Murdered Slovak nun to be buried in South Sudan

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Holy Spirit Missionary Sr Veronika Terezia Rackova, director of St Bakhita Medical Centre in Yei, South Sudan, died on 20 May at a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. The Holy Spirit Missionary Sister, who was shot in the stomach in Yei, is pictured in an undated photo. Photo: CNS/courtesy Fr Liam Dunne
Holy Spirit Missionary Sr Veronika Terezia Rackova, director of St Bakhita Medical Centre in Yei, South Sudan, died on 20 May at a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. The Holy Spirit Missionary Sister, who was shot in the stomach in Yei, is pictured in an undated photo. Photo: CNS/courtesy Fr Liam Dunne

The body of Holy Spirit Missionary Sr Veronika Theresia Rackova, 58, director of St Bakhita Medical Center in Yei, South Sudan, will be interred in Yei, not in Kenya as earlier planned.

Consolata Fr Nicholas Makau, a Kenyan priest who has been actively involved in the burial plans for the nun, confirmed the information for Catholic News Service on 24 May.

Sr Rackova was shot in Yei the night of 16 May while driving an ambulance after taking an expectant mother to the hospital. She died in Nairobi on 20 May.

Fr Makau said a 25 May memorial Mass in Nairobi would be celebrate by U.S. Archbishop Charles Balvo, apostolic nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan.

Religious stand near the casket of Holy Spirit Missionary Sr Veronika Theresia Rackova during her 25 May memorial Mass in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: CNS/Francis Njuguna
Religious stand near the casket of Holy Spirit Missionary Sr Veronika Theresia Rackova during her 25 May memorial Mass in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: CNS/Francis Njuguna

Fr Zacharia Angotowa Sebit, vicar general of the Yei diocese, told CNS earlier that Catholics from his diocese asked that Sr Rackova be interred in South Sudan.

“I have partly come to bring this case to the attention of those planning for the burial. Hopefully I will manage to convince those centrally involved on the matter,” including at least two religious orders and the Slovakian Embassy.

“She died … serving the needy of South Sudan,” he said.

He said Catholics in South Sudan had forgiven the three soldiers charged in her murder.

“It was now up to the government to play its rightful part by ensuring that those soldiers are rightly punished” for her death, Fr Sebit said.