Luis Faustino and the Jesuit Prison Ministry

Louie graduated in 1953 from the Ateneo with a LittB degree, major in Economics.   A classmate remembers him as an admirable person, very sharpand witty, humble and honest. Then he worked to earn an MBA. He was among the promising graduates that Philippine Manufacturing Co. (now Proctor and Gamble) hired as interns to train on the job.  PMC was a leading American firm with an excellent track record in training young graduates.

After a stint and on the job training with PMC he was hired to head as Country Manager of the S. C. Johnson company in Manila.  After holding this job  for many years, he opted to work in the head office of S. C. Johnson in Racine, Wisconsin.  One of his jobs was to interview MBA applicants.

When he retired about mid 2000 he and his family moved to Florida.  He wanted to serve those whom society had forgotten.  Forgotten even by their
relatives.  He discerned “who could these be”.  He realized that they were those in prison.  He had some experience in this when he was in California.
He had no formal training in this work.  So he started by visiting them and talking to them to find out what they needed.  They would be his
teachers.  He provided them with what he could.  They asked for food, stationary, medicine, and other simple things that we take for granted.  These
were their felt needs.  He gave what they needed most, someone who loved them and joyously gave his time for them.  They experienced the love of
Jesus.  He was the visibility of Jesus.  He felt consolation in doing this and he wanted others to experience that too.  Jesus gave him on earth a
foretaste of the reward for those who visited him when he was in prison.  “I was in prison and you visited me.”  His calling card read “Serving Christ
the prisoner”

So he recruited others, offered them some formation, trying to imbue them with the spirit of charity.  He was successful.  After a while, the bishop
of the diocese of Venice, Florida, where he lived, learned about his work and asked him to organize a diocesan prison ministry.  His background
prepared him for this.  Now with people with a variety of gifts, he could serve the many needs of prisoners.  He has served in this capacity for
several years.  At the same time he has his pulse on the progress of the prison ministry in the Philippines.*

For a birthday gift, two of his daughters contributed to the Philippine Jesuit Prison Ministry by donating to the Philippine Jesuit Foundation in the New York.  He is trying to include the PJPM in his estate planning.  His children do not begrudge him that.  They know this combines the three things closest to his heart:  the Philippines, the Jesuits, and Prisoners.  No
greater inheritance could they get than exemplary parents.

“Gather the fragments.”  Jesus told the Twelve after he had fed the multitudes.  Rudy Fernandez in his homily in the Jesuit Residence chapel said that the Japanese have a saying, “Fortune is in the fragments.” This means “waste not, want not”.  This can also be understood in a spiritual sense. The years after retirement may appear to be just the fragments after the full meal, but they can be the better part.  Louie has found this out.  No wonder his zeal to have others experience the same.  At the wedding feast
in Cana, after Jesus had made the water into wine, the steward told the groom, “You have saved the best for the last.”*

How we gather the fragments differs for each one of us.  It may mean being totally helpless but we put ourselves totally in his control.


About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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