Sr. Patricia Fox does not want to remain idle while waiting for the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on her petition to reverse the deportation order for her issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BI). She continues to speak in gatherings of church people urging them to continue its progressive tradition of engagement in people’s issues including the advocacy for a genuine agrarian reform.
Sr. Pat has been a long-time advocate of peasants’ rights and presently works with the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) as a volunteer. She also looks back on the support of two known Filipino church leaders who took her under their care in her early years in the Philippines. The late Sr. Christine Tan, the first Filipino to head the Philippine province of the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) allowed her to stay for free in the RGS compound in Cubao, Quezon City when she first arrived in the country in 1991.
Bishop Julio Xavier Labayen who passed away in 2016 also made her a member of the Justice and Peace Action Group of the Prelature of Infantan from 1995 to 2000. Both Sr. Christine Tan and Bp. Julio Labayen championed the social teachings of the church and propagated a strong Church presence in the life of the poorest of the poor. Sr. Christine Tan lived among the urban poor of Leveriza in Pasay City for more than 26 years while Bp. Julio Labayen was a staunch supporter of organizations of farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples in Quezon Province.
Sr. Pat believes that the lives of both Bp. Labayen and Sr. Tan are good examples for today’s church people. “Church people including its leaders should always support and enable the community response, the people’s response. Individuals can only do so much. But with the people’s response, we are able to change people’s mindset and rally them to act rather than to remain passive,” Sr. Pat said.#