2016-03-08 10:24:00

Nuns who died in Yemen are martyrs says Rwandan Bishop

The nuns who were killed in an attack by gunmen in the war-torn Yemen port city of Aden last week will be remembered as martyrs, Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege has said.

16 people, including four Catholic nuns, were killed last Friday when gunmen opened fire on an old people’s home.

Two of the deceased nuns were from Rwanda. Sr. Marguerite Mukashema, was from Kivumu Parish in Kabgayi Diocese while Sr. Reginette was from Janja Parish, Ruhengeri Diocese,

The two Rwandan nuns were killed with two other nuns from India and Kenya respectively as were 12 other persons. The old people’s home is run by the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa of Kolkata.

Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege of the Diocese of Kabgayi told Rwanda’s The New Times that although the deaths of the nuns is a blow to the country and the Church, Rwanda is proud to have Rwandan nuns die as martyrs.

“We were informed of their deaths by the Apostolic Nuncio. We deeply regret their deaths but stay proud for their sacrifice that resulted in deaths. We consider them martyrs and they are,” he told The New Times of Rwanda on Monday.

Bishop Mbonyintege added that the deceased will not be brought to Rwanda but will be laid to rest in Yemen.

“Usually, when missionaries die, they are buried in countries where they have been serving. This means that they will be inhumed in Yemen. Although we are waiting for the decision of the congregation of sisters of charity to which they belonged, there is little chance of their bodies coming,” he said.

Bishop Mbonyintege said the Christian community in Rwanda will visit their families and organise a requiem Mass that will be held in Kivumu Parish, Kabgayi, on 13 March. The Bishop went on to explain that the Mass will be a time to recognise the mission accomplished by those nuns and to let other Christians know of their sacrifice.

“They have set a good example of selflessness, serving in such an unsafe country. That spirit compelled them to stay for the sake of others though they could have left,” Bishop Mbonyintege said

There are nine Rwandan religious sisters serving as Missionaries of Charity around the world, working as charity workers who care for orphans and the elderly.

 (By Steven Muvunyi, The New Times, Rwanda)


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