KENYA: Consolata Missionaries hold Thanksgiving Mass for Sr Leonella’s Beatification

NAIROBI, MAY 19, 2018 (CISA)-Hundreds of Christians gathered at the Consolata Shrine, Westlands on June 16 for the thanksgiving Mass of the beatification of Sr Leonella Sgorbatti.

“Twelve years ago this same shrine opened its doors to receive hundreds of people from all walks of life who had come to pay their last respect to Sr Leonella. Today, we are back here with our hearts full of joy and gratitude to celebrate this woman of God who stopped at nothing to make the love of Christ the true consolation known,” said Sr Joan Agnes Matimu, the Regional Superior of the Consolata Missionary Sisters in Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Liberia.

Fr Giovanni Tortalla, the postulator for the cause of her beatification in his homily described Sr Leonella an authentic Christian, a woman of prayer who was fully dedicated to God and her work.

“To all of us, Blessed Leonella gives a clear message of an authentic Christian discipleship built on the rock of prayer and of humble surrender to the heavenly Father’s will lived in joy, in generous humble service, in patience, in dialogue and in forgiveness,” he remarked.

Fr Tortalla noted that for Blessed Leonella, the love of the neighbour was the extension of the love for God. Quoting Pope Francis, in his recent apostolic exhortation, Gaudate et Exultate he said, “Holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full. Throughout the history of the Church it has always been clear that a person’s perfection is measured by the depth of his or her charity.”

“If I am asked to describe Sr Leonella with one word, I would say, commitment; she was totally dedicated and committed to her work. Her determination paid her way.  To be proclaimed a martyr by the Church is a reconfirmation of what she already was in life,” remarked Mr Claudio Croce, the regional representative of SOS Children’s International where Sr Leonella served in her last years

“Our gratitude goes to the Almighty God who called Sr Leonella to become a Consolata sister and to serve Him among the sick and the poor here in Africa,” said Sr Joan in her concluding remarks.

Present at the celebration were the Italian Ambassador to Kenya His Excellency Mauro Massoni, a representative from the Somali Embassy, Bishops Virgilo Pante of Maralal, Peter Kihara of Marsabit and David Kamau, the Auxiliary Bishop of Nairobi.

Sr Leonella was beatified in her home diocese of Piacenza, Italy on May 26.  She becomes the second Consolata sister to be beatified after Sr Irene Stefani who was beatified in May 2015 in Nyeri, Kenya.