Philippine Catholic nun given ROC citizenship

Taipei--Catholic nun O Anuna from the Philippines, who has devoted almost half of her life to taking care of children with disabilities in Taiwan, officially became a Republic of China (Taiwan) citizen Friday.

"I'm the most joyful when being with the children and I'm happy to be able to stay in Taiwan forever," the 58-year-old sister said after receiving her ROC identification card from Chiayi County Magistrate Chang Hwa-kuan.

Despite the challenges involved in taking care of children with disabilities over the past 27 years, Anuna said she has really enjoyed the process, and that her decision to become a naturalized ROC citizen has also gained the support of her family.

The fact that she was given a ROC identification card symbolizes that her love for the children is being appreciated, she said.

Born in 1959 in the Philippines, Anuna first came to Taiwan in 1990 to serve at Sacred Heart Home, a Catholic charitable organization located in Chiayi County's Dongshih Township that is dedicated to caring for individuals with moderate or severe multiple disabilities.

In 2014, she was transfered to Francis Home in Puzi City, which provides similar services.

Chang said although Anuna is only 143 centimeters tall, her devotion to the disabled children has been gigantic.

"From age 31 to 58, she has dedicated all her youth to children with disabilities," Chang said.

Deputy Interior Minister Chiu Chang-yueh, who also attended the ceremony, said that besides serving at Francis Home, Anuna has spent her spare time helping foreign spouses in Chiayi's coastal areas adapt to life in Taiwan.

"Her indomitable attitude and spirit to serve the disadvantaged deserves our admiration," Chiu said.

Anuna is the first foreign missionary in Chiayi to be naturalized as an ROC citizen since the Nationality Act was amended in late 2016 to allow foreign nationals with special contributions to Taiwan to obtain ROC citizenship without having to renounce their original citizenships.

Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council