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FSP Pioneer dies at 98

PASAY CITY, Philippines: One of the four pioneers of the Daughters of St Paul house in North
Borneo (now Sabah) has returned home to the Father recently, a few days short of her 99 th

Born in Marinduque Philippines on 13 July 1923, Anacleta Labay entered the Daughters of St
Paul in Lipa City in 1947; she took her first vows in 1951, taking the name of Sister Maria
Assunta, and made her perpetual profession in 1956. In 1961, she was assigned as one of
the four sisters (the other three being Srs Elisabetta Capello, Eulalia Bravo and Virginia
Maria Guevarra) to open a house in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) in response to the
invitation of Bishop James Buis in 1958.

The sisters, who had brought with them many books in English from the Philippines,
immediately began the diffusion apostolate, overcoming the many problems encountered,
especially in the villages, due to the variety of local languages and the scarcity of means of
communication. The sisters visited Catholics and non-Catholics alike in the remote villages
of Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, and their tenacity and zeal bore good fruit, especially in
terms of vocations. Currently, there are fifteen professed Malaysian Daughters of St Paul
with eleven of them coming from Sabah, two from Sarawak and two from Perak; one
novice, one postulant, two aspirants.

Sr Assunta returned to the Philippines for good in 1970 and carried out the Pauline mission
in various places. In 2008, she was transferred to Pasay City to work in the bookbinding
department. A truly tireless apostle, she was blessed with good health for many years, her
sole concern was to make her whole life a gift to God. However, in 2018, her health began
to deteriorate and she was moved to the infirmary wing of the community so as to be able
to follow a pace of life compatible with her declining physical condition. In 2020, she was
diagnosed as suffering from a heart blockage. On the night of 2 July 2022, she suffered a
serious heart attack, which led to her encounter with the Lord. – Sr. Anna yap,fsp

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