BIRMINGHAM-born 'nun on the run' sister Ruth is travelling the world with a three-foot tall statue of the Virgin Mary, spreading the word of god.
Shahid Naqvi caught up with her on a timely-Christmas visit to her home city.
She's been locked in a room by a randy Italian, mixed with prostitutes in Amsterdam and witnessed babies dying of Aids in Africa.
Sister Ruth Augustus, self-styled 'nun on the run', is on a one-woman mission to visit every country in the world to spread the word of God.
For almost a quarter of a century she's been travelling the globe, targeting some of the poorest areas, trying to give comfort and hope to those most in need.
"If I didn't have my faith I would have probably had a nervous breakdown after all the things I have seen in the world," said the 66-year-old.
"The world is far sadder than I thought. My faith gives me great joy and peace but when I see how depressed people are in Europe that gives me a heart attack to be honest."
Despite having been to well over 200 countries, including some of the most poverty stricken places on Earth, it's in the relatively wealthy West that Sister Ruth sees most despair.
"Mother Teresa said in Calcutta they were starving to death, but in Britain people are poorer because they are lonely.
"They don't have extended families. They dump their old people in nursing homes and never see them again.
"The Asian and African countries are far more spiritual. They are materially poor but they are spiritually more aware."
Sister Ruth, who travels with her trademark three-foot statue of the Virgin Mary, believes the West's focus on material comfort is, ironically, resulting in poor health.
"In America they are all seeing psychiatrists. In England an awful lot of women are on anti-depressants. So many women come to me in the supermarkets and say they are on valium and their husband is having an affair.
"I think that is because they have lost their Christian faith."
Born in Birmingham, Sister Ruth has been touring Britain for the last two years, visiting almost every significant city or town in England, Scotland and Wales, talking to people in supermarkets, pubs and on the street.
During the last 25 years she's visited enough places on Earth to ensure the book she eventually intends to write - which she plans to call Nun on the Run - will be a fascinating read. If anything, her experiences have served to strengthen her faith.
"It has taught me that people need to have a strong spiritual belief in God. If they don't, their lives are a wreck. You get people taking over-doses. Young girls are vomiting every night on the streets because they are binge drinking.
"The new gods are sex and drunkenness and drugs and bad language and violence. That is what people worship now.
"If you stop believing in God, there is an emptiness that has to be filled and it is usually filled with filth."
Sister Ruth is half-Italian and was raised in Erdington by parents who did not attend church.
Her religious awakening came while at a Catholic convent school. After studying English and history at Keele University in Staffordshire, she joined the nunnery.
She worked for children's charities including the NSPCC in London until an unforgettable experience set her on her unique path in life.
"One day I was in a church in London and I heard the very clear, beautiful voice of Jesus saying 'go and spread my word around the world'.
"I didn't want to do it. I was in a job in my 40s. I had family and friends. I had to leave all that and go travelling around the world.
"It was extremely dangerous and difficult. I did it because it was God's will and I found the world is in a far greater mess than I thought it was."
Visiting Amsterdam's famous red light district was particularly depressing to her.
"They sat in windows with nothing on. When I said to them 'why have you chosen to do this job?' they said they were starving in their countries and this rich European businessman said they had a lovely job for them in a hotel. Most of them wanted to go home."
As a female travelling on her own, Sister Ruth has not been without unwanted attention from men herself.
"In Italy they just jump on you. I had the most awful experiences. Once I was walking along and a man said 'come into my house and read me the Bible'. I went in and he locked me up all night."
Sister Ruth is in no doubt that we are living in a period in which people need spiritual guidance more than ever.
She points to war, violence, the plague of Aids, pornography and the spiritual decline of the West to support her belief.
She even believes the recent tornado in London was an 'act of God' and blames the Devil for natural disasters.
"All the major religions believe that we are living in the end times," she said.
"The Muslims see in the Quran all the signs are there. The Hindus believe the same thing. The Christians say so. I thought the time is short and urgent and I would spread the love of Jesus in the short time left."
Passing through her home city, Sister Ruth is amazed by the changes to Birmingham. She funds her travels through family money and stays at convents along the way or with people who offer her a room.
Within the next couple of years, she hopes to have visited the last remaining countries in the world she has not been to, including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Congo.
The statue she has been carrying with her for the last seven years is currently being repaired after she accidentally knocked it while talking to someone in a supermarket.
"I do get lonely," she admitted. "When I go to a new city I don't know anyone.
"I meet a lot of strangers day and night and I hear the most depressing stories, but it is worth it if I can give hope and comfort to people."
Sister Ruth added: "I didn't chose to do this, but nothing would stop me now."