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Sisters in Zambia Waiting for Justice After Nun Succumbs to Injuries from August Attack

Late Sr. Matilda Mulengachonzi who died October 25 at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, Zambia.

Sisters of the Little Servants of Mary Immaculate (LSMI) in Zambia are still waiting for answers from authorities concerning the August attack that left two members of their Religious Order seriously injured.

Last week, after spending over two months in hospital in critical condition, one of the two nuns, Sr. Matilda Mulengachonzi, reportedly succumbed to the injuries she sustained from the attack.

Making reference to investigations into the August 24 attack, LSMI Provincial Superior in Zambia, Sr. Sylvia Kagulura said that the Congregation was yet to receive any official communications from authorities.

“Our community is still waiting for the results of the police investigation,” said Sr. Kagulura in a report shared by Agenzia Fides Tuesday, November 3.

While commemorating the loss of the nun who was laid to rest October 28 in Kasisi cemetery in Zambia’s Lusaka Archdiocese, the LSMI Provincial Superior termed the attack that took place at St. Barbara Parish of Monze Diocese as “cruel and violent” and entrusted Sister Matilda's soul to divine mercy.

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“We pray that the Good Lord may consider her 41 years of religious life and her selfless services as a teacher and treasurer of the Chalice program,” Sr. Kagulura said.

Sister Matilda, 60, died on Sunday, October 25 while undergoing treatment at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka where she, alongside Sr. Okafor Assumpta had been transferred from a District hospital.

Sr. Matilda is said to have sustained deep cuts in her forehead and head and therefore remained hospitalized in the intensive care unit until her death. Sr. Assumpta, on the other hand, was treated and discharged from the hospital after a short time.

The two were, on the evening of August 24, injured when an armed bandit entered St. Barbara Parish, Kataba Township in Itezhi-tezhi District of Monze Diocese. The criminal is said to have taken Sr. Assumpta, 49, and Sister Matilda by surprise.

“Sister Matilda suffered deep cuts on her forehead and head, with a serious eye injury, while Sister Assumpta suffered a deep cut on her head after the criminal hit them with an iron bar. The two victims had surprised the burglar when he tried to break into the monastery,” a police spokeswoman reportedly said.

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In his homily at the burial of Sr. Matilda, Archbishop Alick Banda of Lusaka Archdiocese recounted that the late nun was attacked on her way to prayers.

“Since then, Sr. Matilda lay unconscious in hospital but with her praying heart, placing her life in God’s hands as she travelled her final steps along the road of our earthly life,” Archbishop Banda said in his homily.

He Zambian Archbishop added, “We all prayed with her and for her with the straw of hope that she might be well again but it was not meant to be. The Lord in his mercy has chosen the best option for her, that of eternal rest from pain… eternal rest away from barbaric acts of violence against women.”

Archbishop Banda further said that in Sr. Matilda’s death, Christians are reminded of the importance of spending their talents, time and treasures responsibly and profitably.

“Sr. Matilda did her part. She spent herself in the pastoral ministry and especially in education so that the world might come to believe in the loving, caring, healing, educating and welcoming God,” Archbishop Banda said.

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He added in reference to the late Sr. Matilda, “In her pastoral work, she brought God closer to the people and people closer to God.”

“We can now be sure that Sr. Matilda has already had the commendation, well done my faithful servant, enter into my joy forever. May she rest in that eternal peace that she prayed for,” Archbishop Banda said.