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Witness to the End

Three elderly Italian sisters were murdered over the weekend in their convent in Burundi.  The murders appeared to be the tragic outcome of an armed robbery or a vendetta.

The murdered sisters were members of the  Xaverian Missionaries of Mary, 75 year old Lucia Pulici, 82 year old Olga Raschietti, and 79 year old Sister Bernardetta Boggian  who had been working among the sick and poor in Burundi for the last seven years.  Prior to that, they had been missionaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR). They worked in obstretics, nursing and pastoral ministry. The sisters asked to go back to Burundi to be a presence among the people. Burundi is about one third the size of Ireland and is bordered by Tanzania, Rwanda and the DCR.

‘ In this time of profound suffering for the Order we  give thanks to Lucia, Olga and Bernadetta, who despite delicate health decided  to return to the mission and gave their lives to the end’ said a statement from the Xaverian sisters, ‘ gratitude too to the local people and all for their solidarity’.

Before departing Italy in late 2013. Bernadetta said, ‘Despite the complex and conflictual situation in the Great Lakes region ( of Africa) I perceive the presence of a Kingdom of Love that is developing .. at this point in my life, I continue my service to the African brothers and sisters, trying to live in love, simplicity and joy.

Our deep condolences to the families of the sisters and the Xaverian Missionary Sisters and let us continue to pray for all who are suffering because of their religious beliefs.

Sources: Vatican Radio and