Priest declares Alvarez homecoming a 'miracle'
Fr Michael Duffin yesterday declared his Sydney meeting with wrongly deported Australian Vivian Alvarez a miracle, after first encountering her in 2001 in a Philippines hospice for the destitute and dying, where she was left to waste away.
The Advertiser reports that the pair wandered the grounds of the Domain gardens, with Fr Duffin pushing her in a wheelchair as Sydneysiders congratulated her on her belated return to Australia last Friday.
Ms Alvarez was deported to the Philippines after an Immigration Department bungle. Fr Duffin cared for her spiritual wellbeing at a hospice north of the capital, Manila, after she lost her dignity, hope, identity and health.
The 44-year-old returned to home soil after her legal team and the Federal Government, who have been at war since she was discovered in May, agreed to let retired High Court judge Anthony Mason decide if the multimillion-dollar payout her lawyers are demanding should go ahead.
"She had no ego and was very shy and was just living as a non-entity, but to see her now, even though there is a long trail ahead, there is a light at the end of the tunnel," Fr Duffin said.
"She is happier and in better spirits than I can ever remember and has a real sparkle in her eyes. After all that she has been through, I am very impressed."
Fr Duffin reported Ms Alvarez's existence to authorities after seeing an appeal for her on television.
"She said that she had no regrets and that her time in the Philippines was just part of life, but it is a miracle she was found and another that we met today in Sydney," he said.
Since her return, Ms Alvarez has rested, taken a shopping excursion and visited Bondi. She is waiting to be reunited with her two Brisbane-based sons, aged 17 and 9.
A proud Fr Duffin declared Ms Alvarez's determination to tackle her medical rehabilitation after she made two steps from her wheelchair to a waiting taxi. She will remain in Sydney in the short-term, but is expected to be reunited with her sons within a fortnight and will eventually move to Brisbane.
Priest declares Alvarez's return home a 'miracle' (The Advertiser 21/11/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Vivian Solon (Wikipedia)
Commission says Vivian Alvarez-Solon needs support (CathNews 29/6/05)
Report prompts calls for easing tensions with Islam, easing asylum (Catholic News Service 18/11/05)
21 Nov 2005