Sister Maria Mutata Piergianni, a 74-year-old Italy-born nun, was issued her Republic of China (Taiwan) citizenship card June 19 at a ceremony in northern Taiwan's Hsinchu City in recognition of her contributions to the nation for more than half a century.
Chang Li-ke, director of the Hsinchu City Government's Department of Civil Affairs, presented Piergianni her Taiwan ID card. The nun, who for years has helped care for developmentally challenged children, expressed her happiness and said she looks forward to being able to vote in Taiwan.
Piergianni officially became an ROC citizen April 21. She is the first foreign resident of Hsinchu City to be naturalized under a Nationality Act amendment that allows conference of citizenship to those who possess special abilities or have made significant contributions to the nation.
Hsinchu City Mayor Lin Chih-chien welcomed her into the Hsinchu family and thanked the nun for her decades of work with local children. He added that he looks forward to seeing more people who have made long-term contributions to Taiwan become ROC citizens.
Piergianni traveled to Taiwan for the first time when she was 22 years old after a monthlong journey by ship. After arriving, she worked in Jianshi Township, a highland indigenous community in northern Taiwan's Hsinchu County, as well as Chiayi County and Taipei County, which became New Taipei City in 2010.
In 1992, Piergianni headed a health care team at the St. Joseph Social Welfare Foundation, and 12 years later became the provincial superior of the Sacro Costato Missionary Sisters Provincial House in Hsinchu City. In 2014, she returned to the foundation to continue her long-term work with developmentally challenged children.
On Dec. 21 last year, Articles 3, 4, 9, 11 and 19 of the Nationality Act were amended and promulgated, enabling foreigners applying for naturalization to keep their original nationality if meeting a number of conditions. These stipulations include being high-level professionals in areas such as art, culture, economics, education, sports and technology; possessing specialties that contribute to the interests of the ROC; and obtaining a recommendation from the relevant central authority.
The revisions are part of government efforts to encourage more foreign talents to live and work in Taiwan on an extended basis as well as guarantee their rights. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 12 foreigners have so far have been naturalized under the recent amendments to the Nationality Act.
Source: Taiwan Today