Sister Mary Battung, real-life ‘Sister Stella L.’, dies at 78

November 26, 2021 - 2:29 PM
Religious of the Good Shepherd Sr. Mary Rosario “Chayong” Battung. (Photo from RGS via CBCP News)

Religious of the Good Shepherd Sr. Mary Rosario “Chayong” Battung, the nun who was the inspiration of the 1984 film “Sister Stella L.” passed away on Thursday. She was 78.

The RGS announced that Sr. Battung peacefully passed away at Maria Droste Wellness Center in Quezon City.

During her 53 years of religious life, she served “the urban and rural poor, the neglected, and those who have been deprived of their basic human rights,” the congregation said in a statement.

“In popular culture, the 1984 film ‘Sr. Stella L.’ was based on her life but she herself would say the film is about activist nuns in general,” the statement added.

Battung worked with labor unions in Cavite and reached out to the poor in Tondo.

Born in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, she entered the RGS novitiate in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Battung also took part in the development of “hingalangin,” directly translated to breath-prayer, a form of prayer that focuses the mind on the Holy Spirit while leaving behind the daily concerns.

A private wake will be held at the Good Shepherd Convent in Quezon City. The Mass of the Resurrection will be on Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. followed by the inurnment at the Good Shepherd Columbary.