Wednesday, March 15, 2017

PHILIPPINES / IRL : Brutal attack will not stop missionary nun

An Irish Columban sister who was violently attacked by a masked assailant in the Philippines, will not let her “terrible ordeal” affect her work, according to her congregational leader.

Sr Kathleen Melia (70), who is originally from Co. Leitrim, has worked as a missionary in the Philippines for over 30 years, in particular campaigning for the rights of the Subaanen people.

According to local reports Sr Kathleen was serving at the San Jose Parish Church in Midsalip town in the Zamboanga region when a masked man tried to cover her mouth and punched her in the face and chest. 

She sustained multiple injuries and fell to the ground unconscious.

Sr Ann Gray, congregational leader of the Columban Sisters in Ireland, said Sr Kathleen is still awaiting surgery, as she needs a transfer to Manila, “but is being well looked after in the hospital in Ozamiz” and is expected to make a full recovery.


“It was a terrible ordeal, and she will take some time to recover from the shock, but missionaries are strong,” Sr Ann told The Irish Catholic.

“No doubt this will not affect her long-term mission – she’s been there so long and knows the people so well. She loves the people there.”

Sr Ann said she believed the attack was an “isolated incident”. 

“It is the first time anything like this has happened. We don’t know the reason for it,” she said.

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