#TheseSistersHaveNames #InternationalWomensDay #NationalSistersWeek #IWD2016
These Sisters Have Names
Anselm, Reginette, Judith and Marguerite.
These are the names of the four women religious slain in Yemen last Friday March 4.
The lives of these four Missionaries of Charity came to a sudden end while they were preparing breakfast. Four gunmen stormed the nursing home where they worked and killed 14 in total, according to church officials.
Would you join us in sharing the four names of these ‘martyrs of charity’? We pray for them and all the other countless women religious in the Church’s history who are martyrs for their faith.
In St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis prayed that Blessed Mother Teresa “accompany to paradise these daughters of hers, martyrs of charity, and that she would intercede for peace and a sacred respect for human life.”
Sister Anselm, 57, was the youngest of seven siblings in an Indian family of farmers. Fellow missionaries said she lived and died for the people. While not much is known about the three other sisters, including 44-year-old Sister Margherite and 32-year-old Sister Reginette, both of Rwanda, and 41-year-old Kenyan Sister Judith, they are not forgotten. They were daughters, sisters and spiritual mothers to many. Bishop Paul Hinder, the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, which includes Yemen, said they “sacrificed their lives by following their own charism.”
Churches and communities across the world have rallied to support these four martyrs across the world. Photos show Yemenis gathering the next day to protest the attack. In Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, will celebrate the Holy Eucharist March 11 with other clergy, religious and lay faithful. In Rwanda, a requiem Mass honors the mission accomplished by the sisters, leting other Christians know of their sacrifice, Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege of the Diocese of Kabgayi told Rwanda’s The New Times.
Telesphore Cardinal Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India, said “this is an act of wanton killing; a pointless murder of nuns who had opted to lead a life of celibacy; to be of service to God, the poor and the needy. The dedicated sisters were brave women who had chosen to ignore the ongoing turmoil and violence in Yemen to be by the side of the elderly and the needy” to The Telegraph.
Sister Sally, the mother superior of the Yemeni community, survived the attack and safely escaped. Father Tom Uzhunnali, an Indian Salesian priest who was in the chapel at the time of the attack, remains missing, ANI reports.
The names of these four Missionaries of Charity were released on March 8, which is recognized as International Women’s Day as well as the first day of National Catholic Sisters Week, which runs through March 14.
“The dignity of women is their strength and faith in the God who created them,” Father Leo Patalinghug, a well-known priest and host of Grace Before Meals, said in a Facebook post. “If we want to know the power of women, look no further to the one who gave birth to us. And in a special way, look to these women – Missionaries of Charity – martyred in Yemen by terrorists. They stood strong to care for the poorest and weakest. They gave the ultimate sacrifice. Why do news outlets avoid talking about these wonderful and powerful women? May these Holy Women of God pray for us.”
Since January 2015, Yemen remains battered in an ongoing civil war. According to the United Nations, more than 2,400 have died in the conflict, including many children and civilians, both Muslim and Christian.
Sisters Anselm, Reginette, Judith and Marguerite, pray for us.
James Ramos is a storyteller and designer with the Texas Catholic Herald in Houston. Follow him on Twitter (www.twitter.com/plusjames) and Instagram (instagram.com/plusjames). He’s also great at high fives and group selfies.