Sister Patricia Fox, expelled from the Philippines after 27 years as a missionary

Grouped by hundreds of followers, the Australian nun Patricia Fox said goodbye today to the Philippines in an act in her honor hours before having to leave the country she considers her home after 27 years working as a missionary.

"I feel sad, especially when I talk to all the people who have come to say goodbye to me and I realize that tomorrow I will not see them again," said Fox, 72, in that act farewell tribute at the Christian school Saint Joseph of Manila.

Fox assured that he does not "regret anything", that his "only crime has been defending human rights" and that he will return to the Philippines as soon as the mandate of President Rodrigo Duterte ends, who has not hidden that he did not want her in the country.

"Everything I have done is part of the teachings of the Church," said Fox, who has carried out much of his work in poor rural areas of the Philippine archipelago.

Hundreds of friends and supporters, went to the farewell hours before the nun travels to Australia tonight, after the Immigration Office on Wednesday denied the extension of the tourist visa.

This office withdrew her missionary visa last April for violating her conditions in her alleged "involvement in political activities" and ordered her deportation, a case that Fox appealed and that the Justice Department must fail.

On April 16, the nun was arrested by the immigration authorities after returning from a trip to the island of Mindanao to check on the ground the abuses that were taking place under martial law.

Fox, mother superior of the Catholic congregation of Notre Dame de Sion in the Philippines, was then accused of "violating the norms of her congregation by attending protests and participating in political activities."

When she ran out of resources to recover the missionary visa, Fox resorted to a tourist visa valid for 59 days, which expires just today.

After the farewell ceremony in Saint Joseph, a caravan of followers accompanied the sister to the Redemptorist Church of Baclaran, where a mass was celebrated in her honor and from where another caravan will escort her to the Ninoy Aquino airport in Manila.

Fox will leave the country on the Philippines Airlines flight to Melbourne at 9:10 p.m. (13:00 GMT) and his name will be included in a blacklist that will prevent him from returning to the Philippines.

"The faith that he proclaims is not harmful to the Filipinos, in fact, it is a source of hope and consolation for our suffering countrymen," spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference, Jerome Secillano, said in a statement on the "questionable" reasons for the deportation of Sister Fox.


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