Justice Leonor Ines Luciano speaks in one of the activities of the International Social Services-Philippines
Parishioners of New Manila in Quezon City on May 31 paid tribute to the late Justice Leonor Ines Luciano
, who chose, above all else, to be a “daughter of God.”
She knew where she stood, said Donnie Salvador, head of the board of the National Sandigan Foundation of the Philippines, which Luciano co-founded.
Luciano died on April 29 of heart failure just after Holy Week, during which she had attended a retreat and gone to Mass an hour later than her usual 6am service. She was 91 years old.
“Looking back, that should have alerted us that Mommy was becoming weak,” said Mabini Pablo, one of her three sons-in-law.
Her former parish priest, Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Infanta
, was there having brought her favorite type of rice cakes, and celebrated one of the Masses held in her tribute.
Tributes came from the many organizations led or influenced by Luciano as a legislator, justice of the Court of Appeals and before that, presiding judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for Quezon City, advocate for the rights of women and children, delegate and speaker at national and international meetings, columnist, professor, farmer, stalwart of rural improvement clubs and of the Red Cross, among others.
“My mother prayed incessantly at all hours,” recalled Jose Victor Luciano, the eldest of her two sons.
Justice Luciano, as she was best known to colleagues, staff and friends, was interred at the national shrine of Mt. Carmel on May 3 after the funeral Mass led by retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani.
She was president of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) from 1974 to 1976 and again from 1986 to 1988. She revitalized the organization, founded in 1919, which had once been viewed as “elitist and irrelevant,” by initiating leadership seminars promoting programs on human development.
Among her initiatives were the founding of the CWL’s Crisis Center for Women and Children, and to mark the International Year of the Child in 1979, revitalizing the Junior CWL to help girls and young women to become models of piety, humility, compassion and charity.
Among her many awards, Luciano cherished the Mother Teresa Award the most. The award, along with the Papal Cross conferred on her in 1975, were displayed at a tribute and photo exhibition staged by her colleagues at the House of Representatives also on May 31.
At her wake and funeral Mass, Missionaries of Charity nuns attended, as did sisters from Our Lady of Carmel who once hosted the offices and halfway house of International Social Services (ISS)-Philippines
until the organization moved to offices on land donated by the Philippine Red Cross.
Luciano helped establish ISS-Philippines together with colleagues such as Sister Flor Duran, O.L. Carmel, and Good Shepherd Sister Bernadette de Guzman, who heads her congregation’s Center for Overseas Workers.
Both nuns are on the board of ISS-Philippines, an organization caring for victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment as well as for expatriates in difficult situations; primary dependents of labor migrants; parents seeking custody over their children from foreign spouses; patients in need of urgent medical, financial and legal help; and people suffering from trauma and need of psycho-social assistance.