THERE are few countries well-travelled nun Sister Mary Augustus has never visited.

But she has described St Winifred’s Well as one of the holiest places she has been.

The 70-year-old, who has been on a 35-year mission to help disadvantaged children, is backing Holywell as one of the most holy sites in the world.

On her first visit to Wales, she said: “This is a very holy place. I have been all over the world and I have just found it.”

Originally from Birmingham, Sister Mary has spent 50 years as a nun and said she wants to bring thousands of pilgrims back to the site next year.

She only returned to the UK to follow the Pope on his recent visit to the country. She said: “I have been all over England and Scotland when I followed the Pope so I thought I’d come to Wales.

“Holywell is one of the most holy places I have been to in my life. I have been extremely impressed with the well. I can feel the holiness of it.

“I love it here. People in the area should be very proud.”

She added: “I have been learning about St David and St Non, his mother.

“On television I saw the Pope bless thousands of pilgrims from Wales who took the image of St David.

“Welsh people are very warm and friendly. I love the Celtic spirituality.”

Sister Mary, who is now based at St Mary’s Church, Chelsea, will continue her pilgrimage around Wales with a visit to St Beuno’s College in Tremeirchion.

She said: “I was upset about some of the comments made about the Pope before his visit – they were appalling.

“But when he came and people saw hundreds and thousands of people come to see him, they were forced to change their view.”

During her travels, Sister Mary said she had encountered scenes of suffering in many countries, especially in Africa.

She said: “Some of the things I have seen are heart-breaking.

“I work with the Red Cross. I have worked in slums mainly with children.

“We look after orphans and babies dying of AIDS. It makes you cry.”