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Roman Catholic nun O Anuna from the Philippines, who has devoted herself unconditionally to taking care of children with disabilities in Chiayi, Taiwan, for 27 years, was officially granted Taiwanese citizenship on Friday in recognition of her sincere and selfless contributions.
Invited by Father Franz Burkhardt, the Filipino woman came to Taiwan at the age of 31 and served at Sacred Heart Home – a Catholic charitable organization in Chiayi that is dedicated to caring for individuals with moderate to severe multiple disabilities – between 1990 and 2014, The Liberty Times reported.
In 2014, she was transferred to Francis Home, which provides similar services.
On many occasions, Anuna and the children were misunderstood by the public, but she nonetheless remained calm and apologized even if they were faultless.
During the early years of her service, for instance, Anuna often had to rush children who had suddenly fallen ill to hospital by driving late at night. One day she was sharply criticized by an elderly woman for wasting the country’s resources, as the critic had mistaken the nun for a mother who had given birth to two children with disabilities.
Anuna smiled at the old lady and proudly assured her that she was taking care of 90 disadvantaged boys and girls.
Her sacrifice and contributions eventually won public support, though her work got off to a rough start. Once she encountered an impatient man in a clinic who angrily shouted at her for keeping the queue long as she was making multiple medical appointments. To her surprise, the consultation and medical fees for the six children she was caring for were settled by the man, who felt ashamed of his behavior after he learned of Anuna’s work from the medical staff.
Handed her Taiwanese identification card by Chiayi County Magistrate Chang Hwa-kuan, Anuna said she was touched by the tremendous love and support from the people of Chiayi and Taiwan, China Daily News reported.
She added that though the job could be challenging, she enjoyed taking care of each one of her charges and felt very thankful whenever their health was stabilized.