At Anniversary, South Sudanese Bishop Urges Justice for Murdered Missionary Nun

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

On the fifth anniversary since the death of a missionary Sister who was serving in South Sudan’s Yei Diocese, the Local Ordinary of the South Sudanese Diocese has emphasized the need for justice for the Catholic Nun.

Sr. Veronica Rackova, a member of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) from Slovakia who had pioneered the SSpS mission 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.

Sr. Veronica 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 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


“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 Erkolano Lodu Tombe said Thursday, May 20 during the fifth anniversary of Sr. Veronica’s death.

Bishop Tombe added, “We are in touch with the lawyers who are following the case. It will take long as you know legal issues take many years, but we hope it will not be so long unless it is politicized.”

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

Speaking during the May 20 memorial, Bishop Tombe said that the Church “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.”

The Local Ordinary of Yei Diocese further advocated for justice saying, “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.”

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Making reference to the gunmen who attacked the ambulance the late Nun was driving, the Bishop said, “Let them (shooters) come to testify and give us the truth as to why they murdered the Sister, so justice goes together with forgiveness and mercy.”

“We have hearts of forgiveness and I’m still calling every one of us who is aggrieved, who feels injustice has been done to us as a people, as a church, to have that spirit of forgiveness to those who have killed the Sister,” the South Sudanese Bishop continued.

“It is not easy to forgive but it is necessary,” the 78-year-old Bishop emphasized, and explained, “The spirit of revenge is un-Christian; we have to look at Jesus on the Cross as he was dying with the hands extended.”

With his extended hands, Bishop Tombe said, Jesus “was praying to God the father to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing.”

Before pioneering the Yei mission in 2010, Sr. Veronica had served as the Provincial Leader of the SSpS Province of Slovakia for six-years mandate. She had also served in Ghana.


In South Sudan, she had “served in various capacities as SSpS community leader, medical doctor and Director of St Bakhita Health Center, Yei,” the 25 May 2016 report by the SSpS Communication Office indicates.

“Sr. Veronika was a committed, generous and joyful missionary,” the Communication team of SSpS leadership reported, adding, “Her death is an irreparable loss for us, for her family and for the people she served especially in Yei.”

“It is our hope and prayer that the self-giving of Sr. Veronika will herald a new beginning for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan,” SSpS leadership implored.

Her remains were flown from Nairobi to South Sudan’s Yei Diocese on 27 May 2016 where she was laid to rest.