Sydney archbishop back home after paralysis

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney has returned to his residence following months in hospitals because he had been stricken with a rare syndrome.

Just before Christmas, Archbishop Fisher was diagnosed with Guillan- Barré Syndrome which affects the immune system, resulting in paralysis.

From intensive care at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, he went to Mt Wilga Hospital where, for the past three months, he has been receiving intensive physiotherapy.

The rehab program has helped him regain use of his legs, although his hands are recovering a little more slowly.

Now back in his own residence, the archbishop is planning on working in the mornings and continuing with his rehabilitation program in the afternoons.

On leaving Mt Wilga, the archbishop thanked all the doctors, physios, occupational therapists and the staff for their professionalism and personal care.

During his time in hospital the archbishop has been inundated with prayers, cards and social media messages.

He believes the many prayers have helped him recover a lot quicker than the doctors expected.

It is not unusual for people with Guillain-Barré Syndrome to take two years to recover.

But the archbishop’s progress has been steady and encouraging and despite the syndrome rendering him initially paralysed and then muscle weak, his spirits have remained high.

He said his experience has given him a deeper insight into suffering, and when he preaches on the subject from now on, it will be more personal.

“I think I have learnt some new things about suffering and its place in the spiritual life and in recovery.”

Last week, Archbishop Fisher participated in the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference plenary.

He also hopes to celebrate Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi on 29 May at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, when he wants to personally thank parishioners and friends for their prayers and support.


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