union in schools and in the communities.  Her love to nurture young minds inspired her to write three cooperative textbooks for high school, Basic Cooperative for 1st Year High School, Credit Union for 2nd Year, and Consumer Cooperatives for 3rd Year. 

She also published the Simplified Bookkeeping text book for 4th year, edited by her equally driven and dedicated staff of 27 years at CEDC, Daisybelle Cabal, now the Education, Training, and Consultancy Group Head of NATCCO.   She is an advocate of life-long learning.  As an educator without prior knowledge on the cooperative system, she looked for a scholarship to study in Canada at Coady International Institute in 1972.  She strengthened her cooperative knowledge by proceeding to University of Wisconsin to study for two more years as a scholar.  Upon returning to the Philippines in 1975, she hit the ground running by organizing the credit unions for teachers and employees of the Augustinian schools all over the country as well as the organization of the Laboratory Cooperative for Savings (LCFS) for students. To bring the Coady standard closer to the Filipino cooperators, she formed Coady Philippines—a group that developed excellent development leaders in the cooperative and NGO sectors.    

When NATCCO took on the Transformation Journey, Mother Leonie decided to merge CEDC with NATCCO in 2007.  It was a painful road for her to tread, but she took it anyway with a belief that true cooperation and unity can only be achieved if the federations will think, feel, and act as one.  She believes that the collective wisdom, resources, and expertise of the federations will help more cooperatives and members.  In a heavily fragmented sector, Mother Leonie epitomized the qualities of a servant leader, and embraced the transformation journey for a higher goal. 

Her love for the poor is actualized by her projects to sustainably empower poor communities.  She started it in 1969 when she introduced cooperatives in the folk schools in Bacolod City. Several decades later, she organized the informal settlers in Molino, Bacoor, Cavite, amid discouragements and difficulties because she believes that even the poor and the uneducated, if given a chance, can make a positive difference in their own lives and in the community.  Today, Bagong Silang 2 Multi-Purpose cooperative is one the strongest cooperatives in Cavite with more than 7,300 members and almost P100 million in assets. 

When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, she saw the need to organize a cooperative for the evacuees so that they will have a sustainable partner for rehabilitation and development.  Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Pinatubo victims from Brgy. Yamut, are now the owners of the biggest cooperative in Zambales, Mother Rita Multi-Purpose Cooperative.  Mother Leonie always sees things in the eyes of faith.  When the burden gets unbearable, she reminds herself that she is doing God’s work, and following Christ is both a painful and joyful journey.  

As an octogenarian, her mind is still lucid, and creative ideas still freely flow. Above all, the grit is still there—that fire from within to help people and communities through the cooperative system.  But pneumonia and its complications took a toll on her frail health and body.  She finally met our Savior at 1:00 pm on March 23.   As we remember her life, we remember it with gratefulness, pride, and love.  She lived fully as a servant leader of the Augustinian Sisters of our Lady of Consolation, leading the congregation in the path of living faith and love as a superior general for eleven years.  She loved and served the Lord and the people fully as a genuine cooperator for fifty years.  We, at NATCCO, will be forever grateful for her legacy.

Obituary of Mother Leontina Castillo, OSA
(Superior General: 1981-1985; 1986-1991) 

Mother Leontina Castillo’s Leadership term could be associated with the new social apostolates on Social/Special Ministries (SOSPEMIN) of ASOLC — one such was formation and the promotion of cooperatives, a form of education geared towards living of Christian values like thriftiness,  savings, responsibility and accountability.

Her Leadership term responded to the apostolic needs of the locale both for the evangelization of school constituents as well as for the upliftment of the poor and needy in other ministries. Thus, the start of living amidst the poor in squatter areas, involvement of the Sisters in the Major Superiors’ emerging mission like Rural and Urban Missionaries, Education Forum, Task Force Detainees, Women’s Desk, etc. Schools had started having Extension Services to the poor thru its Mother Rita Outreach Programs. Some Sisters got involved in prophetic mission of helping active priests, Sisters and lay activists wanted by the military during Marcos regime. Some Sisters, after Orientation and prayer time were allowed to join rallies and other courageous undertakings requested by the Church during those trying times. The following foundations were established: La Consolacion College, Sto. Tomas, Biñan, Laguna (1985); Mo. Consuelo Ladies Dormitory, Motherhouse Compound (1989), Tahanan Sta. Monica, Tagaytay (1991); La Consolacion Formation Center, Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental (1991); Negros Occidental Rural Development Foundation Inc.(NORD-F), Bago City, Negros Occidental (1991), Mother Rita Barceló Ladies Dormitory, Sampaloc, Manila (1991).

Because of the rise in the number of overseas contract workers, the Leadership saw the need for the continuation of presence and service in foreign missions. The ASOLC deepened its missionary spirit by being good shepherds to the migrant workers in mission areas like the Foreign Mission House in Chutung, Taiwan, R.O.C.(1981); Asian Rural Institute(ARI), Japan (1987-2006); Center in Holy Cross Church, Chingchuan, Wufing Hsiang, Taiwan, R.O.C. (1988); San Min Catholic Church, Taiwan, R.O.C. (1989); Migrant Center at Asilo-Nido at Via Aurelio Saffi, Turin, Italy (1990-2004).

Introduction to the Funeral Mass of Mother Leontina Castillo OSA  

By Sr Ma. Luz. F. Mijares, OSA.

Generosa Platon Castillo (the future Sor Leontina Castillo, OSA) was the 3rd among 5 children of the late Pio Castillo and Crispina Platon. She was born on April 29, 1934 in Tanauan, Batangas.

She completed her Elementary Education at the Tanauan Elementary School, her Secondary Education at Our Lady of Fatima Academy (OLFA) now La Consolacion College, Tanauan. For her College Education, she completed an Elementary Teachers Certificate; at OLFA and her Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) at LCC Manila.

She was a Postulant of the Augustinian Sisters in 1960, some 3 years after completing her BSE and was given the name Sor Leontina. After her Novitiate, she had her 1st profession of vows in 1963.

(Caption for photo above): Consolation Sisters have ministered in Indonesia within the Diocese of Larantuka since the year 2011. The above image was taken in 2014 shows two ASOLC Sisters travelling to Solor Island for a monthly visit that combines aspects of social work with local women and children, and also a ministerial role. 

 

Her apostolic life saw to her involvements as High School Principal of LCC Bacolod in 1963 till and as Coordinator (local superior) and President of LCC Bacolod till 1972.

Mother Leone (as we fondly call her) had special trainings in Social Development at the Coady International Institute, Canada in 1972 and in Cooperative Education and Management in Wisconsin University in USA.

Her passion is Cooperatives as testified to by our friends in Brgy. Molino, Bacoor, Cavite and Cooperative Education and Development Center (CEDC) and National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO). She has been called to challenging apostolate in schools but the greatest of all has been her passion of sharing the love of God in her own heart – the gift of Cooperatives to our people.

On a personal note, indeed, she was whole of heart, intense in relationships with her family, with our sisters in committees, and with all levels of people she worked with - Simple people and intellectuals were drawn to her. She was so great of heart. She was deeply good.

She was determined but always with certain gentility. Her passion, dedication, humanity were infections in the best sense. Dedicated and loyal, caring and pragmatic, peppered with practicality. All these human traits we witnessed as ASOLC in 1980-1990 – her 2 terms as Superior General of our Congregation.

On March 23, 2015 – Mother Leontina, peacefully slipped away from us. She welcomed the One to whom she belonged entirely and completely. He, who directed her every step in fidelity, bid her to follow Him in glory throughout all eternity. Perhaps she would like me now to say these words to her family and to us, too ASOLC Sisters, especially Sisters at Bahay Consuelo – these would be those same words of Jesus to His followers – “You know the way to the place where I am going…I shall return to take you with me, so that where I am, you may be, too.”

With Mother Rita and Mother Consuelo Barceló y Pagés, OSA, our Foundresses and Mo. Teresa Andrada, our Co-Foundress and with all our Sisters who have gone before us, this is indeed our wish and prayer for you, dear Mother Leonie – May your memory be a blessing for all. Thank you for your great witness to us of a life fully lived in your gentle, genuine spirit. Thank you. Dear Mo. Leonie for all you taught us.

Like a seed that falls to the ground and produces fruit a hundredfold, Mother Leontina Castillo, OSA a unique friend. ‘True Augustinian sister of Our Lady of Consolation, spent eighty-one years of her life bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God.

May Sr Leontina rest in peace.

ID130

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