Slovak nun, shot in South Sudan, dies in Nairobi hospital

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Father Liam Dunne

By Francis Njuguna

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — A Slovak
nun shot and wounded in Yei, South Sudan, died May 20 at a hospital in Nairobi.

Holy Spirit Missionary Sister
Veronika Terezia Rackova, director of St. Bakhita Medical Center in Yei, was evacuated to Nairobi May 17, shortly after the nighttime shooting.
She had been in a coma before her death.

Outside the intensive care unit
at the hospital, Sister Maria Jerly, regional superior for the Holy
Spirit Missionary Sisters, told Catholic News Service that Sister Rackova was
shot as people marked John Garang Day. She said Sister Rackova was driving an
ambulance after taking an expectant mother to the hospital when the vehicle was
shot by soldiers patrolling the area. Sister Rackova was shot in the stomach,
Sister Jerly said.

She added that a motive for the
shooting was not known.

Three soldiers were arrested in
connection with the incident, and Sister Jerly added, “One of them is said
to have admitted having shot at Sister Rackova.”

Six of the order’s nuns are
serving in South Sudan, mainly in the Yei Diocese. Sister Jerly told CNS the
congregation did not plan to leave the area.

“On the contrary, we would
like to continue giving services to the needy people of this great country of
South Sudan,” she said, adding, “Some of our sisters are right now
tormented over the incident, but we plan to continue to carry our badly needed
services by the needy people of this country.”

Sister Jerly said Sister Rackova
would be buried in Kenya, and that the Divine Word Fathers, the sisters’ male
counterparts in Kenya, would handle the arrangements.

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