The 72-year-old missionary was expelled on charges of participating in political rallies. Sister Patricia greeted the Philippines urging the faithful, especially Church leaders, to take courageous initiatives to denounce injustice. Addressing, President Duterte, who had ordered the investigation against her: "Listen to the poor, not just the military; listen to the poor of the cities, the peasants, the workers, the natives; listen to them and act for them, not just for the rich ".
Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After a long legal battle, the Australian missionary Sister Patricia Anne Fox (photo) has been forced to leave the Philippines and return to her country of origin. Since April, the 72-year-old superior of the Religious of Our Lady of Sion had opposed repeated attempts by officials of the Immigration Office (BI) to expel her, on the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte. During the proceedings, the missionary visa of the nun expired; the temporary tourist visa that had been delivered to her expired two days ago.
Following an inquiry requested by the president, last April the head of BI Jaime Morente had informed the nun of the order to leave the country within 30 days. The previous week, the nun was arrested and released after a day, accused of "having participated in anti-government demonstrations". In the country for 27 years, Sister Patricia has worked among farmers and indigenous peoples. Recently, the religious took part in an international investigation and solidarity mission investigating alleged violations of rights against peasants and Lumad tribes, on the southern island of Mindanao. The authorities accuse the nun of taking part in political gatherings in the cities of Davao and Tagum.
Sister Patricia bid farewell to the Philippines urging the faithful, especially Church leaders, to take courageous initiatives to denounce injustice. The religious spent her last day in Manila taking part in a mass and service activities for the poor and the marginalized. At a farewell press conference at the St. Joseph's College in Quezon City, before leaving for the Manila airport, she said: "Pope Francis said you cannot call yourself a Christian if, faced with serious human rights violations, you stand by in silence ... you have to act, make noise! Where the oppressed are, that's where church people should be. The Church's mission is serve others. Words are not enough ".
Shortly after landing in her hometown of Melbourne, Sister Patricia told reporters: "At the moment, in the Philippines, human rights violations are increasing and a regime of tyranny is underway. For a long time there has been a culture of impunity, which is now getting worse ". A few hours before, the nun had given some advice to Duterte: "Listen to the poor, not just the military; listen to the poor of the cities, the peasants, the workers, the natives; listen to them and act for them, not just for the rich ".