S. SUDAN: Yei Diocese Mourns Slain Nun

JUBA MAY 24, 2016(CISA)-The Catholic Diocese of Yei is in mourning following the death of Sr. Veronika, Theresia Racková a Slovakian missionary of the Mission Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS).

According to a statement from the SSpS Communication Office, signed by Sr. Mary John SSpS – Assistant General, Sr Veronika was on May 15 shot at and gravely wounded on the hip and in the abdomen.

She was returning home on the night of May 15 2016, after taking a patient on an emergency call to Harvest Hospital, Yei, when she was attacked by suspected soldiers and the St. Bakhita Health Center Ambulance that she was driving, was shot several times.

“After two surgeries in the Hospital for Women and Children in Yei, she was airlifted to Nairobi Hospital in Kenya on Monday, May 16 for further treatment and surgeries. Despite the best efforts of the doctors, she passed away on Friday, May 20.

Her death is an irreparable loss for us, for her family and for the people she served especially in Yei, the statement said.” At the time of her death she was a medical doctor and the director of Bhakita Medical Center in Yei River State in South Sudan.

A requiem Mass was celebrated on Monday, 23 May, 2 pm in Nairobi at the Flora Hostel chapel while Holy Mass in memory of Sr. Veronika Rackova was held over the weekend at Yei’s Christ the King Cathedral in South Sudan.

The Bishop of Yei, Erkolano Lodu Tombe, who celebrated Sr. Veronika’s Mass spoke of his profound sadness at the death of Sr. Veronika when the country had just begun to take steps towards peace.

Yei River State Information Minister, Stephen Lodu Onesimo, described the killing of Sr. Veronika as an “undisciplined and barbaric act.”

He said the culprits “must be brought to justice.” Another Mass will be held on Wednesday May 25 at 10AM at Kayole parish in Nairobi. Provincial Regional Superior of the SSpS sisters, Sister Maria Jerly reiterated that sisters would continue working in South Sudan despite the tragic death.

In an interview with CISA Fr Zachariah Angutuwa Sebit, the Vicar General of the catholic diocese of Yei said they were hopeful that Sr Veronika would not be in vain noting that in the history of the liberation of South Sudan, Yei has been peaceful and that the people are friendly.

“As a church we have lost sister she died on service taking a mother to deliver where there were better facilities. The Christians are sad and sorry but death is not the end of life, we say it’s the new beginning of a new life for sister. We will miss her we encourage Christians and other missionaries congregation to continue the missionary service to the people.  Though she was shot we continue to advocate that her blood will bring peace and reconciliation among the people.”

The initial plan was to have Sr Veronika buried in Kenya but there are hopes that her body will be taken back to South Sudan where she worked.

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