Vatican City (AsiaNews) – May the blood of Sister Leonella, the missionary killed in Mogadishu, “become the seed of hope for building authentic brotherhood among people in the reciprocal respect for the religious convictions of all.” This is the hope expressed by Benedict XVI in a telegram of condolences, for the death of Sr Leonella Sgorbati, sent by the Pope to the superior general of the Consolata Missionary Sisters, through Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
“Having learned of the tragic death of Sr Leonella Sgorbati,” the message reads, “who was savagely killed in Mogadishu, the Supreme Pontiff wishes to express his closeness to Consolata Missionary congregation, as well as to the relatives of the lamented nun who joyfully worked at the service of the Somali population especially in favour of new life and in the area of health training. In reaffirming steadfast disapproval of all forms of violence,” the telegram goes to say, “His Holiness hopes that the blood spilt by such a faithful disciple of the Gospel becomes the seed of hope for building authentic brotherhood among peoples in reciprocal respect for the religious convictions of all and, in raising fervent prayers of suffrage for this meritorious missionary, imparts his apostolic blessing to her religious sisters and to all those who are mourning her violent death.”
Sr Leonella, born 65 years ago in Piacenza, Italy, and who spent the last 16 years working in Africa, was killed Sunday in Mogadishu by, reports say, two armed men in a paediatric hospital run by Austrian NGO “S.O.S.”. According to her sister nuns, her last words were “I forgive”, which she repeated 3 times. Sr Leonella’s work had been to train nurses for the “S.O.S.” paediatric hospital.