Sr. Pat: ‘The Church is meant to be with the people’

Sr. Pat: ‘The Church is meant to be with the people’

The Association of the Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) organizes a solidarity Mass for Sr. Patricia Fox at the St. Anthony Shrine in Sampaloc, Manila, April 27, 2018. ANTONIO ANDALUZ

By Br. John Francis Aberion, RCJ

April 30, 2018

SAMPALOC, MANILA

Speaking on the role of the “Church of the Poor” after a solidarity Mass held in her honor, Sr. Patricia Fox said the Catholic Church’s role is largely about presence.

“The Church is not just meant to present catechism and teaching doctrine, but also being meant [to be] with the people, suffering with the people, and [caring] for communities,” said the 71-year old Australian religious sister whose detention and pending deportation by the Bureau of Immigration has recently gained considerable media attention.

Fox said the Church’s work is about “learning with the people, and on how people see their lives, desires, sorrows, inspirations, and that is what I have been trying to know.”

Standing with justice

She began recalling her past experiences with the Filipino people, listening and acting to address their needs. “The Church stands with justice,” Fox said.

According to her, the work and service of responding to people’s plights is the way to live out “the work of the Kingdom of God,” more commonly known as the social doctrine of the Church. “That was my ministry,” she added.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Sion missionary implied that her work with farmers and indigenous peoples is inseparable from her faith.

The mission of a Christian

“[My missionary work] is my mission as Christian,” she said.

The religious sister also recalled how she was brought in for questioning by the Bureau of Immigration. She also expressed hopes that her case will be given due process.

The Bureau of Immigration recently revoked her missionary visa, ordering her to leave the country in 30 days. Fox maintains her innocence, claiming that she did not do anything illegal. According to her, she merely carried out her mission to “serve the Filipino people.”

Fr. Angel Cortez, OFM, AMRSP’s co-executive secretary, thanked all those present, on behalf of the AMRSP. He praised the Australian missionary, saying: “I saw the face of a nun happy with all the years she served the Filipino people.”

Cortez then exhorted all present in Filipino, saying: “We all know this is just the beginning. The truth is being challenged. We have nothing else to do but unite and give of ourselves. Let us crush negative news. Hand in hand let us help [others].”