Sister Maria Donelia Hidalgo Morales, a Colombian missionary, was assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Madrid so that she was able to arrive in the Philippines on 3 November 2020, on the same day as her visa expired.
Sister Maria Donelia is the managing director of Pequena Casa de Nazareth Inc. (Little Home of Nazareth), a foundation based in Las Pinas City that is committed to providing social services, home-life service, education, skills-development and counselling for young orphaned girls. The foundation is presently looking after the welfare of sixteen wards with ages from three to eighteen years of age.
The Philippine Embassy in Spain was assisted by the DFA- Office of American Affairs and various offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration.
Sister Maria Donelia tried to travel in early October to the Philippines but at the time of boarding she was not allowed to travel because of entry restrictions in Manila.
Accompanied by Sister Gloria Lucy Alvarez, Provincial Superior of the Congregation Hermanitas de la Anunciacion H.A. in Spain, Sister Maria Donelia proceeded to the Philippine Embassy in Madrid for assistance.
“We simply followed the standing instructions of H.E. Ambassador Philippe Lhuillier to extend all possible assistance to those who rightfully need to travel to the Philippines,” Consul General Adrian Cruz remarked. “Super typhoon Goni (known in the Philippines as Typhoon Rolly) was our main concern, but it veered South and spared the nation’s capital.”
“I was so happy to finally arrive in Manila, as I sorely miss the children that we take care of at Pequena Casa de Nazareth Inc.,” remarked Sister Maria Donelia, who was in touch with Consul General Cruz by WhatsApp. She sent a photo of her reunion with her wards at the orphanage to the Philippine Consul General.
“At this time of the COVID Pandemic, we are happy that Sister Maria Donelia can continue her humanitarian work in the Philippines and I am very appreciative that so many people extended a helping hand to see that she arrives safely in Manila,” said Sister Gloria Lucy Alvarez.