Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Elderly Nun Forgave Killers Before Dying

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 Associated Press

Nairobi - An elderly nun shot four times at the Somali hospital where she worked forgave her killers as she lay dying, her colleagues have revealed. Sister Leonella, 65, muttered the words "I forgive, I forgive" in Italian after being targeted by gunmen in an apparent execution-style killing, Father Maloba Wesonga said at the nun's memorial mass in Nairobi on Monday.

Her murder could have been sparked by remarks by Pope Benedict XVI about Muslims, which have sparked angry reaction from Muslims around the world, according to Willy Huber, regional head of the Austrian-funded hospital where Sister Leonella worked. Sister Leonella, whose birth name was Rosa Sgorbati, had lived and worked in Kenya and Somalia for 38 years, her family said.

No one had claimed responsibility for her killing.She was shot as she left the Austrian-run SOS hospital on Sunday. Her bodyguard was also slain.The two had been walking the short distance from the Mogadishu hospital to the sisters' home, where three other nuns were waiting to have lunch with her."She had no chance," Huber added. "It was like an execution."

Sister Leonella was aware of the dangers in Somalia and used to joke that there was a bullet with her name engraved on it. "But this never deterred her or discouraged her," Wesonga said at the memorial service.

Source: AP, Sept 19, 2006

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