Sister Mary Paul Watts (Photo courtesy of St. Martin De Porres Hospital)
Taiwanese authorities have granted citizenship to two U.S. Catholic missionaries, Father Alan Doyle and Sister Mary Paul Watts, to honor their contribution to Taiwan.
"I am a genuine Taiwanese," the 80-year-old Father Doyle said on July 9 as he received his identity card.
Father Doyle, who has lived in Taiwan for 53 years, has worked to preserve and develop the Hoklo, or Taiwanese, language for more than half a century.
He also serves as the Taipei branch director of the Maryknoll Language Service Center.
Father Doyle has edited many textbooks and dictionaries to teach Hoklo to speakers of Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish and French.
The priest also set up a savings society to help farmers apply for low-interest loans and has helped young farmers seek jobs.
Doyle's citizenship comes following an amendment to the law allowing foreigners who have made special contributions to Taiwan to apply for citizenship without having to give up their original nationality.
Meanwhile, Sister Watts, 85, also known as Sister Hua Shu-fang, is the founder and chairwoman of the St. Martin De Porres Hospital in Chiayi.
The nun received her citizenship on July 10 for her work helping disadvantaged patients in remote areas.
She also founded two other medical facilities: the Hai-hsing Clinic in Chiayi County's Meishan Township and the Chi-ming Clinic in Chiayi City.
Sister Hua Shu-fang has devoted much of her life to patients in Chiayi, and still works to raise funds for the hospital's branch in Alishan and the Chung-Jen Junior College of Nursing, Health Sciences and Management.