The Rev. Adoracion Jose Villanueva, better known as “Sister Dory,” the matriarch of an influential family in the Philippines, has gone to be with the Lord. Sister Dory, along with her husband, Brother Eddie Villanueva, founded Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide (JIL) in 1978.
“My mom fought the good fight of faith,” Senator Joel Villanueva wrote in a Facebook tribute to his mother.
The senator shared in an Instagram post on March 8th that his mother had been admitted to the hospital. On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, Sister Dory passed away. In a Facebook announcement, JIL wrote that Sister Dory succumbed to “fatal arrhythmia secondary to septic shock.”
Jesus Is Lord Church: Sister Dory Was Model of Faith
At a tribute service for the late matriarch, friends, church and family members spoke to her faithfulness to God and generosity toward those she knew. The church tribute to Sister Dory called her “a spiritual mother, a competent teacher, a prayer warrior, and a model of faith.”
In 2017, Rappler reported JIL has 5 million members in 60 countries. Jesus Is Lord Church calls itself a full-gospel church. Sister Dory and Brother Eddie built the church from a Bible study originally consisting of 15 university students. Most of the church’s locations outside the Philippines minister to Filipinos working and living abroad.
Many in attendance at the funeral donned face masks due to the potential threat of a coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines.
The Villanueva Family and Politics
Sister Dory and Brother Eddie met in Bulacan province in the 1970s. At the time, Brother Eddie was a communist and an atheist. Brother Eddie is from Bocaue, a town located 17 miles northeast of Manila, and he held the position of mayor of Bocaue from 2001-2004. He also ran for president of the Philippines in 2004 and 2010. Currently, Brother Eddie is a the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. His remarks on LGBTQ rights recently made headlines as he defended religious freedom from the house floor.
Brother Eddie and Sister Dory have four children, each notable in their own right. Their eldest son, Eduardo “Jon-Jon” Villaneuva, is the former mayor of Bocaue. Their daughter, Eleanor “Joni” Villanueva-Tunga is the current mayor of Bocaue. Their son Joel is also a senator in the House of Representatives. The couple’s daughter, Jovi Villanueva-Binalla is an educator.
Sister Dory held a doctorate degree in Christian Theology from Promise Christian University in California. She was a teacher for several years and directed JIL’s Colleges Foundation. She was 73 years old.