By Christina Hermoso
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has expressed concern on the recent detention of an Australian Catholic missionary nun, Sr. Patricia Fox of Notre Dame de Sion (NDS) Congregation, by the Bureau of Immigration.
She has since been released.
In an official statement, CBCP president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles said, the CBCP is gathering information on the case of Sr. Pat.
“I have requested the secretary general of the CBCP to get more information from the sister’s community in Quezon City, from the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), and from the Episcopal Commission on Mutual Relations between Bishops and Religious (ECMR). I presume and hope she was treated well, that there was nothing irregular about the procedure done in her detention, and that her rights under our laws are respected,” Valles said in a CBCP News post.
“We will continue to pray for her, as I am sure, we did as soon as we heard of the news,” the Church leader added. Valles assured the 71-year-old nun of the CBCP’s support and assistance.
“The CBCP would like to assure Sister Patricia Fox and her community that the CBCP is willing to extend any assistance and support we are able to give her and her community with regard to the situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fox’s confrere in Rome, Italy, has appealed to the Philippine government to spare her from possible deportation “for helping those in need at the peripheries of society. We ask the government of the Philippines to allow Sr. Pat and other fellow church people to continue their missionary work in the Philippines,” said Sr. Mary Babic, NDS superior general.
“We believe that Sr. Pat and other religious and church people like her are a blessing and are blessed to be able to work with and be among the Filipino people,” Babic said.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Sion in Australia have condemned the arrest and detention of Fox “without due process and respect for her fundamental rights.”