Sister Fox weeps: Lumad, workers give me life
In the face of an expulsion order by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Sister Patricia Fox said she weeps for the oppressed workers and indigenous peoples she has been fighting for, those who have been giving her life.
The 71-year old Australian nun, in a press conference on Thursday, extolled the persistence of the marginalized sector in fighting for their rights as she defended the missionary work she has done in the Philippines.
“What I’ve always admired is that they keep struggling, because they know, eventually, they will win their rights, their land, justice, decent wage, housing. That’s what makes me happy, that they keep going,” the embattled missionary lamented.
Turning emotional, Sister Fox said: “What makes me sad is the thought that I may have to leave them.”
“I sometimes cry because when people like them—the lumads, the workers—it’s these people giving me life, it’s these people who have been supportive of me,” Sister Fox lamented.
“They turn up in the streets, they turn up in press conferences, they turn up having programs for me. That’s why I’m very emotional. I’ve come to love them so much,” she said.
Sister Fox said she could not help but think: “If this is happening to me, how much more to the people in Mindanao that I talk to?”
“The workers, the families of those being killed, the people who’ve faced false charges, lumads who evacuated, these are the people who need to get out of these situations because they’re not being treated with dignity as people,” Sister Fox stressed.
“We do what we can to try and challenge what’s going on,” she said. “Lots of churches have been supporting me, saying that a missionary has to defend the dignity of the people.”
As a missionary who has lived in the Philippines for more than 27 years, Sister Fox said that was what she has been trying to do.
“If dignity is being challenged through an unjust system, you have to be with the people while they are trying to gain justice. That’s what I’ve been trying to do,” Sister Fox pointed out.
“I’ve always been quiet about it, but I believe that’s where church people should be, with the people who are struggling for their rights,” she said.
Sister Fox was given by the BI until Friday, May 25, to leave the country after her missionary visa was cancelled for alleged participation in partisan activities.
But the embattled Australian missionary said that she intends to take her case before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the hopes of getting the bureau to reverse its expulsion order.
“I’m staying.” /je
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