Why Sister Patricia Fox doesn’t want to leave the Philippines

May 24, 2018 - 5:49 PM

Sister Patricia Fox, the Australian missionary and rights worker who was ordered out of the country by immigration authorities says she will fight for her right to stay on Philippine soil.

Some of the groups backing her have shared stories from her two-decade stay in the country.

At home in the Philippines

A number of rights groups that worked with Fox in the past have circulated a video of an interview with the Australian nun where she recounts how she ended up working in the Philippines.

In the eight-minute video, she discusses how church social teaching impelled her to work with farmers and laborers.

According to Fox, Catholic teaching decreed the building of economic justice for all sectors.

“Is it political? I say, it is political but it isn’t partisan political,” said Fox while discussing the “political” nature of her missionary work.

“You have to be christianizing economics, politics, the whole of a person’s life,” she added in the video.

Fox recounted how being in a Filipino solidarity group in her native Australia was what led her to travel to the country. When it was decided that a contingency group was to be sent for immersion in the Philippines, she decided to volunteer.

She claims to admire the resilience of Filipinos and enjoy the company of the various groups she worked with.

Her supporters have also shared stories of her work.

Even some politicians have expressed support for her.

Sen. Nancy Binay, who is identified with the administration, recently posted pictures of a meeting of Fox. In her tweet, she praises Fox for choosing to serve the marginalized.

Fox was detained by the Bureau of Immigration in April 2018 after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a probe on her based on suspected disorderly conduct.

Duterte claimed Fox had a “foul mouth” and that she had no right to criticize him.

The church and the poor

Fox is the superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion in the Philippines. According to the congregation’s website, part of its advocacy is strong ties with the Jewish community.

In her interview, Fox discusses how the biblical Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, exemplified the message of compassion amid persecution Fox hoped to spread.

Socioeconomic justice has been decreed in a number of papal encyclicals.

Pope Paul VI in 1967 released his Populorum Progresiowhich criticized the imbalanced economic growth and development at the time.

Pope John Paul II later in 1981 released the Laborem Exercens or “On Human Work.” In the lauded encyclical, the late pope stressed the importance of labor over capital.

The current head of the church, Pope Francis has also been noted for his frequent show of solidarity with the working class of the world.

During a speech in front of Italian steel workers in May 2017, the Pope denounced the practice of meritocracy in the workplace, claiming it gave a “moral cloak to inequality in the world of new capitalism. — Video by Uela Badayos