Advertisement

“We continue to pray for justice”: Nun in South Sudan at Anniversary of Slain Missionary

Late Sr. Veronica Rackova. Credit: Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS).

A Catholic Nun in South Sudan has urged authorities in South Sudan to work toward delivering justice for Sr. Veronica Rackova, six years after the missionary Nun, a medical doctor who was serving in South Sudan’s Yei Diocese, was murdered.

Speaking at the anniversary event of the native of Slovakia earlier this week, Sr. Beni Gilda, a member of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) serving in the South Sudanese, said that colleagues, family, friends, and those who had interacted with Sr. Veronica are praying and waiting for justice for her.

“Today is the anniversary of the shooting of Sister Veronica, a doctor at St. Bakhita health center here in Yei. We continue to pray for justice for Sister Veronica,” Sr. Gilda said during the Monday, May 16 event.

“We are still waiting for whatever decision the government will take on the murder of the Sister,” the Slovakia-born SSpS member further said about her slain colleague and compatriot, and added, “I ask all of us here in Yei to be courageous despite the situation.” 

Sr. Veronica who had pioneered the SSpS mission in Yei Diocese since 2010 died at Kenya’s Nairobi Hospital on 20 May 2016 after she was attacked and shot several times by a group of soldiers.

Advertisement

She reportedly succumbed to gunshot wounds on her hip and abdomen that she suffered when the St. Bakhita Health Center Ambulance she was driving came under attack from armed soldiers.

The medical doctor with a specialization in tropical diseases was returning to the convent after having taken a patient to Harvest Hospital in Yei when the 15 May 2016 midnight attack happened.

After undergoing two surgeries at the Hospital for Women and Children in Yei, the missionary Sister who was 58 at the time was airlifted to Nairobi the following day for specialized treatment.

Three suspected Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Soldiers were reportedly arrested in connection with the attack on Sr. Veronica.

The first court hearing for late Sr. Veronika started on January 10 at South Sudan’s High Court in Juba, presided over by Judge Sumeiya Salah.

More in Africa

For the second court hearing, a January 26 CRN report indicated that “the mobility to bring the alleged perpetrators from Yei was not done on time, which made it unsuccessful for the suspects to appear before the court.”

During the May 16 anniversary in Yei, Sr. Gilda said, “We continue to pray that this particular event of the shooting will help us to be courageous enough to pray for the situation.”

“We missionary sisters have entrusted everything to the Lord,” she said, and continued, “Our mission here in Yei is to serve our brothers and sisters who are here in Yei and Bidi Bidi the refugee camp in Uganda.”

The SSpS member added, “God bless us all and let us continue to celebrate the life and the glory of God.”

Last year, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Sr. Veronica’s death, the Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe  underscored the need for justice for the Catholic missionary Nun.

Advertisement

“We are happy with lawyers who are trying their best (in) our civil court here in Yei to see where the witnesses may be and those others who might have pointed the gun at Sister, to the point of even killing her,” Bishop Lodu Tombe was quoted as saying 20 May 2021.

Bishop Lodu Tombe who, earlier this year, retired from the pastoral care of Yei Diocese added, “We cannot allow injustice to continue to destroy the world and so the case of Sister Veronica which is ongoing, is going too long but legal procedures are like that and we are to follow it until we get justice before the court.”

“We have forgiven those who have killed the Sister but at the same time we are pursuing justice; forgiveness with justice go together; you forgive but you demand justice,” the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop further said last year.